What to Expect from Orthodontic Treatment
Many people are nervous about orthodontic treatment and having a strange device inserted around their teeth. It helps to know a little more about what to expect from the outset.
An orthodontist helps straighten your teeth and correct your bite. At your first visit you will usually have some records taken, which can be x-rays and photos of your face, and teeth and moulds made of your teeth so that the orthodontist can work out the right plan for you.
Treatment involves placing a device ( also called an appliance) in your mouth to move the teeth. The basic idea is to put force on your teeth in a specific and controlled way to move them very slowly into the correct position.
- Fixed braces that are bonded on the teeth being moved. These are often often metal but clear brackets may be used on the upper teeth
- Removable plates
- Invisalign aligners which are clear templates that fit over your teeth
It takes about an hour to fit fixed braces and 15 to 20 minutes to fit plates. You then see your orthodonist every one to two months for short appointments for adjustments. These appointments are needed for about two years, on average, as movement of your teeth takes time.
When your braces or plates are first fitted your teeth may feel slightly bruised – like having popcorn stuck between your teeth – and it is really important to use regular simple pain relief for the first two to three days.
You also have to spend more time cleaning your teeth and gums as it is easy to catch food and bacteria in your braces or plates. You need to allow five to 10 minutes for this morning and night, and also you will want to clean your teeth after meals to remove any food caught up in your device.
Braces and plates are specially designed and fitted to your teeth and their small parts can be damaged by eating some foods. You will need to chop apples into fine slivers to eat them and sticky foods like toffees and muesli bars and crunchy foods like ice should be avoided.
If your braces break you should call your orthodontic clinic as soon as possible. The orthodontic bracket is held on a wire so it cannot be swallowed and you can use a little wax on the appliances to keep the mouth comfortable until it can be fixed.
The bands used with fixed braces around the back teeth can come loose and again you should call your clinic if this happens. If any wires start to poke out, you should also call your clinic and arrange to have them clipped.
When your teeth are in their correct positions your orthodontist will remove the braces. You still have to be careful with your teeth afterwards, just as you would with a newly healed broken bone. You will need to wear retainers to hold the teeth in their new positions while the teeth settle. Also, your face and jaws continue to change after you’ve had braces.
In adults, the lower front teeth tend to get crooked with time and to avoid this the lower retainer – which is usually a fine wire bonded to the two lower eye teeth – is kept in place long-term. The upper retainer plate is usually worn six months, day and night, then its wear is reduced to nights only and then to less nights per week. Some people prefer to put their plate in once a week long-term just to check everything is staying in the correct position.
Your orthodontist will contiue to see you for a specified time after the braces are removed to ensure everything is staying in the correct position and the rest of your dental development (for example wisdom teeth) is occurring correctly.
Topics: Tags: aligner, aligners, bacteria, braces, brackets, crunchy foods, dental, dental development, device, front teeth