Orthodontic treatment is provided for people unhappy with misaligned teeth or jaw, robbing them of their self-confidence. It can also help people who are not able to live out a good quality of life due to crooked or misaligned teeth. Fortunately, there are many ways by which we can perfectly align teeth or jaws that are misplaced. This is a part of the dentofacial treatment provided by modern orthodontists with help from different types of orthodontic appliances.
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age; however, childhood is the best time to initiate this step. This is because the bones and tissues are more pliable at this period of time. However, adults and children both need to have healthy gums or teeth prior to getting the treatment done.
The orthodontist will conduct a very thorough examination of your teeth and jaw structure and suggest a suitable method of treatment to get the teeth or jaw aligned. There are different types of treatment depending on the needs of the patient and the bone structure.
- Metallic braces -Metallic braces are made from metal and are the most traditional type of braces used for straightening teeth. They consist of metal brackets and wires bonded to teeth and adjusted periodically by an orthodontist to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. The metal brackets are typically made of stainless steel or a blend of stainless steel and other alloys, and the wires are typically made of a blend of nickel, titanium, and other alloys. Metallic braces are usually the most affordable option for orthodontic treatment. They are also durable and long-lasting, which makes them a good option for patients who may be more prone to breaking or damaging their braces. However, these type of braces are visible to others which can be a concern for some patients who do not want others to see that they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. (Contd)
Metallic orthodontic braces are a tried and true method for straightening teeth and can be a good option for patients who are looking for an affordable and durable treatment option.
2. Ceramic Braces -Ceramic braces are a type of braces that are similar to traditional metal braces, but made with a clear or tooth-coloured ceramic material instead of metal. They too consist of ceramic brackets and wires that are bonded to the teeth and adjusted periodically by an orthodontist to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. The ceramic brackets are typically made of a composite of ceramic and other materials, and the wires are a blend of nickel, titanium, and other metal alloys.Ceramic braces are a popular alternative to traditional metal braces for patients who are looking for a more discreet and aesthetically pleasing option. Because the ceramic material is clear or tooth-coloured, it blends in more with the natural colour of the teeth, making them less noticeable than metal braces. They are also less likely to cause irritation to the gums and cheeks, which can be a common problem with traditional metal braces.
However, ceramic braces have some limitations and drawbacks as well. They are less durable than metal braces, and are more prone to chipping or breaking. They also require more maintenance, as they need to be cleaned regularly to maintain their clear appearance. Additionally, they may require more frequent adjustments than metal braces, and they may not be suitable for patients with severe bite issues or those who have higher treatment needs.
Overall, ceramic braces are a good option for patients looking for a more discreet and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional metal braces. They are suitable for minor to moderate teeth alignment issues, but they may not be the best option for patients with more severe bite issues or treatment needs.
3. Self-ligating Braces -Self-ligating braces are a type of braces that use a special mechanism, such as a clip or a door, to hold the wire in place, instead of using elastic bands. This type of braces is similar to traditional metal or ceramic braces, which consists of brackets and wires that are bonded to the teeth and adjusted periodically by an orthodontist to gradually move the teeth into the desired position.Self-ligating braces are known for being more efficient, comfortable and faster treatment compare to traditional braces. The special mechanism allows the wire to move more freely within the bracket, which can reduce the need for frequent adjustments and can decrease the overall treatment time. Additionally, self-ligating braces are generally smaller in size and less visible than traditional braces, which can be more aesthetically pleasing for some patients.
Self-ligating braces also have some limitations and drawbacks. They are more expensive than traditional braces, and they may not be suitable for patients with severe bite issues or those who have higher treatment needs. They also require more maintenance, as they need to be cleaned regularly to maintain their performance. Additionally, they may not be suitable for patients who are prone to breaking or damaging their braces or for those who have a history of poor oral hygiene.
Self-ligating braces are a good option for patients looking for a more efficient and comfortable alternative to traditional braces. They are suitable for minor to moderate teeth alignment issues, but they may not be the best option for patients with more severe bite issues or treatment needs. It’s important to consult with your orthodontist to determine if this type of braces is the right option for you.
4. Invisible Braces – Invisible braces, also known as clear aligners, are made of clear plastic and are custom-fit to the patient’s teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, invisible braces are nearly invisible when worn, making them a popular choice for adults and older teens. They are typically worn for 20-22 hours a day and need to be changed every two weeks. They are designed to move teeth gradually into the desired position over time and are often used to treat mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth or bite issues.
5. Retainers – Retainers in orthodontics are appliances that are worn after braces or clear aligners have been removed to help teeth maintain their new position. They are typically worn to ensure that teeth do not shift back to their original position. Retainers can be removable or fixed and made of different materials such as plastic or metal. Removable retainers are custom-made to fit patient teeth and are mostly worn full-time for a period, then worn at night for a longer period of time. These retainers may be clear plastic aligners that resemble clear aligners or traditional Hawley retainers, which have a plastic mould of the patient’s teeth and a wire that wraps around the teeth.Fixed retainers are permanently attached to the inside of the teeth, typically the lower front teeth, and are not removable by the patient. They are often used when there is a high risk of teeth shifting back to their original position. Retainers play an important role in the orthodontic treatment process as they help the teeth to settle into their new position, and help prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original position. It is important to wear retainers as prescribed by the orthodontist to ensure the best outcome of the treatment.
6. Myofunctional Appliances – Myofunctional appliances focuses on the muscles of the face and jaw, as well as tongue, to correct issues related to breathing, swallowing, and speech. They are worn inside the mouth, similar to a retainer, and work by repositioning the jaw and tongue, and training the muscles of the face and jaw to function correctly. Myofunctional appliances are typically used to address issues such as open bites, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and speech difficulties caused by a tongue-thrusting habit. They can also be used to treat sleep apnea, snoring, and other breathing issues that are related to improper jaw and tongue positioning. There are different types of such appliances, such as tongue cribs, lip bumpers, and palatal expanders. These appliances are custom-made by the orthodontist to fit the patient’s mouth and are typically worn for several hours each day. Treatment duration can vary depending on the specific condition being treated, but is typically several months to a year. Myofunctional appliances are often used in combination with other forms of orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners, to achieve the best results.
Caring for Orthodontic Appliances
While wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. It is also important to avoid foods that can damage the appliances, such as hard or sticky candy. It is recommended to see your orthodontist regularly for adjustments and check-ups. Additionally, make sure to wear any elastics or other attachments as directed by your orthodontist.
There are certain types of equipment commonly available with pharmacists or dentists that can help you retain oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. They are of many types, but the most important are listed below.
- Soft-bristled toothbrush: They are used to brush the teeth and gums, as well as the brackets and wires of the braces. The cons are that they cannot clean effectively around the brackets or inside areas that are hidden from view
- Interdental brush: This is a small, cone-shaped brush that can be used to clean around the brackets and wires of the braces, as well as the spaces between the teeth.
- Dental Floss: This is a tool that allows you to thread floss through the spaces between the brackets and wires of the braces. However, they are not suited to pull out debris efficiently from all areas of the mouth and may cut into gums if not used carefully
- Water Flosser: This is a device that uses a adjustable yet moderately high pressure stream of water to clean around the braces and remove plaque and food particles. It is a better way of cleaning food debris stuck in and around the metal or ceramic brackets and other parts of the ortho appliances.
- Orthodontic Wax: This can be used to cover the brackets and wires of the braces to prevent them from irritating the cheeks and lips.
- Antiseptic Mouthwash: The mouthwash can be used to kill bacteria and freshen the breath, especially if you are unable to brush your teeth immediately after eating.
To know more about Interdental Brushes or Water Flossers and see a demo of their working, call our expert now.
Q: What is orthodontic treatment?
A: Orthodontic treatment is a type of dental treatment that focuses on the alignment and straightening of the teeth and jaws. This can be achieved through the use of metallic braces, clear aligners, or other appliances. Orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of the teeth, as well as the function and health of the mouth.
Q: How long does orthodontic treatment take?
A: The length of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the specific case and the type of appliance used. On average, treatment can take anywhere from 18 months to 2 years. However, some cases may be shorter or longer. Your orthodontist will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the length of treatment based on your specific needs.
Q: Can adults get orthodontic treatment?
A: Yes, adults can get orthodontic treatment. In fact, an increasing number of adults are choosing to get orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance and function of their teeth. There are a variety of treatment options available for adults, including clear aligners and lingual braces, which are less visible than traditional braces.
Q: Will orthodontic treatment be painful?
A: Some discomfort is normal after getting orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners, as your teeth and jaws are being moved. However, any pain or discomfort should be mild and temporary. Your orthodontist can provide you with pain relievers to help manage any discomfort.
Q: How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
A: The cost of orthodontic treatment can vary depending on the type of appliance used, the length of treatment, and the location of the practice. In general, traditional metallic braces tend to be the most affordable option, while clear aligners and lingual braces can be more expensive.
Q: What is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?
A: The best age to start orthodontic treatment can vary depending on the specific case. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should see an orthodontist by age 7 to evaluate if there is a need for early treatment. This allows the orthodontist to address any issues while the child’s jaws and teeth are still growing, which can make treatment more effective.