ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT // BRACES
One can regard orthodontic treatment as a two stage process.
The first stage is the fixed stage, which involves the dentist and the patient. During this stage, in most cases, the patient has no control over the orthodontic process. It is during this stage that the teeth are straightened. Please remember that the rate of tooth movement of each patient cannot accurately be determined.
Fundamental during this stage is the maintenance of good oral health practices. Negligence results not only in cavities but in unsightly staining of the teeth once the braces are removed.
Once the teeth are straightened and the braces are removed, we enter the final stage of treatment. This stage is completely dependent on patient compliance.
There is always a certain amount of relapse once the braces are removed. It is critical that the patient wears a retainer to minimize relapse. Also, patients need to make sure that they come for their 3 and 6 months follow up to monitor for any possible relapse.
RISKS AND BENEFITS OF ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
Orthodontics plays an important role in improving overall oral health and achieving balance and harmony between the face and the teeth for a beautiful healthy smile which en chances the self esteem. Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and so the tendency to decay may be decreased as may the likelihood of developing disease of the gums and supporting bone. Also well aligned teeth are less likely to experience abnormal wearing down of teeth.
- 1. Under normal circumstances, orthodontic treatment gives excellent results, but because of various factors such as cooperation, unfavourable facial growth and tooth anatomy, treatment results cannot be guaranteed. We will of course do everything to achieve good results.
- 2. Sometimes a tooth may be traumatised by a previous accident or a tooth may be decayed or have a large filling which may cause damage to the nerve of the tooth. Orthodontic tooth movement in some cases aggravates this condition and in rare cases may lead to loss of tooth vitality and decolourisation of the tooth requiring root canal treatment to restore the colour of the tooth.
- 3. In some patients the roots of the teeth may be shortened during orthodontic treatment. It is impossible to predict susceptibility. Usually the shortening does not have any significant consequences, but on rare occasions it may become a threat to the longevity of the teeth involved.
- 4. The gums, cheeks and lips may be scratched or irritated by newly placed appliances. Very rarely, loose orthodontic appliances may be accidently swallowed or aspirated. Please inform the dentists of loose appliances as soon as they are noted.
- 5. Poor cooperation, poor oral hygiene, broken appliances and missed appointments can lengthen the treatment time and affect the quality of the end results.
- 6. Failure to cooperate or continued breakages may force the dentist to change the treatment plan and thus the goals of the treatment. As last resort the treatment may be suspended. The consequences of suspended treatment may be worse than no treatment at all.
- 7. If the retainer is not worn after the treatment, the possibility for relapse is increased.
Instructions for orthodontic patients
Your orthodontic treatment represents an investment in your oral health and wellbeing. It is important to realize that the following Do’s and Don’ts were designed to ensure the success of your orthodontic treatment.
- Brush teeth immediately after breakfast, lunch and before bedtime as directed.
- Use wax to cover appliance which may irritate lips, cheeks or gums. Cotton wool coated with Vaseline can also provide some relief. If soreness persists please call the rooms.
- Use fluoride gel or toothpaste as directed daily. The use of fluoride helps to protect the enamel by strengthening its surface. Drink at least 2 glasses of milk every day.
- You may be asked to wear elastics or a plate. It is vital you co-operate to complete treatment quickly and satisfactory.
- For the first few days of braces you may feel discomfort. Take what you normally would for a headache. This discomfort should last only a few days.
- After your braces have been placed it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with the oral hygienist who will teach you how to take care of your teeth and braces.
- Do not wait for your appointment to report a problem.
- Do not play with wires or other parts of your appliances with tongue, finger or pencils…etc.
- Do not eat any hard sticky foods. Sticky foods such as caramels, toffee apples, Bar One,should not be eaten. Avoid hard foods such as peanuts, muesli bars, popcorn, crusty bread, chips and ice.
- All apples carrots, corn-on-the-cob etc can be eaten if cut up. Do not bite into these with your front teeth.
- Try to choose diet soft drinks rather than full sugar drinks. Chewing gum is out! Eat chipped biltong.
Use your common sense in choosing the foods you eat as breakages will delay your treatment.
- Breakages must be reported immediately. Leaving a breakage for even a short time can significantly increase overall treatment time as the next phase of treatment may not be able to be implemented at your next appointment due to the breakage.
- No matter how close the breakage occurs to your next appointment, please contact our office to inform us of the breakage so that more time can be allocated for you.
- Finally, it is essential to see your oral hygienist every six months for regular checkups and advice. Remember poor oral hygiene can cause tooth decay and problems with your gums. Damage is caused by plaque that is allowed to collect around the appliances.
- Damage to teeth that have not been carefully cleaned as instructed is your responsibility. Surfaces of teeth which are brushed and cleaned as directed should not be adversely affected by orthodontic appliances.
How do braces work?
- 1. Brackets are placed onto the teeth. These are specific to a particular tooth. Their design helps in determining the angle of a particular tooth.
- 2. A wire is placed into a slot on the bracket. The wire has a built in shape and is held to the tooth by an elastic. The tooth moves to the shape of the wire.
What happens after the braces are placed?
- 1. The first step is to correct the angles of the tooth.
- 2. This is followed by correcting the smile lines.
- 3. If there is too much crowding in the mouth, teeth will be removed. These are generally the premolar teeth ( behind the eye teeth ).
- 4. Now the front teeth are pulled back into this created space.
- 5. Once the spaces are closed, the roots must be aligned with the crowns of the teeth.
- 6. Finally the teeth must be stabilised in their new position.
If extractions are needed, you will be informed at least a month before.
If you have any questions or concerns please let the receptionist know so that she can arrange for us to chat.
Please remember that tooth movement cannot be predetermined and so the time that the braces will be on is an estimate only.
Most common questions
- ྊ Why do the brackets break so often?
It is exceptionally difficult to adjust the eating style to prevent breakages. Some children just never get the hang of it. Read the dos and don'ts and exercise patience with your child.
- ྊ When are you going to change my wires?
The wires serve a particular function and we need to get that done first before we can move to different wires.
- ྊ When are the braces coming off?
Remember that we have to stabilise the teeth before the braces are removed.