Braces & Retainers

1. What is ORTHODONTICS?

Orthodontics is the specialized field of dentistry dealing with straightening teeth and altering bone growth through the use of specially fitted dental appliances, one of which are most commonly known as braces.

2. What is orthodontic treatment for?

It is commonly perceived that orthodontic treatment is a procedure undertaken solely for aesthetic purposes. While it is true that after orthodontic treatment, you have a more confident smile in social and business settings, it does more than just give you a nicer and more confident smile. Orthodontics can correct various problems, reduce chances of developing periodontal (gum) disease later on and provide you with greater ease in chewing and swallowing.

3. What dental problems can orthodontic treatment or “braces” correct?

Crowded teeth, mis-aligned, spaced, impacted teeth (teeth trapped in the jaw bone) and even missing teeth are problems which orthodontic treatment can correct.

4. How do I know if I need braces or orthodontic treatment?

First, the orthodontist evaluates your teeth, jaws, bite and profile. To plan your treatment, special x-rays showing your head, face, and jaws are taken to help the orthodontist take specific measurements.

Photographs and impressions (study casts) are also taken to record the way your teeth and jaws fit together. From these diagnostic records the orthodontist will determine the type of malocclusion, as well as any other orthodontic problems you have.

5. At succeeding appointments?

Depending on the problems, your orthodontist will move your teeth into position using one or more appliances (like braces and retainers). Braces gently apply pressure to your teeth causing bone to be resorbed on one side. As a result, new bone then grows in and slowly hardens on the other side of your teeth, holding teeth in position.

Keep in mind now, more than ever, that proper oral care and diet are important in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. With the special appliances in your mouth, there are areas that can easily catch and trap food particles. Ask your dentist for special tips on how to brush and floss correctly during orthodontic treatment

You may have to modify your eating habits while wearing braces. While you can still enjoy most of your favorite food, there are some you should avoid. Stay away from sticky food (soft candies, gum and caramels) and crunchy food (popcorn, nuts and corn chips) as they could break your archwires.

Lastly, orthodontic treatment is a personal decision and commitment that will affect you for the rest of your life. Work as a partner with your orthodontist to get the best possible aesthetic results. Cooperate. Wear your removable appliances for the prescribed period. Keep your appointments and have frequent checkups with your general dentist during your orthodontic treatment.