Q What is orthodontics ?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
Q Who is an orthodontist ?
All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must first attend college, and then complete a five-year dental graduate program at a deemed university dental college accredited by the Dental Council of India (DCI). They must then successfully complete an additional three-year residency program of advanced education in orthodontics. Through this training, the orthodontist learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).
Only dentists who have successfully completed this advanced specialty education may call themselves orthodontists.
Q Can anybody be treated using orthodontic braces? At what age can people have orthodontic treatment?
Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. However, orthodontics is faster when carried out in children whose teeth and bones are still actively growing.
What will happen at the first appointment ?
The first appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. A brace will not be fitted at this session. At this stage we will use the time to assess your problems, discuss the orthodontic treatment plan that will be necessary and the optimum time to start treatment. We will also take into account your own concerns, your dental development and your oral hygiene. Patients who are not ready to start treatment will be reviewed at a later date. For those who are ready to start immediately, we will make an appointment to take dental records which includes dental study models, photographs and possibly some x-rays.
Q How do you carry out orthodontic treatment ?
Orthodontic treatment involves wearing a brace /appliance prescribed and designed by the orthodontist according to the problem being treated. They may be removable or fixed (cemented and/or bonded to the teeth). They may be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces can slowly move teeth through their supporting bone to a new desirable position.Occasionally, it might be necessary to extract some teeth if your mouth is very crowded.
Q Do braces hurt ?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some sensitivity of your teeth for one to four days a mild analgesic, such as paracetamol, may be taken.
Q How long will treatment take?
This depends on your age and your bite problem. Most people need to wear their brace for about two years, but you can make a difference by looking after and wearing your braces properly. Broken braces and missed appointments will slow your treatment down. What you need to remember is that this is a team effort and the success and speed of your treatment depends on the partnership between you and your orthodontist.
Q How do you carry out orthodontic treatment ?
Generally your brace will need adjusting every 6 to 8 weeks.
Q Do I need to wear a retainer after my treatment is completed ?
Yes, after any type of orthodontic treatment a retainer will be provided. This has to be worn for an indefinite period to prevent any relapse. You will be advised by your orthodontist as to which is suitable for you.
Q What is Phase I and Phase II treatment ?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of 7 and 10. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when most of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13.
Q Will braces interfere with playing sports ?
No. It is necessary that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any contact sports. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Q How have new "high tech" wires changed orthodontics ?
In recent years, many advances in orthodontic materials have taken place. Braces are smaller and more efficient. The wires now being used are no longer just stainless steel. They are made of alloys of nickel, titanium, copper and cobalt, and some of the wires are heat-activated. These new kinds of wires cause the teeth to continue to move during certain phases of treatment, which may reduce the number of appointments needed to make adjustments to the wires.
Q How do I take care of my teeth with braces ?
Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard and sticky foods. They must not chew on pens, pencils or fingernails because chewing on hard things can damage the braces. Damaged braces will almost always cause treatment to take longer, and will require extra trips to the orthodontist's office.Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning.
The orthodontist and staff will teach patients how to best care for their teeth, gums and braces during treatment. The orthodontist will tell patients (and/or their parents) how often to brush, how often to floss, and, if necessary, suggest other cleaning aids that might help the patient maintain good dental health.
Q What foods can I eat ?
For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid hard breads, and raw vegetables. But you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Foods to avoid
Chewy foods: chocolates, gum
Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips
Sticky foods: caramels, cheese
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn , apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.