Orthodontic braces are used as corrective devices in orthodontics, a field in dentistry that’s involved in the diagnosis and treatment of dental irregularities such as a malocclusion.
Use of Orthodontic Braces
- Straightening of teeth
- Correction of irregularities in the bite such as underbite and overbite
- Closing of gap between teeth
- Improving the alignment of the teeth
How Braces Work
Braces put pressure on the teeth and pull them in the direction that will straighten them out. It might be necessary to pull out a few teeth in order to make a place in the oral cavity. A tooth can move as much as a millimeter a month. Braces can be put on a child as young as seven years, but generally children of 11 years and more are ideal candidates for braces as all the adult teeth are in place by this age.
What to Expect
There is an uncomfortable pressure when braces are put on and this hurting can last for a few days after the braces are fixed. Also, every time the orthodontist tightens the braces, they hurt for a few days. Pain killers can help with the discomfort after each sitting. In addition, the brackets in the braces can cause painful sores on the inner cheeks and lips. An application of dental wax over the brackets can help ease the soreness.
When the braces are initially put on, it can take as long as a couple of hours to get them on. The orthodontist puts a bracket on each tooth with the help of a bonding agent. An arch wire is then attached to the brackets with the help of tight rubber bands or wires. The arch wire is tightened at every sitting and this gets the teeth moving in the required direction.
Eating with braces can be quite difficult and initially a soft food diet is best. While you have braces on, you shouldn’t eat hard, crunchy or sticky foods as these can damage the braces. You have to also be extra careful about dental hygiene and always use a soft toothbrush. The brush should be angled to reach the area above, on and below the brackets.
Flossing is also essential. It’s essential to be extra careful about hygiene in order to prevent white marks on the teeth. You need to visit the orthodontist every few weeks and the treatment can last for as many as 3 years. The orthodontist will check to see if the braces are in place, tighten the archwire, clean your teeth and check for cavities during these visits. Even after the braces are removed, retainers might be needed for a few years. During this time, regular visits to the orthodontist are essential.
If you know and understand what’s involved in an orthodontic treatment, you can cope better with the braces in your mouth. You will also be able to follow appropriate oral hygiene procedures that are required during the treatment.