Life with Braces Before and After Overbite
No one who has used braces to fix their teeth has looked at the new smile they have and regretted it. There may have been stages that they would have rather not gone through, but by the end of the treatment they can see the improvement and love it. Life after an overbite is going to be much different that it was when you still had one. When you decide to have braces, you will be investing in your future and will reap the rewards for many years to come. Looks are only part of the issue as you will find it will be easier to both eat and talk. Your over-all health will also improve. If you choose the right orthodontist, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action for you to take.
There is no need to worry that you have left it too late to have braces as there is not really a time when you will be too old. Earlier is clearly better as there is less chance of problems and the bones will not have fully formed. The teeth will also largely be milk teeth and if they are corrected, the new ones can come through in the right place and not need any further work carrying out on them. It is also likely to be less expensive for a child as there should not be as much work involved.
According to the American Association of Orthodontics, the first set of exams should be carried out on a child when they are about 7. It is not always going to be necessary to do any work at this age but can be a help when the time does come.
The main reason for checking a child’s teeth regularly is to catch any problems as soon as they are starting. Notes can be made and ready for when braces may be needed. By starting early, I will be possible to deal with issues before they get to be too bad.
Catching things early
It is hard to explain just how much easier it would be to start treatment early and if you can do this there are a variety of issues that you will be able to stop including:
- Making sure that there is enough room in the mouth for when the new adult teeth come through.
- Ensuring that the face is symmetrical and that the jaw has grown to be in the correct location.
- Making sure that there is no risk of damage from front teeth that are protruding.
- Checking that the space that had been made from incoming teeth was not lost due to movement.
- Stopping teeth will have to be taken out.
- Limiting the time that braces have to be worn.
Could you benefit from orthodontic treatment?
Malocclusions are a problem and if you suffer from one, then you will be glad to undergo orthodontic treatment. Even if you don’t have one, you can have a better smile and by default more confidence. If you have a malocclusion, you should have it treated as soon as possible according to the American Association of Dentists. Through research they have found out that there are many other problems that could happen if you just leave them.
It is going to be much more difficult to clean teeth if they are too close together. Flossing will also be difficult as it is not going to be possible to get the wire between the teeth. When this happens there will be issues such as bacteria getting stuck on the teeth and this will lead to bacteria, decaying teeth and gum disease. If teeth are sticking out, there is a much bigger risk of them becoming damaged. They can chip on mugs or cutlery as they will not be protected by the lips.
If a crossbite is in place, it can affect the growth of a tooth and will lead to uneven wear as certain teeth will be a lot more active than others. There can also be issues when it comes to speaking as if there is an open bite, the tongue can pick up the habit of thrusting and making it hard to talk clearly.
Adults with braces
In the past if you did not have braces as a child you were considered to have missed the boat. It was not impossible to have adult braces, but just not a common thing. Nowadays they are quite commonplace, and the only real caveat is that the gums are healthy and can hold the teeth while they are moving. With the right orthodontist, the results will be outstanding, and the braces will bring you a range of benefits. If the teeth are crooked, then gum and bone loss is likely and if this goes to the extreme you could end up with pains in the jaw or headaches.
There are now items that are much more comfortable to wear, and you won’t have to make as many trips to the orthodontist. There is much more choice than there ever was as braces can now be metal, clear aligners or braces and even some that can just be worn at night if there is only a small problem to heal. When you are first examined, it should be possible to work out what the issue is and for the orthodontist to be able to decide what they are going to do and what sort or braces will be best for you.
Once the orthodontist knows what they need to do, they will arrange for the lead up to the brace fitting to be carried out. Firstly, there will be an x-ray to see the extent of the problem, and also impressions will be made. This is likely to be the most uncomfortable part of the procedure and once this is over, you will be fine with the rest of it. Next decide the type of braces required to fix the overbite. They can be metal or clear – Invisalign are the clear ones and as expected this will be more expensive. Metal ones may be kept in place for the entire procedure whereas Invisalign can be removed for eating, and you will be given different ones every few months. A week or so later, you should receive the braces and make appointments for check-ups. With Invisalign there could be fewer, but you will still need to call in every few months.
After the braces come off
Getting the braces off will be an amazing day and you will be able to see the improvement in your teeth right away. It would be a pity to go as far as you have done and then let it all go wrong. Once the teeth are in the right position, they will not stay there unless there is a lot of encouragement. You are going to need to change the braces for retainers.
There is no time to let the world see your perfect naked teeth as the retainer has to go on straight away. You may have thought that the end was near, but it is recommended that the retainers stay in place for at least 6 months and every night thereafter. There will also have to be a few visits to see that they are doing their job. In many cases it will be suggested that you wear them regularly for a long period of time to make sure that the teeth stay in the right place.
The idea of wearing retainers for the foreseeable future may have come as a shock, but there is some good news. They can be taken out, so are not going to spoil special events and take over your life and tooth cleaning regime again. Examples of retainers that can be taken out are maxillary wrap-arounds. They are delicate and must be handled carefully as not only can they be expensive to replace, but also the longer that you have them out of your mouth, the more time the teeth have to slide back into the position they were in before you started any treatment. The case you will be given with them should be used on all occasions that you are not wearing the retainers. Denture cleaner must be used to clean them, so it is no use trying to give them a quick clean with your toothbrush when you are cleaning your teeth.
You can expect to be told at least 6 months of wearing retainers at all times other than when eating and cleaning your teeth. After that you may be allowed to just wear them at night, although this is a decision that the orthodontist should make. Don’t assume that just because the 6 months is up, you can wear them just when it suits you. The final result will depend upon how strict you are when it comes to wearing a retainer.
Is a Retainer Needed?
There will always be patients who decide not to wear a retainer and then complain that their treatment has not been successful when the teeth move back to their previous position and that overbite has come back. There has been research carried out in relation to this and the findings should be observed. It was found that regardless of the way the initial treatment was carried out, whether teeth were removed or not, whether the treatment was due to overcrowding, or expansion, and whether there was the need for some form of headgear to be used, the results will be the same.
Once the treatment stops, there will be a few steps backwards unless something is done to prevent it. Basically, you need to accept that once the braces come off, you will still need some help. Any orthodontist who tells you that once they have removed your braces, you will not need to do anything else should be questioned about the statement.
Not all orthodontists will offer the same level of aftercare, but if you are offered a number of appointments over the 2 years after the braces are removed then you should feel safe in the knowledge that this is an orthodontist who cares and is going to do their best for you. You could end up wearing them every night for ever, but if you want to keep your teeth the way they are, then that is what you need to do. If you need to undergo wearing braces again, then it is more than likely that you have not followed the good advice you had been given.
Types of retainer
- Hawley retainer – These are the traditional retainer and the advantages include it is rigid and will support the arch form. Also, there will not be any occlusal coverage. The downside is that the metal part is visible, and the teeth are not protected if the wearer grinds their teeth.
- Essix retainer – This is a vacuum formed and hard to see in the same way Invisalign is. There is a cover to protect against teeth grinding. The downside is that they are not fully rigid, and some patients struggle to wear them due to the occlusal coverage. They also have to be replaced every 5 years or so.
- Fixed retainer – Not often provided due to the way it is placed but may suit some people. It’s one selling point is their name “permanent retainers”, but there are a number of disadvantages including making it hard to eat items that need to be bitten such as apples, it is hard to clean, and it breaks easily.
Now you know what to expect from wearing braces and then moving on to retainers in order to keep your teeth where they should be. With the right orthodontist there is nothing to worry about and you should sail through the treatment program that they set up for you. There is nothing to fear when it comes to correcting an overbite and once you have finished treatment you will realize that.