Braces or Orthodontics- Correcting uneven teeth:
- Braces and retainers straighten the teeth and improve the patient's appearance;
- They improve the patient's bite;
- They help teeth stay set in their position after they have straightened;
- They help control the teeth shift that naturally occurs;
- Sometimes they are used to help medical problems, such as tongue thrust (this is a condition where the tongue sneaks through the teeth as the patient talks).
At what age is orthodontic treatment done ideally?
Ideally it is indicated when all the permanent molars have erupted or in the process of shedding at about 11 or 12 years. Some children may need them even earlier. When the children have a prominent mandible this should be corrected much earlier during the growth phase about 9 or 10 years. When there is a cross bite i.e. the reverse of normal upper tooth placed inside and lower tooth placed outside it can be corrected as when the tooth erupts.
What happens if the treatment is delayed?
At an early age the braces are less painful and the treatment duration is shorter. Advancing age makes the jaws harder and therefore makes it difficult to mold the jaws and to move the teeth. As mentioned in the earlier section, in younger individuals it is possible to prevent and intercept the developing problems. But orthodontic treatment can be carried out at any age.
What happens before the procedure?
The orthodontist is the only one who can tell a patient if he or she needs braces or retainers. If they do, the orthodontist will take impressions of the teeth.
What happens during the procedure?
The procedure consists of attaching tiny brackets to the patient's teeth using special bonding agents. After that the orthodontist will place wires through those brackets. These wires act as tracks that create the "path of movement" which will guide the teeth. Ligatures (tiny elastic bands) can also be used to hold the wires to the brackets; there is a multitude of colors for patients to choose from.
What happens after the procedure?
The treatment period can vary from one person to another, depending on factors such as the severity of the problem, the distance the teeth must travel and how closely the patients follow the instructions.