If you are thinking of having orthodontic treatment you may have some questions you would like answered first.
What is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment usually involves the wearing of braces (removable or fixed) often the extraction of teeth, and very occasionally jaw surgery.
Why might I need orthodontic treatment?
There are 3 main reasons for having orthodontic treatment:
- To improve the appearance of the teeth
- To improve function i.e. to make it easier to eat
- To improve the health of the teeth and gums
What types of braces are there?
There are those which can be removed for cleaning, known as removable braces.
The second type of brace is fixed to the teeth and cannot be removed for cleaning.
When will the braces be fitted?
This depends very much on the teeth being present in the mouth and the stage of growth of the face and jaws.
How long will treatment take?
Treatment with braces usually takes between 6 -24 months to complete.
If teeth need to be extracted, who will do this?
Your own dentist usually does this.
Is it painful?
Having the brace fitted is not painful. However, it is common to have slightly tender teeth for 3-5 days after each fitting and adjustment appointment.
How often will I need an appointment?
Once your brace has been fitted you will need frequent and regular appointments for it to be adjusted.
Will the brace affect what I can eat?
In order to prevent damage to both your teeth and brace, you will need to:
- Avoid eating toffees, boiled sweets, sugared chewing gum, chocolate bars, etc.
- Avoid drinking fizzy drinks (including diet drinks) and excessive amounts fruit juice.
- Take care eating hard foods which might damage the brace such as crunchy apples, crusty bread, etc.
Will orthodontic treatment damage my teeth?
It is important you brush your teeth well, three times per day and use a fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride mouthrinse should also be used last thing at night, after toothbrushing, to further protect the teeth.
Failure to keep your teeth and brace clean will lead to permanent scarring of your teeth.
Having orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance of the teeth will be pointless if such scarring is allowed to occur.
Will I still need to see my regular dentist?
Yes. It will be important you still have check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment. This is so that your teeth can be checked for decay and gums examined for signs of disease.
Will I still be able to play contact sports?
It is recommended you wear a gumshield. This will also be the case if you enjoy riding a bicycle, roller-skating, or skateboarding. You will b advised about this.
What if I play a musical instrument?
If you play a wind instrument, particularly the flute or a brass instrument, then a fixed brace may make it more difficult. You will need to discuss this with your music teacher.
What if my brace breaks during treatment?
You will need to contact the practice for an emergency appointment for the brace to be repaired. Repeated breakages will slow down the treatment and increase the overall treatment time. As a rule every time the brace is broken 1-2 months is added onto the normal treatment time of 6 – 24 months. If you repeatedly break the brace, treatment may be stopped, leaving your teeth in a worse position that when you started.
What happens at the end of treatment?
Your teeth will try to return to their original positions. In order to prevent this you will be fitted with retaining appliances. These may be worn full time at first and eventually worn part time.
How successful is orthodontic treatment?
This very much depends on your commitment to the treatment. As a general rule, patients who co-operate well with treatment get good results, whilst those who do no co-operate well, get poor results. Unless retainers are worn in the long term some settling and growth changes may occur after treatment.
If you have any further questions that you feel you would like to ask, then please write them down and bring them with you to your next appointment. It is important that you fully understand what is involved in having orthodontic treatment before you decide to go ahead