|What is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is the process of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work.
It can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth, gums and jaw joints and all round health of the teeth and gums
Why should I have orthodontic treatment?
Many people have crowded or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment will straighten the teeth or move them into a better position. This can, not only improve their appearance, but also the way the teeth bite together.
You should never underestimate the importance of having an attractive smile. A healthy grin is vital to one’s self-confidence and an attractive appearance increases your self-esteem. Others will also notice, leading to better job prospects and happy relationships.
Possibly more importantly, if you have crooked teeth or a crowded mouth they are hard to look after and often tooth decay and gum diseases take hold as well as bad breath.
At what age should I have orthodontic treatment?
When left untreated, most tooth and gum problems become worse. Treatment by your orthodontist at an early stage is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years.
Orthodontic treatment is generally best carried out in children but it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through before starting treatment.
Will I need to have teeth taken out to make room?
You may not have enough room for all your permanent teeth and so it may be necessary to take out some permanent teeth to make space. At Bath Orthodontists we use the very latest low friction braces and in most cases space can be created without the need for extraction.
How long will it take?
The length of treatment depends on how severe the problem is, and may take anything from a few months to two and a half years. Most people can be treated in one to two years.
Is that it when the braces are removed?
No. When treatment is finished the teeth need to be held in position for a time. This period is called retention, and the appliances that hold the teeth in place are called retainers.
The retainers hold newly straightened teeth in position while the surrounding gum and bone settles. The retainers can be removable or fixed depending on the original problem.
How many visits will it take?
The number of times you need to visit your orthodontist will vary but generally orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted every eight to ten weeks. Your orthodontist will tell you how often your appliance will need adjusting once treatment has started.
How successful will it be?
Like everything in life, the success depends on many factors including; the level of the problem you have, the skill of the orthodontist, and very importantly the commitment you show in following ‘orthodontists orders’ - it is important to attend regularly and carry out any instructions given by the orthodontist.
Can orthodontics damage my teeth?
No, orthodontic treatment will not damage your teeth, but poor cleaning and too many sugary drinks and snacks can cause damage. Brackets, wires and braces can trap food and cause more plaque than usual to build up. So the teeth and appliance need to be cleaned very thoroughly and regularly.
How do I care for my brace and teeth?
It is important to continue to have your teeth checked by your dentist while having orthodontic treatment. You also need to take extra care of your teeth and mouth:
1. Clean your teeth carefully every day, including between your teeth where you can. Appliances are delicate and you need to make sure you clean them carefully so that they do not break. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to show you the special techniques to use depending on the appliance you are wearing.
2. Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Avoid ‘snacking’ on foods or drinks containing sugars, and on fizzy drinks. Also, sticky and hard foods may damage the delicate orthodontic appliances.
3. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and ideally use a mouthwash. Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a fluoride toothpaste or application for you to use.
Will it hurt?
Braces can initially cause a little discomfort to your lips and gums but this normally eases very quickly.
Will my friends laugh at me?
Unlikely, as many of your friends and hundereds of celebrities also have orthodontic appliances at some point in their life. These days they are becoming a fashion accessory and trendy to wear.
Can I still play sport while wearing my braces?
Yes. You can normally continue to play all your favourite sports, but a mouthguard should be worn for all contact sports (this is always advised even without orthodontic treatment in any case) .
Ask your orthodontist for advice on a professional mouthguard. Professional custom-made guards are usually the best but alternatives are available.
Will braces make it hard to speak?
No. You can talk, sing, yell, tell stupid jokes even if they are not really funny. Braces will not stop you from having fun.
Can I eat sticky foods?
We don't recommend it. Very hard or sticky foods such as toffee or chewing gum can stick to your braces and pull them off your teeth. Crunchy foods like carrots and apples can also cause you problems but it is fine if you cut them up and chew them with your back teeth.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least twice each day. We will show each patient how to floss and brush their teeth with braces.
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. Unfortunately there is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment!