Before planning treatment, the Orthodontist examines the teeth, jaws, jaw joints, face and profile and studies how the patient bite and swallows. The dental and medical histories are taken. If the patient is looking for cosmetic changes in his/her smile or face, he/she will be asked about the specific goals for Orthodontic.
Evaluation is done with the help of:
» Photographs etc.
Orthodontics for young children or Early Orthodontics
An early phase of treatment may precede braces to take advantage of a child’s growing jaws.
Early treatment moves jaw bones and chewing muscles into position, setting the stage for the most stable bite correction possible. This phase may last for a year year or more.
Benefits of Early Orthodontics
» Enhancing self esteem by improving the child’s appearance with proper jaw alignment.
» Creating a more stable long term result especially with severe bite problems.
» Shortening or improving results of second phase of treatment.
» Allowing for treatment at an age when children are more cooperative.
» Helping prevent fracture to buck teeth.
» Minimizing future jaw surgery.
» Minimizing removal of permanent teeth.
When is early treatment needed?
» An unbalanced profile.
» An overbite, underbite, crossbite, gummy smile, deep smile or open bite.
» Overlapping or crowded teeth.
» Difficulty in chewing.
» Open – mouth breathing.
» Speech Problems.
» Tongue thrusting.
» Thumb or finger sucking after age of 4.
Why do some patients have to extract teeth and some not?
In some cases a patient may need to get some teeth extracted in order to fix the braces. Teeth are only removed after serious consideration. However, if the patient is referred to a qualified orthodontist at a young age and the problem is not severe, then the entire treatment may be carried out without tooth removal. It is critical therefore to visit a dentist at the earliest sign of irregular teeth so that he may refer you to an orthodontist.
Is the treatment very painful?
The treatment is certainly not painless, but the pain is mild and lasts from 3 to 7 days after a visit to the Orthodontist. After this, there is no pain. During subsequent adjustments or wire changes, there may be mild pain.
Recent advances in Orthodontics have made treatment far more comfortable. The braces become a part of you, just like a pair of spectacles.
Can I continue to eat my favorite foods? Do I have to modify my diet?
You can continue to eat your favorite foods but they will have to be prepared specially. Your food will have to be softened, or cut into small pieces, or be well-cooked before eating. Ice creams and colas may be had as usual but corn will have to be sliced off the cob, hard fruits will need to be sliced, nuts and chikki ground and chocolate must not be eaten after refrigeration.
Foods that are best avoided are popcorn, sticky chocolates, hard nuts and fruits, hard crusts and chewing gum. These foods can break or loosen your braces making you uncomfortable and can delay treatment.
How should I clean my teeth now?
Brushing with braces on your teeth requires a little more effort than, if you didn’t have any.
» Use of a soft bristled toothbrush or an orthodontic toothbrush.
» Brush twice a day in gentle circular motions with special emphasis to dislodge food that is lodged between teeth and the braces. Use a mouthwash to rinse additionally.
» Never allow plaque or food to accumulate on the teeth and braces.
What else do I have to do during treatment?
You may have to wear small elastic bands which you change regularly. Some treatment requires a retractor or head gear, a lip bumper and other functional appliances which your orthodontist will show you how to use. Report any untoward change or damage of the braces immediately.
Does this treatment affect my performance at school/work/sports?
Not at all. You will only need to take reasonable care of your braces during contact sports like boxing, football, hockey, cricket, etc. to prevent damage to the braces and injury to the teeth and lips.