Orthodontics can correct issues with protruding, crowded, crooked, and misaligned teeth and improve oral health, functionality, and appearance.
Straight teeth are less susceptible to tooth decay because they’re easier to clean.
Chewing is difficult with a bad bite and causes your teeth to wear faster. A bad bite can also cause pain, cavities, and gum disease. These issues are improved when upper and lower teeth are properly aligned.
Therefore, orthodontic treatment is as beneficial for your oral and overall health as it is for appearance’s sake.
Orthodontic treatments can be performed on kids, teens, and adults. While it helps to get orthodontic treatment early or before adult teeth erupt, it’s no longer for young patients alone.
Talk to your dentist if you feel orthodontics will benefit you. Together you’ll decide if it’s the right solution for you.
The treatment duration varies by patient and depends on the severity of the case, the orthodontic procedure used, and age.
However, on average, it can take up to two years. You’ll visit your dentist several times throughout your treatment to have your progress monitored.
Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend a treatment to address your specific bite issues. The options that may be considered are:
Braces correct alignment by applying pressure on the teeth. Your dentist will attach a bracket on each tooth. Afterward, arched wires will be fitted into them.
Elastics may also be used to keep the brackets in place. The wires and rubber bands work together to shift your teeth to their proper position. In some cases, you may need to wear a head or neck gear that is attached to your teeth.
It can take some time to get used to your braces. You may feel uncomfortable at first, after your routine adjustments, and if the wires become loose and poke your gums or cheek. If this happens, contact your dentist so they can check and fix it for you.
Your dentist may give you wax that you can apply to any part of your braces that’s poking for relief.You’ll need to give extra attention to your teeth when wearing braces. It’s best to avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky food during your treatment. Food debris can get stuck along the wires and around the brackets. Take your time when brushing and flossing your teeth.
A retainer is a custom-made removable appliance that helps prevent your teeth from shifting.
Your dentist may recommend using one after removing your braces. Retainers can also be used to close gaps between teeth. Your dentist will let you know how long you should be using the retainer. You may need to wear it only while sleeping or the entire day.
Like braces, it can take some time to get used to wearing a retainer. But since it’s removable, you can take it out of your mouth when needed and put it back again afterward.
A retainer should be cleaned to prevent bacteria from building up. When not in use, keep it soaked in water or a cleaning agent. Leaving it dry can cause it to crack and exposing it to heat can cause the plastic to warp.
It’s common for patients to lose their retainers so you may want to assign a container or safe spot for it.
If you’re not comfortable with traditional braces, another option to consider is Invisalign. Designed by Align Technology, Invisalign uses clear plastic removable aligners to straighten teeth. The aligners are custom-made to ensure they fit perfectly.
With Invisalign, you’ll be able to see the progress of your treatment even before starting it. You will need to change your aligners as you go along to accommodate the changes in your mouth.
Although the aligners are removable for your convenience, it’s important to commit to wearing them at least 22 hours a day for efficacy. The success of your treatment depends on how diligently you follow your dentist’s instructions.