GETTING BRACES AND WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
If you or your child has crooked teeth, you will want to have this problem corrected as soon as possible. Sometimes there will be quick treatment in the surgery, but sometimes it will be work that the dentist cannot carry out and this needs to be dealt with by someone else. If the teeth are crooked, a dentist will not have the expertise to deal with the problem, so you will have to move away from your dentist and find an orthodontist who will help you straighten out your teeth. Getting braces is the perfect way to get the smile you always wanted and once the treatment is finished, you will be so proud of your new appearance. As your dentist cannot do the work, an orthodontist can. They will have trained to be a dentist and once qualified, trained further so that they can work to straighten teeth. It is around 2 – 3 years extra training that is undertaken; so, there is no need to worry that they will not know what they are doing.
Firstly, it is likely that your dentist will be able to recommend an orthodontist, but if not, you should be able to find one for yourself. There are a couple of things that you should check if you can before you make an appointment:
- Reviews – If you don’t know anyone who has used them, can you find any information about them online? Their own website will only have good reviews, so you should be looking on independent sites. People always want to share their experiences – good and bad – so you should be fine.
- Payment options – Unless there is a medical reason for the braces, you could find that your insurance may not cover the full cost. Often there will be the chance of a payment plan, so investigate the option of using that as it will make it much more affordable.
THE FIRST APPOINTMENT
When you first meet the orthodontist, you will be able to do a two-way interview. You can ask the orthodontist what is going to happen, and they can ask you for a full medical history. Some will offer a free consultation and here you can see the people you will be treated by and where the treatment will take place. However you go about making the decision, there will be a time when you have made the decision and are ready to get your braces.
THE START OF THE TREATMENT
To be sure that the braces will be correct, the orthodontist will want to know the exact condition of your mouth and teeth. While the teeth will be the things they will be moving, they also need to know if there is a problem with the gums. First of all, there will be x-rays taken as these will make sure that the orthodontist is able to see any teeth which may have underlying problems and if they do, then they are the teeth that will be dealt with first. There is no point in straightening a tooth that needs a filling, as it may not last until the end of the straightening journey. After that they will be taking impressions, and hopefully they will warn you that this could be the worst part of the treatment. And providing you follow their instructions, they will only have to be obtained once. There are just a few steps for them:
- The orthodontist will fill an upper and lower impression trays with a thick substance.
- You will have one inserted at the top and then the bottom one will be put in.
- The substance will begin to harden over the teeth. It is while this is happening that you may feel uncomfortable as breathing can be a little difficult.
- The impressions will be removed, and any excess substance will be removed from your lips, teeth and mouth.
- The molds will be taken from the impression trays and used to design the braces.
Once the braces have been designed, you will have an appointment to have them fitted. If you have not looked after your teeth as well as you should have done, then it is possible that you will have to undergo a deep cleaning at the orthodontists before the braces will be put on. They will use a special paste, and this will enable the braces to be put straight onto the teeth. If you have concerns about the cleanliness of your teeth, you could arrange to have the job done at your dentist office a day or so before you will be getting braces. The main reason for this is to prevent plaque on the teeth. Once the braces are in place it will be hard enough to keep the teeth as clean and hygienic as they normally are, but if you have perfectly clean teeth to start with you will be giving yourself the best possible start.
A final good clean, floss and gargle before the appointment should keep the orthodontist happy and let them see that you are getting braces to improve your look and are going to comply with their requests. As well as the cleanliness aspect, it will reduce the time you have to spend in the chair getting braces fitted, as they will not have to carry out a deep cleaning first.
VARIOUS TYPES OF BRACES
Before the appointment to have the braces fitted, you should be aware of the type of braces that are going to be fitted. You may have little choice in the braces that are used as certain ones are going to be a lot more expensive than others. There are at least four different types and the orthodontist will tell you which one you should have.
- Children’s braces tend to be brackets that are attached to the teeth. There will be elastic and wires, and over time they will move the teeth into the position they should be in.
- Some can be attached to the back of the teeth. The process is the same when getting braces, but the brackets are harder to see.
- Metal bands that can be wrapped round the teeth.
- Invisalign – These are clear and can be removed. They will be more expensive, and it is usually older people who choose these. They are harder to see, so fewer people will know that they are having work done.
Within reason, your orthodontist will decide which is right for you. You need to be honest during this conversation as you could end up getting braces you did not want. There are going to be certain aspects where they will not interfere – examples of this will be allowing children to have brightly coloured bands to make the braces seem more fun.
Self-ligating braces are close to the teeth straightening devices that have been used for generations and would have automatically been offered to previous generations who were getting braces. The new style ones, however, can be ceramic or clear and will be visible. There is also an absence of elastic bands as there are clips used instead, and they are just as good at holding the wire on the tooth. As a result of this, cleaning will be more efficient and effective. These braces will be suitable of any sort of problem and give the orthodontist total control over what happens. The only concerns are that they are not totally invisible and can be damaged if not treated gently.
Here the braces will be harder to see as they are attached to the inside of the mouth. They work just as well as other braces and soon you should have perfectly straight teeth. The wires will be moving the teeth; it is just that no one else will know about it. In case you are worried that the back of your teeth will not be suitable to hold the braces, this will not be the case as they will be made to fit them. Their major advantages are that they cannot be seen at all and they are suitable for use whatever the issue is with the straightness of the teeth. There are a couple of disadvantages including getting used to having something in that part of the mouth, and also the expense incurred when getting braces.
Adults will find these the most attractive type of braces, although they will also be the most expensive. The main advantage is the fact that they are clear, but it also helps that they can be removed when you eat or need to clean them. It means that you can make sure that your teeth are really clean, and food will not be left in the braces. They should be left in for 22 hours a day, so there is the option to leave them out for a short time if there is a special event being attended. This should, however, only be done once or twice as the movement that has been made could be reversed and the teeth will end up in the same place as when they started. Invisalign is also a quicker way to get straight teeth. At the initial appointment, plans will be made for several clear braces to be made and every few weeks you visit the orthodontist to have them checked. Often you won’t even have to go to the orthodontist as you will just change the braces for the next ones at home.
DISCOMFORT OF GETTING BRACES
While there will not be a great deal of pain if the braces are placed on the teeth correctly, it is likely that they may take a little getting used to. There is no need to be worried if you feel a little bit of discomfort for the first few days, but if it drags on, it will be best to get back in contact with the orthodontist who fitted them and have them checked out. Most of the time it will be just the settling in period, but on occasions, there could be something loose that is digging into the soft tissue, or something that has been put on too tightly and forcing the teeth to move too quickly.
Even when the braces do not hurt you will be advised to eat only soft food for a while. The ideal things will be soup, bananas and well-cooked pasta. It will be expected that you could need some pain medication as well and there is nothing wrong with taking pain killers that can be bought across the counter. If you are getting to the second week and still find that you need them, again it may be best to have the braces checked out.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BRACES
You should be given information when you first leave, and they will be the obvious things such as:
- Brush your teeth regularly and carefully. You want them to be clean, but you do not want to damage them.
- Use a Waterpik – This is going to get rid of the pieces of food that have not been dislodged by the toothbrush. It is easy for them to get caught in the braces, between the braces and the teeth and also between the teeth.
- Make regular appointments to see the orthodontist. They need to know that things are going as they would expect them to and if not, they can alter the treatment they were carrying out.
- Be careful about what you eat even once you are used to wearing braces. Anything sticky can get caught and will be both difficult to remove as well as leading to the risk of infection and damage to the enamel.
It is understandable that people are worried about getting braces and this will be more the case when it is a child. You can make things much easier for everyone by asking questions as this will both put your mind at ease and alert the orthodontist to areas where they need to give you extra information and updates.