WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
This is a study of oral medicine that heavily focuses on abnormalities found in the teeth, including occlusion and the alignment. This field also studies the jaw, and heavily relies on the use of braces or like equipment. Those who specialize in this study are referred to as Orthodontists, and these professionals either focus on dentofacial orthopedics (which treats children as early as age seven) or practice generally and are able to treat patients of all ages.
When Is It Too Early to Visit an Orthodontist?
As previously mentioned, dentofacial orthopedics is a form of orthodontics that focuses on children who have yet to receive their permanent teeth–usually between ages seven and ten. Designed to detect abnormalities that will not necessarily prevent the need for braces, but that will make the procedure easier when the time does come, this focus is often referred to as early intervention. Abnormalities detected through this specialization include:
What Are Braces?
- Front teeth that protrude extremely
- Severe overbites
- Crowding that is deemed severe
- Narrow jaws
Also referred to as orthodontic cases, these are tools designed to correct any teeth abnormalities by softening the teeth and repositioning them in consideration to the way a person should bite. Traditional, metal cases are composed of brackets that are specially positioned, and wires that run through these brackets that work to realign the teeth.
Are There Alternatives to Wearing the Hardware
While there is no alternative to this portion of orthodontic medicine, there are substitutes for the traditional, metal equipment, including:
What Should You Keep in Mind When Wearing the Equipment?
- Clear cases, which are ceramic with tooth-colored wires and brackets.
- Invisalign, which is clear, plastic aligners that are able to be taken out for eating, drinking, and cleanings. These trays are changed every two weeks at home, but routine checkups are necessary to guarantee the progression of your teeth.
- Gold cases, which are fairly striking in appearance.
- Lingual cases, which are placed on the side of the teeth facing the tongue, so they are virtually invisible.
- Self-litigating cases, which uses spring technology that not only applies the necessary pressure to the teeth, but eliminates the need for routine tightening during an orthodontist visit.
A multitude of factors need to be considered while wearing the hardware, and most of it surrounds being constantly aware of what you are eating, the manner you are cleaning your teeth and equipment, and being mindful of anything abnormal. Some specific considerations include:
Digging Deeper: Orthodontics FAQ
- Avoiding certain foods–specifically chewy candies and breads, tough meats, hard vegetables, biting directly into apples, corn on the cob, and pears; avoid eating nuts, seeds, and nut butters, as they can damage the equipment and make cleaning fairly difficult.
- The way that you clean your teeth; brushing should be increased and prolonged to ensure that every bracket has been rid of debris and that every wire has been thoroughly cleaned under. Routing flossing is essential, and we recommend at least once a day.
- If you are wearing a retainer, removing it during cleanings is the most effective means to clean it. Gently brushing the equipment or soaking it in denture cleaning proves to be the most effective.
There are never too many questions in regards to your treatment, and it is important to ask them. Of course, not all of these questions come to mind immediately, so if one should ever arise that is not covered in this Orthodontics FAQ, please contact us with more!
How can I tell if this pain is normal?
Normal pain is tenderness and difficulty eating certain foods, and usually lasts two to seven days after a routine tightening of your equipment. Over the counter pain medicine should alleviate this soreness, but if it does not subside right away, please contact us so that we can help you!
Why do I have to wear this equipment?
For a better, healthier smile, of course! We understand that this is not the best experience of anyone’s life, but it is necessary to ensure your protection and health, overall.
How can I play sports wearing the hardware?
As you did before, you are able to lead a normal life with these cases. A properly fitted mouth guard will do the trick for protecting your mouth and equipment–contact us if you need help finding the right fit.
What happens if I lose a wire or bracket?
The first thing you should do is locate the lost hardware. Next, it is important to contact us to schedule an appointment to fix it because the longer your mouth goes without the necessary piece, the longer you have to wear your equipment.
How long do I have to wear them?
The treatment process is dependent on a lot of factors, including the severity of the abnormalities and the manner you have cared for your equipment–ultimately validating why remaining aware of lifestyle choices is important.