Unfortunately, many of us end up with teeth that are in need of positional adjustment. This can be from crooked teeth, unsightly gaps that compromise bone structure, overbite, underbite, overly crowded teeth, open bite or crossbite. The “old school” way to correct malformed teeth is with dental braces.
However, the modern way to straighten malformed teeth is a product called Invisalign. Invisalign is a clear plastic that is fitted to your teeth in a way that pushes them towards their correct location. Invisalign is less visible and less of an intrusion into your lifestyle. Occasionally, though, braces are the best solution.
Braces: What to Expect
First, a thorough examination is needed. This includes x-rays of the teeth and mouth, an examination by the dentist and a review of your dental history. For most cases, Invisalign is the easiest solution for you. If it isn’t, we recommend braces.
When your teeth are fitted with braces, a device called a cheek retractor is used to keep the teeth visible and dry while the braces are put on. To ensure that the brackets bond properly, the teeth are polished and then dried. Then, a conditioner is applied to the front of the teeth for approximately 30 seconds.
After the conditioner is cleaned off, the teeth are once again dried and an adhesive primer is applied to the teeth. This primer helps the brackets bond to the teeth better. Next, the adhesive cement is applied to the brackets. Then, the brackets are placed on the teeth in predetermined positions.
Once the brackets are in their proper positions, the excess cement has to be removed. Then, a high-intensity light can be used to bond the brackets to the teeth. After the cheek retractor is removed, it is time for an important step: positioning of the dental arch wires. Depending upon the severity of the condition and the amount of work it takes to position the brackets and wires properly, it takes from ten to twenty minutes for the initial application.
Soon, you will begin to feel tightness and soreness, from four to six hours after the work is done. This comes from the fact that the braces are pushing and pulling your teeth into a different direction. Usually, an over the counter pain reliever will be enough to relieve the pain. The soreness can persist as long as three to five days.
You will need to return to the office for adjustments periodically. The wires are held in place by elastic ties, which weaken with time due to the pressure. If you don’t get adjusted, the braces are no longer correcting your problem. During the adjustments, we evaluate the movement of your teeth and the progress you are making towards overall dental health.
Adjustments can be required as often as every three weeks or as seldom as every ten weeks, dependent upon a lot of factors.
During the adjustment appointments, the arch wires and elastic bands are removed. This allows you to fully floss and brush your teeth. Then, new bands and new wires are placed into the apparatus, allowing for further adjustment.
Living With Braces
If you have braces, you will have to adjust your lifestyle a bit. It is crucial to brush three times a day, to a point that you should carry a brush to school or work with you. You will also need to avoid sticky foods which can lodge themselves under the braces. This can force the braces to detach.
Foods that require hard biting or chewing, such as apples, should be cut into pieces. It is also important to avoid sugar and highly acidic foods.
Removal and Aftercare
The removal process is relatively easy and painless. The brackets are removed first, then a dental handpiece is used to remove the excess bonding cement. Within two weeks, you will be fitted for a dental retainer. This is important during the “recovery phase” to help make the changes in your teeth permanent.
To learn more, call 1300 Great Smile ((08) 9404 9500) today.