Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.
What is a “bad bite”?
A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced – either too far apart or too close together – can also cause bite problems.
Frequent causes of bite problems:
• Premature tooth loss
Benefits of orthodontic treatment:
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient’s self esteem.
Preventing Decay –
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.
Avoiding Alignment Issues –
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.
Types of orthodontic treatment:
Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.
Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients’ mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.
Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.
Length of orthodontic treatment:
Treatment typically ranges from 12 – 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.
Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.
If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. If you experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems, call our office to schedule an appointment.
· Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
· Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our dentist. Try to save the band for repair.
· Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
· Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.
Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.
Difficulties with Speech
Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.
Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.
Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.
Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:
1.Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque, which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, and popcorn can also bend or break your braces. On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.
2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.
3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can find many of these items at your local pharmacy.
4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.
When coming to our office to have braces put on, you may find yourself feeling a bit intimated and nervous about the experience. We hope to help you feel more at ease by explaining exactly what the different parts of braces are, and what they do.
Parts of Braces
• Elastic Tie — This is a very small rubber band, and it holds the archwire in place.
• Archwire — This is the main part of the braces. It is a wire guide that tracks the teeth. The wire may be moved from time to time during treatment to continue straightening a patient’s teeth.
• Loop in Archwire — This is not in all braces. If it is used, it is to close a gap left from a tooth extraction.
• Bracket — This piece of equipment holds the archwire in place. Formerly, many patients used colored rubber bands to keep the brackets in place, but now since most brackets are cemented on, this is no longer necessary.
• Headgear Tube — This is a hollow area near the back bands, which allows the headgear to fit into the braces. This is only used on patients who require headgear.
• Coil Spring — If needed, this would fit between a bracket and the main archwire. Its purpose is to open up the space between the teeth. This is not necessarily used on all patients.
• Tie Wire — This is another piece of equipment that is used to keep the archwire in place. It is a thin wire that wraps around the bracket.
• Band — This is a metal band that fits completely around a tooth. It is used to help adhere brackets to the tooth.
• Hook — This is the piece of equipment that is used to attach the elastics, also known as rubber bands, around the bracket.
• Elastic — These elastics are used to connect one point of the appliance to another. The purpose is to apply pressure, and encourage the teeth to move into the proper positioning.
By defining each appliance we hope you or your child will be less apprehensive about getting braces put on. At the end of your treatment, you will have a bright, straight smile to show off to all of your friends.
Braces aren’t just for kids anymore! Regardless of your age, if you’ve always wanted to smile with confidence, but knowing that your teeth were less than perfect held you back, getting braces might be the solution you’ve been looking for. A straight smile can do so much for your self-esteem, and at Raleigh Hills Orthodontics, we want to help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
In addition to the aesthetic benefits of orthodontic treatment, there are many health benefits as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean and function more optimally when it comes to eating and speaking.
If you recognize any of these signs in your child or yourself, it might be time to schedule a consultation.
• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• Difficulty chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
• Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
• Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are recessed
• Speech difficulty
• Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
• Protruding teeth, teeth that meet in an abnormal way, or teeth that don’t meet at all
• Grinding or clenching of teeth
• Inability to comfortably close lips
We can assess your orthodontic needs during your appointment and explain all the wonderful benefits you can expect to receive during your time in braces. Our team looks forward to seeing you or your child for a consultation!