When is the right time for braces?
Many Dentist and Orthodontist believe that the benefits of starting early in a childs development cannot be underscored. Many Orofacial problems can be corrected with functional appliances before all permanent teeth erupt.
Once all permanent teeth are in the mouth, the patient is ready to begin orthodontic treatment, usually between ages 10-14, while the head and mouth are still growing and teeth are more accessible to straightening. Adult patients with orthodontic problems can also benefit from braces at nearly any age. Braces aren’t just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to improve their smiles.
What kind of braces will I have to wear?
Your dentist will know what appliance is best for your particular problem, but you often have a choice. Braces generally come in three varieties: The most popular type are brackets, metal, ceramic or plastic, that are bonded to teeth. Ceramic brackets are typically clear or tooth-colored and are far less noticeable than metal brackets. Lingual, or concealed, braces are brackets that attach to the back of teeth, hidden from view. Both types of braces use wires to move the teeth to the desired position.
A new alternative to traditional braces is a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. Invisible aligners are not appropriate for children and adolescents who are still waiting for permanent teeth.
How long will I have to wear braces?
That depends upon your treatment plan. The more complicated your spacing or bite problem is, and the older you are, the longer the period of treatment. Usually, most patients can count on wearing full braces between 12 and 24 months, followed by the wearing of a retainer to set and align tissues surrounding straightened teeth.
Will treatment be uncomfortable?
The interconnecting wires of traditional braces are tightened at each visit, bearing mild pressure on the brackets or bands to shift teeth or jaws gradually into a desired position. Your teeth and jaws may feel slightly sore after each visit, but the discomfort is brief. Keep in mind also that some teeth may need to be extracted to make room for teeth being shifted with braces and for proper jaw alignment.
Do I have to avoid any foods or personal habits?
Yes. Cut down on sweets, chips and soda. Sugary and starchy foods generate acids and plaque that can cause tooth decay and promote gum disease.
Cut healthy, hard foods like carrots or apples into smaller pieces. Sticky, chewy sweets like caramel can cause wire damage and loosen brackets. Avoid hard and crunchy snacks that can break braces, including popcorn, nuts and hard candy. More don’ts: ice cube chewing, thumb sucking, excessive mouth breathing, lip biting and pushing your tongue against your teeth.
What about home care of my teeth with braces?
With braces, oral hygiene is more important than ever. Braces have tiny spaces where food particles and plaque get trapped. Brush carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and check your teeth in the mirror to make sure they’re clean. Take time to floss between braces and under wires with the help of a floss threader. Have your teeth cleaned every six months to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Insufficient cleaning while wearing braces can cause enamel staining around brackets or bands.