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A Dentures Wearers Checklist
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What is orthodontics?

The process of aligning and straightning the teeth is called orthodontics.In common terms it may be defined as the science of moving teeth, straightening irregular, crowded or improperly placed teeth. Dentists who are specially qualified in this area of expertise are referred to as Orthodontists.

Who requires orthodontic treatment?

Anyone with malaligned or irregular teeth, buck teeth , crowded teeth,overlapping teeth,or ones with gaps in between may require orthodontic treatment

What causes orthodontic problems?

An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion or a “badbite”. Some examples of causes of malocclusion are crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment.Most malocclusions are inherited, although some can be acquired.Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, or sucking of the thumb or fingers for a prolonged period of time.

Why do the teeth become irregular?

There are many reasons for malaligned or irregular teeth:
• Small jaw
• Thumb sucking
• Bad lip and tongue habits
• Oral habits like mouth breathing, nail biting etc.
• Incompetent lips
• Injury/ accidents

What does the treatment involve?

The treatment is done commonly by fixing braces to the teeth and straightening them out.

Why should I get braces ?

• Smile is the most important feature on your face. It is hard to believe when you are going through with the treatment, but braces will improve your smile and make your face look excellent. Beautiful healthy smiles are the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. Another outcome- increased self confidence may also be evident.

• Braces improve your health, as you will be able to chew your food better.

• You will avoid dental problems in future.If you do not get orthodontic treatment when you need it ,you will have problems in the future ,and you will not be able to clean your teeth which will lead to other dental problems.The effects are significant enough that many adults are now going for orthodontic treatment.

• You may avoid developing a breathing problem.

Are there any age limits for braces ?

There are no age limits. Orthodontic treatment is slower when you are older.

Do adults really get braces ?

Absolutely. Many adults did not get braces when they were young.Either their parents delayed the treatment or they could not be treated with the old techniques. Now they are more conscious about their smile, and they may have a problem in chewing their food, so they get braces. Other people may have had orthodontic treatment when they were young, but they did not wear the retainers till they stopped growing (you should wear your retainer till you are 24). The result is that the teeth became crooked. Now they are unhappy with their smile so they get braces too.

Are there health advantages to adult orthodontic treatment ?

Yes. When the teeth are crooked they are harder to clean and will wear unevenly. Your gums and teeth will hurt , and eventually you will lose your teeth. Orthodontic treatment can inhibit gum disease and thus prevent tooth loss.

Orthodontic treatment will also help you chew your food better facilitating better digestion and nutrition.

When should a child get braces ?

Although individual problems determine the best time to start orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every child see an Orthodontist at an early age, but should be no later than 8 years, as most orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than treating when jaw growth has slowed.

Should I wait till my child’s bite gets better on its own ?

NO!!! Unfortunately , many parents assume they must wait until a child has all of his permanent teeth, only to find out that treatment would have been much more easier if started earlier. Early orthodontic treatment can have tremendous impact on a young persons oral health and emotional wellbeing. Further, as your child gets older, the orthodontic treatment becomes more painful.

How will I know if my child needs to visit an orthodontist ?

Although many people associate orthodontic treatment with adolescence, orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or with the teeth much earlier, while the primary or baby teeth are present. Some of the more readily apparent conditions that indicate the need for early examination include :
• Early or late loss of teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb sucking
• Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sounds
• Speech difficulties
• Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally or do not meet at all
• Facial imbalance
• Jaws that are too forward or back
• Grinding or clenching of teeth

What are orthopedic appliances?

Orthodontists may use one of the several orthodontic appliances designed to guide bone growth. In some patients early treatment achieves results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

What steps are involved in orthodontic treatment ?

First , your orthodontist will examine you and make your pre treatment records. These records are important tools for the orthodontist to use in making an accurate diagnosis. They include medical/ dental history, clinical examination, and plaster study models of teeth, photographs of your teeth and the x- rays of your mouth and head. This information will be used to decide the best treatment.
A custom treatment plan is outlined for each patient. The specific treatment appliance which is best suited to correct the patients orthodontic problem is constructed. There are varieties of different orthodontic appliances that may be used. When orthodontic appliances are in place, this is considered an active treatment phase. Appliances are adjusted periodically so that the teeth are moved correctly and efficiently. The time for orthodontic treatment varies from person to person. An important factor in how long a person wears braces is how well a patient cooperates during the treatment- for example by following the instructions to wear rubber bands or headgear.
After the active treatment is completed, the retention phase begins. The patient will need to wear a retainer so that the teeth stay in their new position.

Why do some patients have to extract /remove teeth while some do not?

In some cases some patients may have to get some teeth extracted in order to fix the braces. Teeth are only removed after serious consideration. However, if the patient is referred to a qualified orthodontist at a young ageand the problem is not severe, then the entire treatment may be carried out without tooth removal.

Are there less noticeable braces?

Today’s braces are generally less noticeable than those of the past. Brackets, the part of the that hold the wires , are bonded to the teeth. These brackets can be metal, clear or tooth colored ceramic brackets. Wires that are used with the braces are also less noticeable. Today’s wires are made of materials that exert a steady gentle pressure on the teeth making the tooth movement process faster and more comfortable for the patients.

How long does the treatment take?

Although the average treatment time is about 24 months, this varies with individual patients. Usually the adult treatment takes a little longer than a child’s treatment. Other things to consider are the severity of the problem, the health of the teeth gums and supporting bone and how well the patients follow instructions. While orthodontic treatment requires a time commitment, most people feel the benefits are well worth the time invested.

What is having braces like?

Generally the patients mouth is sore for the first week after one gets braces. Also the mouth will be sore after the braces are tightened. Initially when the braces are fixed there may be some sores on the lips and warm saline gargles are indicated during this period. After some time as the treatment progresses, you should get so used to the braces, that you should not notice the braces except when they are being tightened or if you get hit in the mouth.

How will my lifestyle be affected when I have braces ?

Your lifestyle will not be affected after getting braces as you will be able to do everything you do now. You will not be able to eat a few things such as
bubblegum, chocolates, peanut butter, and you will have to wear a mouth guard when you participate in sports. You are advised to avoid sports where you will get hurt in the face such as fighting, boxing, wrestling and karate. However your lifestyle will hardly be affected, and you will end up with a fabulous smile.

How often should I brush my teeth when I have braces ?

Brushing and flossing is very important when you have braces because food can get caught in between leading to cavities. Also you will have terribly bad breath. You should brush regularly after every meal and before you go to bed. The brushing has to be done diligently and carefully otherwise the gums may swell and bleed. A special orthodontic brush has to be used for this purpose.

What is a retainer?

A retainer keeps your teeth in perfect alignment after the braces are removed. It is usually removable, but a fixed retainer is an alternative when the patient keeps forgetting to wear it Fixed retainers are bonded to the teeth and can not be removed by the patient.

Why do I need the retainer ?

Usually, when the braces are first removed, your teeth will be in perfect alignment , but your gums, bone and teeth will not have completely settled into their new positions. The retainer has to be used un till your gums, bones etc settle into their new positions. At the end of the orthodontic treatment, your smile will be wonderful , and you need to keep wearing your retainer to maintain it like this.

What happens if I do not wear the retainer ?

Your gums and bone will not settle into the new positions so your teeth will tend to move back to their old positions , and your fabulous smile will dwindle. You may even need to get your braces put on again.

How long should I use the retainer ?

You need to wear the retainer 24 hours a day for at least a year after your braces are removed.