What does ‘Orthodontics’ mean?
Orthodontics is a specialty of Dentistry that focuses on the treatment of irregularities of the teeth and jaws often by the use of braces. Orthodontic braces may be placed to improve the function, appearance and position of teeth. Treatment will straighten crooked teeth, close gaps in teeth and adjust over bites or under bites
Different types of Braces available:
Metal Fixed Braces
These are the most common type of orthodontic brace and are also known as ‘Train Tracks’. Braces consist of brackets, elastic bands and an arch wire. The brackets are attached to the front of teeth using a specific type of dental glue that can be removed at the end of treatment; a wire is then threaded through all of the brackets and secured onto the brackets by elastic bands. Tightening the arch wire causes the teeth to progressively move into the desired position; at each appointment the elastics band will be changed. The elastics come in a variety of colours; perfect for younger patients to experiment by mixing and matching different colours! However, clear or silver bands can also be offered for those who want their braces to be slightly more discreet.
Ceramic (Transparent) Fixed Braces
Ceramic braces are similar to metal fixed braces but are more aesthetic and are very popular amongst adults. The brackets that attach to the teeth are made from a transparent material and are connected together with a white wire.
Lingual Braces – Incognito and MTM
Lingual Braces are placed behind the teeth; similar to fixed braces, lingual braces consist of metal brackets attached to the inside surface of the teeth with a special dental glue, which are then connected together with a wire. However, as they are behind the teeth they are completely hidden with only the patient and their orthodontist knowing they are there!
Because the brackets for lingual braces are specifically made for each case an extra session is required to fit the braces. The first appointment will involve taking impressions so the laboratory can design custom-made brackets for the patient. On your second visit the brackets can be attached and the wire placed.
Suitable for less complex treatment, invisible braces are see-through, plastic braces that are worn over teeth. By changing to a new set of plastic braces every couple of weeks these braces are designed to gradually move teeth to the correct position. They offer the advantage of delivering the intended position of teeth through a less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing method.
How long will treatment take?
Treatment usually takes approximately 18 months to two years, with visits to the orthodontist required every four to six weeks to have the braces checked and adjusted. However, the time spent wearing braces varies between patients depending on various factors such as how severe the problem is, the health of the teeth, gums and supporting bone and how much the teeth need to move by.
Are Orthodontic Braces painful?
The adjustment of orthodontic braces can at times be uncomfortable but should not be painful, equipped with some tips this discomfort can be minimised! On the first few days after are orthodontic braces some discomfort may be experienced, to reduce this a soft diet is recommended. As the braces begin to take effect and teeth begin to move some patients experience an aching sensation, this can be reduced using over the counter pain relief. Moreover, a similar level of discomfort may be experienced after an adjustment appointment, again this will subside within a couple of days and can be reduced by using over the counter medicine such as Ibuprofen and Paracetamol.
Caring for Braces and oral hygiene.
When wearing Orthodontic Braces it is more important than ever to have an excellent oral hygiene and tooth brushing regime as Braces can trap plaque, a major cause of periodontal (gum) disease and dental decay. Therefore we recommend a few simple oral hygiene measures to ensure Braces and teeth are kept in the best condition possible!
Cleaning between the teeth is more important than ever so it is important interdental brushes or floss is used between the teeth to stop plaque building up in these areas
Teeth should be brushed at 45 degree angle towards the gum line using a circular motion, a soft bristled tooth brush and fluoride tooth paste should be used. Further specific instruction on how to take care of the Brace itself will be given by an Orthodontist.