Brace Yourself Part II
So now you have decided that you or your child would like to undergo treatment to correct the teeth alignment. Your head must be bursting with questions so let me try to answer a few as simply as possible.
WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
The process of straightening teeth with the help of an appliance ( wires etc) is called Orthodontics.
WHO REQUIRES ORTHODONTICS?
Any child or adult with teeth that are:
4. With gaps in between
5. In the wrong bite
WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT INVOLVE?
It involves putting a wire/brackets on your teeth and regular visits ( once a month mostly) for tightening/changing the wire. Each sitting takes only 10-15 minutes.
HOW LONG WILL MY TREATMENT TAKE?
Treatment time depends on
1. Severity of Problem
2. Age of patient
3. Regularity of visits
4. Type of bone/pace of movement of teeth
5. The inclusion of chin caps/headgear or any myofunctional appliance treatment prior to braces
6. Teeth stuck deep in the jaw.
Therefore treatment time can vary between 1-3 years. On an average it takes about 16-18 MONTHS (1-1.5 years)
IS THE TREATMENT PAINFUL?
For the most part there is no pain or discomfort. However for a couple of days after the wire is tightened, you may experience mild to moderate discomfort easily borne or corrected with a mild painkiller.
WHY DO SOME PATIENTS HAVE TO EXTRACT TEETH AND SOME NOT?
Teeth removal is needed in patients where space is required to move the teeth and none is available. In certain cases this is avoided by expanding the jaws but many times this is not possible. The space created by the removal of teeth is closed during treatment by the movement of other teeth into the space. THIS IS NOT A PAINFUL PROCESS. Healing in children in particular is extremely fast compared to adults after tooth removal. Most children don't even need painkillers beyond a day or two.
IS BRACES THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR ALL CASES?
Sometimes only a single tooth may be the problem and you can choose to forgo orthodontics and consider esthetic dentistry/smile designing with ceramics ( veneers etc).Also certain jaw malformations can only be treated by surgery. However your dentist will inform you if you fall into these categories.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BRACES?
Yes. The very basic kind is metal and ceramic braces. The metal ones are the typical and most common type seen. The ceramic braces are tooth colored. Hence it is less obvious that you are undergoing treatment. Another kind is Lingual braces - The brackets are applied on the teeth from the tongue side - hence cannot be seen at all when you smile. The last kind is the one which is gaining popularity - INVISALIGN or CLEARALIGNER. Your treatment time and expenses will differ from the type of treatment you opt for.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN DURING TREATMENT
Regular and proper brushing of teeth TWICE DAILY is a MUST to avoid cavities and gum disease.
Very sticky foods like chikki/Eclairs etc are to be avoided.
Foods like corn on the cob (Bhutta), popcorn, hard nuts/fruits, paani puri, non veg on the bone etc are to be avoided.
Regular checkups and scaling if required are a must.
PATIENCE! PATIENCE! PATIENCE!
The doctor would like for your treatment to be completed as soon as possible. However there is no way to hasten treatment beyond a certain point. The entire point of the treatment is to give you your best possible smile. The whole treatment goal is to make YOU look beautiful. Have the patience to get through it.
DO NOT BEGIN TREATMENT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE TO SEE IT TO COMPLETION.