Need for Orthodontics.
If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:
Overbite, sometimes called “buck teeth” – Here the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth
Underbite – In this condition the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back like a “bulldog”
Crossbite – In such condition the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
Open bite – It is the space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together
Misplaced midline – When the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth
Spacing – It is the gap, or space, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not “fill up” the mouth properly
Crowding – In this condition, too many teeth are closely packed together for the dental ridge to accommodate
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
There are number of appliances, both fixed and removable, that are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach suits you the best .
Fixed appliances include:
Braces – It is the most common fixed appliances. Braces consist of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past. They come in bright colors for kids as well as clear styles preferred by many adults
Special fixed appliances – used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, these appliances are attached to the teeth by bands. Because they are very uncomfortable during meals, they should be used only as a last resort.
Fixed space maintainers – if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Removable appliances include:
Aligners – an alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are being used by an increasing number of orthodontists to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
Removable space maintainers – these devices serve the same function as fixed space maintainers. They’re made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw, and have plastic or wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
Jaw repositioning appliances – also called splints, these devices are worn on either the top or lower jaw, and help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Lip and cheek bumpers – these are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth, and these bumpers help relieve that pressure.
Palatal expander – a device used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Outward pressure applied to the plate by screws force the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
Removable retainers – worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position. They can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.
Headgear – with this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.
Is the treatment very painful?
The treatment is certainly not painless, but the pain is mild and lasts from 3 to 7 days after a visit to the Orthodontist. After this, there is no pain. During subsequent adjustments or wire changes, there may be mild pain.
Recent advances in Orthodontics have made treatment far more comfortable. The braces become a part of you, just like a pair of spectacles.
Can I continue to eat my favorite foods? Do I have to modify my diet?
You can continue to eat your favorite foods but they will have to be prepared specially. Your food will have to be softened, or cut into small pieces, or be well-cooked before eating. Ice creams and colas may be had as usual but corn will have to be sliced off the cob, hard fruits will need to be sliced, nuts and chikki ground and chocolate must not be eaten after refrigeration.
Foods that are best avoided are popcorn, sticky chocolates, hard nuts and fruits, hard crusts and chewing gum. These foods can break or loosen your braces making you uncomfortable and can delay treatment.
How should I clean my teeth now?
Brushing with braces on your teeth requires a little more effort than, if you didn’t have any.
- Use of a soft bristled toothbrush or an orthodontic toothbrush.
- Brush twice a day in gentle circular motions with special emphasis to dislodge food that is lodged between teeth and the braces. Use a mouthwash to rinse additionally.
- Never allow plaque or food to accumulate on the teeth and braces.
What else do I have to do during treatment?
You may have to wear small elastic bands which you change regularly. Some treatment requires a retractor or head gear, a lip bumper and other functional appliances which your orthodontist will show you how to use. Report any untoward change or damage of the braces immediately.
Does this treatment affect my performance at school/work/sports?
Not at all. You will only need to take reasonable care of your braces during contact sports like boxing, football, hockey, cricket, etc. to prevent damage to the braces and injury to the teeth and lips.