Orthodontic Care (braces)
Before orthodontic treatment can begin, pre-treatment records are gathered (this is the key to successful diagnosis of orthodontic problems). Those records include medical/dental history, clinical examination, plaster study models of your teeth, photos of your face and teeth and x-rays of your head. This information will be used to decide on the best treatment for you.
Orthodontic treatment usually consists of applying braces to the teeth or using other appliances which gradually move the teeth or jaws into their correct position. Many of today’s braces are far less noticeable than those of the past.
Braces consist primarily of brackets and interconnecting wires. Brackets (the part of the braces that hold the wires) are bonded to the teeth. Often, clear or tooth colored brackets are used for esthetics.
These braces may not be suitable for all types of orthodontic problems and, because they are more difficult to place and control and require frequent adjustments, they tend to be more costly. New white-colored elastics blend with the teeth. For the younger crowd, colored elastics are available.
When braces are removed, it is usually necessary to wear a retainer for a period of time. A retainer keeps the teeth in their new, correct position until the tissues surrounding them stabilize.
Photos of actual cases done in our office
Removable Dental Appliances
At the other end of orthodontic treatment, a special appliance is fabricated to hold the teeth in their new positions. This is called a “retainer”. Some retainers are cemented over teeth to hold the position and others that are removable.
Other removable appliances are very similar to the removable “retainer” in looks but provide a very different function. These can, in fact, create pressures on teeth in a specific way so as to cause the appropriate teeth to come into the correct position. This appliance can be used for active treatment as well as for post treatment retention.
Types of Braces
Braces come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are the more traditional looking metal brackets that have been greatly reduced in size. Other brackets are clear plastic types and still other are made of ceramic materials. These last two types have been developed to aid in creating a greater cosmetic acceptance by patients in treatment.
You would probably never dream of not bathing your body but give less thought to not brushing or flossing your teeth. When you have braces, it is incredibly important that you give as much attention to cleaning the braces as you do to cleaning the rest of your body.
The bands or bonded brackets on braces create small nooks and crannies where food and plaque (an invisible file of bacteria) can hide. If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for a long time, it can increase the likelihood of tooth decay. This same process can also cause permanent white lines and spots as enamel is dissolved by the acids.
Because of these problems, it is essential to brush after every meal and snack. You should also clean between your teeth and around each bracket daily. Brushing removes the food and plaque that forms on your teeth.
Fluoride Mouth Rinse
Fluoride provides extra protection for your teeth. Is an element that combines with tooth enamel, strengthening it against decay. Fluoride can even repair microscopic cavities by helping mineral incorporate into the teeth.
Dental aids can play an important role in cleaning those hard-to-reach areas, but your diligence in daily cleaning is really the key to good oral health. By watching your diet, practicing good oral hygiene and following your dentist instructions, you can be assured that your orthodontic treatment will be a success. Remember, it is even more important that you visit your general dentist every six months for routine cleanings and examination while you have braces.