Dental braces come under the Orthodontic branch of dentistry, that deals with the problems of crooked teeth (irregularly aligned teeth) and jaws that are positioned incorrectly. For some, it is nerve -wracking procedure, while others are overly excited about this treatment, specially the colorful braces. Dental braces not only improve the positions of the misaligned teeth, but they also improve the functioning and general health of the teeth and the structures around teeth. Let’s see some details about the braces.
You will be needing braces if you have one or more of these following problems:
If one or both of your jaws are not in harmony with each other or with the face. One or both the jaws appear more prominent, sticking your teeth out and and making your lips bulging out.
Spacing between all your teeth or just in the midline of the jaw.
If the teeth are so tightly apposed to each other that they overlap each other or they appear rotated. If the bite is such that, there is space between the upper and lower front teeth, on closing the upper and lower jaws together.
If the bite is such that, the lower teeth go and hit the upper palatal surface and cause trauma, on closing the upper and lower jaws together.
If your Canines are coming in “Dracula” like fashion.
If the milk tooth has gone but the permanent tooth is not coming in that place. The permanent tooth might be present inside the bone that is not able to come out.
Braces comprises of a set of components like the brackets, bands, archwires, ties, elastic chains, springs, head gears, etc.
Brackets: The brackets are the most influential component of the braces. These are small rectangular attachments that are placed on individual teeth and they hold the archwire on that particular tooth. They act as a handle to hold the archwire to move the teeth.
Bands : The bands encircle the tooth (mostly the molars) and the ends of the arch wire engages the bands securely and they provide anchorage for the whole system of braces.
Arch Wires: It is the wire that is engaged in all the brackets and the bands. It is in U- shape generally and it acts as guide for all the misaligned teeth to set along the wire in a proper U- shape.
Ties: These are the elastic or ligature ties that secure the archwire to the brackets.
Elastic chains: These are engaged from one tooth to another in order to pull the teeth close together.
Springs: These are used to open and close the spaces between the teeth.
Head gears: These are the devices or attachments that are used to bring major teeth movements like moving the whole upper or lower teeth together, or moving or changing the angulation of the jaw bones.
There are a few, of the many components of braces.
The dentist first checks your teeth and jaws clinically, to see how the teeth are aligned naturally, what is the position of jaws and what corrections have to be done. Then he/she makes the molds (impressions) of your teeth and may prescribe a few radiographs (x- rays) of the teeth, jaws and head region. After analysing the models and radiographs, the dentist arrives at the best treatment plan for your teeth and discusses with you.
If we want to bring the teeth from the misaligned positions to well aligned positions, the teeth have to move in bone. Now, the braces apply small amount of continuous force on the teeth and this causes the bone to change its shape or we can say, the bone remodels and allows the teeth to move from one point to another. So, this is the way teeth move within the bone.
A variety of braces are available now a days. These could be metal braces (stainless steel), tooth colored braces (ceramic, acrylic), the lingual braces (placed on the inner surface of the teeth) or the invisible braces (invisalign). All types have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here the patients get an advantage of choosing their braces by seeing their looks and cost factor.
This could be your second appointment after consultation and treatment planning. This is going to be the longest appointment of all other future appointments, approximately about 45 mins to 1 hr time. Cleaning and conditioning of teeth is done and glue (bond) is placed, then the brackets are placed at proper measured positions. The placement of brackets is one of most critical steps. Correct placement is must for getting the best results from the treatment. After bracket placement, the first and the lightest wire is secured on the brackets. Then you are ready to click your first picture with braces and post on Instagram.
The duration of the treatment varies from individual to individual. How much is the severity of the problem, whether extraction has to be done or not, how much distance the teeth have to move, how’s the health of the gums and bone supporting the teeth, is the patient regular or irregular about his visits, how well the patient follows the instruction, etc. In general, the duration varies between 6 months to 2 years for orthodontic treatments, depending upon the above mentioned factors.
In every sittings, the dentist might change the wires and place some or the other new components like elastics, springs, head hears, etc, in order to move your teeth in a desired way. Your dentist might want to see you every 3-4 weeks from the previous appointment, because 21 days is the approximate time that takes for the bone to remodel and the teeth to move under the applied force in the previous appointment.
Just after the appointment, you could have some tight, pressure like feeling or others might feel some soreness in mouth, but that goes away after 2-3 days of the appointment. If discomfort is more or some pain is there then any simple painkiller tablet (tab. Brufen 600 or tab Paracetamol 500) will help. And if pain is too much, then talk to your dentist.
Best possible oral hygiene is mandatory with dental braces. Your dentist will tell you about the brush (Orthodontic brushes) to be used, the toothpaste (Amflor toothpaste) and mouthwash (Amflor mouthwash) to be used. And the dentist will also clean your teeth with cleaning scaler, as it might sometimes be difficult for you to clean your teeth between the brackets and wires.
With braces comes a lot of dietary restrictions and precautions. Avoid all sticky (chewing gums, sticky toffees and chocolates) and hard food, like biting on a whole apple. You can have it by cutting into small pieces. Even after taking all precautions, the brackets tend to come out. In that case your dentist will be fixing it again, but that delays the procedure by 1-2 sittings.
A big “Yes” in most of the cases. Retainers are the fixed or removable appliances given after removing braces. They help in holding and retaining the teeth in their new well aligned positions, to which they have moved with the help of braces, from the old misaligned positions.
In India the cost of braces would vary between Rs.50,000/- to Rs. 3,00,000/- depending upon the braces that you choose. And in other countries its approximately around $ 5000. At some places the insurance carriers cover some part of the total cost of the orthodontic treatment, but not in India.