Orthodontics today is vastly different from the thick, heavy wires and brackets from years ago.
No longer just for teens, with so many options available an increasing number of adults are discovering the benefits of undergoing orthodontic treatment to correct crooked teeth they have had since childhood.
Braces not only help to straighten misaligned teeth but also guide the growth and development of the facial bones, which is why they are mostly prescribed for patients in their pre-or early teens.
At Glebe Dental we recommend you bring your child in for an assessment when their first adult teeth begin to emerge, around 6 – 7 years of age. This early intervention can minimise the time frame wearing braces should they be required.
There are many varying factors to consider before undertaking orthodontic treatment. Following a comprehensive examination, the Glebe Dental team will discuss with you in detail all the options available for you or your child’s individual circumstance.
We will then be able to provide you with a detailed treatment plan.
Before, During, and After Braces
Braces are extremely common among teens and adults alike. They’re used to straighten teeth and fix a number of other alignment issues.
By straightening your smile, you can enjoy a number of oral health benefits. For instance, properly aligned teeth tend to be easier to clean, often making them less likely to experience tooth decay.
So you might be wondering about the process itself. Here’s what to expect before, during and after braces!
In some cases, you’ll already know if braces are in the future for you. This may be because your teeth are visibly crooked or because your dentist has previously mentioned they would be a good treatment for your teeth. In either case, the whole process will begin with your dentist explaining the steps to you in detail.
If you’re not sure whether you or your child need orthodontic treatment, simply talk to your dentist. They’ll be able to explain any potential issues and what your options may be.
During your preparation visit, your dental professional will take an x-ray and an impression to create your treatment plan. They will then fit separators (small rubber rings) around your back molars to create space for molar bands (also known as orthodontic bands), which will stay on for roughly a week.
The process of getting your braces will likely take a couple of hours. First, your dentist will remove the separators and place the bands around your back teeth, which will act as anchors for the rest of the brace system. Then, they will attach small brackets to the front of each individual tooth, and thread a wire through them that attaches at your molar bands at each side. Finally, small rubber ties will be used to hold the wire in place over each bracket – and you get to choose the colours!
It usually takes a few weeks to get used to this new contraption on your teeth. After a little while, you’re unlikely to notice them at all.
Once on, you’ll need to return every six to eight weeks for a check-up. They’ll tighten the wire to keep your teeth moving, change out the rubber ties that hold it in place and ensure everything is working properly. Occasionally, you may need additional accessories. For example, elastics that attach your top jaw to your bottom jaw can be used to realign your bite if it’s out of place.
Most people will experience some discomfort when they first get their braces on and after any check-ups. This is completely normal and is to be expected as your teeth slowly move into their new positions. You can help soothe any discomfort with over-the-counter medications and prepare for a few days of soft, nutritious foods like smoothies.
Note that you’ll need to be very careful about keeping your teeth and braces clean during this time. Avoid all fizzy drinks and hard-boiled candies, as the former may leave stains and chewing the latter may break the wires or brackets.
A lot of times, the first thing you’ll feel once your braces are off is “slimy”-feeling teeth! This is usually because you won’t be accustomed to the feeling of your teeth without braces – it’s incredibly common! Just like your adjustment to your braces when you first got them, you’ll usually quickly adjust to your new teeth.
Your dentist may attach a small wire across the back of your top and/or bottom teeth. This will help keep them in place and may stay on for years to come. You’ll also have new impressions made in order to create a plate (sometimes called a “retainer”). This plate should be worn at all times apart from when you’re eating, and will help ensure your teeth don’t move back! Your dental professional will let you know when you can gradually start wearing it less and less.
If you think you may need braces, talk to your dentist to see if orthodontics are a good option for you. The dentists at Glebe Dental are general dentists and not specialist orthodontists. This is a technically demanding area of dentistry and you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.