Orthodontics is when the teeth are straightened or moved in order to improve the appearance of your smile by correcting the alignment of your teeth and the way you bite together. An incorrect bite can lead to long term dental problems and even jaw and head pain. By straightening the teeth, you also help to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases as straighter teeth are easier to clean.
Orthodontic braces are either fixed or removable
- Fixed braces consist of brackets and bands which are cemented (glued) to your teeth which hold flexible wires in place. In turn, these wires exert pressure on your teeth gently moving them into their correct position over the course of your treatment.
- Removable braces can be taken in and out of the mouth. It has delicate wires and springs attached which move the teeth using gentle pressure. These are used for less complex cases or in conjunction with fixed Braces as part of a combined treatment.
How long does the treatment take?
It usually takes between 9-24 months but will vary according to how complex the case is. We will provide you with a time frame at the beginning of the treatment; however breakages of the brace will add time to the treatment.
Looking after your braces
You will be able to eat most of the foods you were eating before, but more care will need to be taken not to damage your braces. There are some foods that have to be cut out of your diet whilst you are wearing the appliance.
- Chewy sweets, like Mars bars or starburst for example.
- Hard foods, like crusty bread and apples.
Also think twice before opening bottles with your teeth, biting pen tops or chewing your finger nails as these can also damage your braces.
It is very important that your oral hygiene is excellent as cleaning your teeth is much more difficult with a brace in place. Brushing your teeth after every snack and meal throughout the day will reduce the risk of decay and gum disease. In addition, take longer brushing your teeth in the morning and at night.
After your treatment is complete
Your braces will be removed and your teeth cleaned and polished to remove any remaining cement. Your treatment is not over as the teeth need to be held in position while the surrounding gum and bone settles. This period is called retention and the appliance that holds the teeth are called retainers, which are either fixed or removable. Depending on the type of retainers, Impressions may to be taken in order for the retainers to be made at the dental laboratory. You will then return a week later to collect your retainers.