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To straighten and align teeth, dentists use braces for their patients. Braces correct several orthodontic malocclusions and prevent further issues down the line. Gentle pressure is exerted by the brackets on the teeth, which causes the teeth to shift to a more stable and accurate position. Regular visits are required so that the orthodontist monitors the torque on the teeth and adjusts accordingly.

Twelve years of age is the recommended age to intiate treatment with braces. They are more effective in children, even though many adults are getting braces to correct their bite, too.

Oral hygiene is very essential when wearing braces because food can easily get trapped between them, leading to tooth decay. Chewy and sticky foods need to be avoided, and when the braces are first fitted, it will be painful to bite till the mouth adjusts, so patients are advised to eat soft foods or finely chopped.

There are multiple different options when it comes to braces, it depends on the complexity of the case. The brackets could be conventional metal or ceramic, the brackets could also be on the facial side or lingual, which is the back side of the teeth. As well as Invisalign which are clear retainers that also cause orthodontic movements.

The usual duration for braces is between 6 to 24 months, during which the orthodontist adjusts them once every 4 or 6 weeks. Patients willing to travel for this treatment need to have a dentist at home for follow-up care.

Treatment Preparation

Recommended for

  • Crooked teeth (Malocclusions)
  • Overcrowding
  • Deep bites
  • Overbites

Before

The brackets would be bonded onto the teeth after the patient’s impressions are taken. The duration and type of treatment are then determined after treatment planning the case. Documentation through photographs and radiographs would be taken before the treatment begins and as the case continues in order to keep track of the progression of the case.

How

With traditional stainless-steel brackets, an adhesive is first placed on the teeth and the brackets are then applied to the teeth individually. A wire is then fitted through the brackets and fixed into place with elastics. Treatment varies, but for most patients, they will need to visit the orthodontist responsible for their treatment every 4 to 6 weeks to have the braces tightened and readjusted.

Treatment Details

Materials

Traditionally, braces are made from stainless steel or stainless steel with titanium, however, nowadays there is a high demand for cosmetic braces. As a result, many dentists offer “ceramic” brackets or clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign. Lingual braces are another popular choice, as efficient as the traditional braces, but they are not easy to see as they are applied to the reverse side of the tooth (the lingual side, facing the tongue).

Anesthesia

No anesthesia required.

What to expect

Post procedure care

It is important that patients follow all instructions from their orthodontist. If patients are not compliant with the elastics or retainers, there may be relapse of the teeth.

It is important to maintain excellent oral hygiene while the braces are bonded as food can easily get stuck in the braces.

Once the treatment is finished, patients will need to wear a retainer afterwards to maintain the new position of the teeth.

Braces apply a constant pressure on the teeth, therefore discomfort is expected. Discomfort is usually highest immediately after a tightening appointment but would gradually improve afterwards.

Important to Know

Potential risks

  • Root resorption and another root damage
  • Periodontitis
  • Gingivitis (Gum disease)
  • Tooth Caries (decay)
  • Gingival overgrowth

Relapse of teeth into initial position after treatment

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