Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that concentrates on straightening teeth. Even just a few years ago, its use was largely confined to helping children and teenagers, but over the past few years it has become far more common to see adults wearing braces. Although it is often regarded as being a cosmetic dental treatment, orthodontics can frequently provide additional benefits and it could be that wearing braces is a good way to invest in not only your smile, but also your dental health.
Could Orthodontics Help You?
You might want to think about having orthodontics if your teeth are quite crooked or overlapping, do not bite together correctly or if you have unwanted spaces in between some of them. Treatment can also be worth considering if you find it difficult to floss properly because your teeth are so tightly packed in together, or if it is tricky to brush your teeth because of the way they are arranged. Orthodontic treatment can be used to straighten up your smile, providing you with a more pleasing facial profile.
Why Choose Orthodontics Instead of Cosmetic Dental Treatment?
Although it is possible to straighten up teeth through using the most advanced cosmetic dental treatments, this will almost certainly involve the removal of quite a bit of your original tooth structure as these teeth will most likely need to be crowned or veneered in order to get the desired results. If these teeth are generally healthy and strong and are simply out of position, it could be completely unnecessary to remove any tooth structure when we can get the results you desire through straightening them out.
Orthodontics is a far more conservative treatment as it will help to preserve your natural teeth and any changes to their structure are likely to be far more minor. Once your teeth are straightened, then it’s up to you to decide if you want to have any veneers or other cosmetic dental treatments. Quite often this may mean just using one or two veneers to cover up teeth that still don’t look quite right, even though they have been nicely straightened. This could be the case if you have internally stained teeth which can happen as a result of root canal treatment or which have been stained through the use of antibiotics or fluoride. Even though orthodontics may take a bit longer than opting for cosmetic dental treatment, it should be worth it in the longer term as eventually crowns and veneers will need replacing, whereas the results of your orthodontic treatment will hopefully last for life.
How Could Orthodontics Help My Dental Health?
Straighter teeth are healthier teeth as they are easier to keep clean and much easier to thoroughly brush and floss. This can help to reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, both of which could potentially lead to tooth loss.
What Are the Possible Options for Braces?
- Fixed Braces. Nowadays modern fixed braces are quite different from the braces you may remember during your childhood. They no longer need to consist of highly visible metal brackets, elastics and thick wires. Instead the brackets can be nearly invisible, made from clear ceramics and these brackets can be connected to thin or even tooth colored wires with no need for elastics.The reason why fixed braces can sometimes be a better choice is because they provide highly predictable results. Our orthodontist will be able to move your teeth with a high degree of precision that may not be possible using removable braces. These modern braces are often designed to provide results relatively quickly, but you must be committed to looking after your teeth during treatment.
- Removable Braces. They often consist of BPA-free plastic aligners that can be extremely difficult to see once in the mouth. Not surprisingly, these are a popular solution and can be good for correcting quite a few common orthodontic problems. However, it is important to remember to wear the aligners and to be committed to wearing them for at least 22 hours each day. Ideally they should only be removed for brushing and flossing and for mealtimes.
- Cosmetic Braces. There’s also another solution that may be helpful and that is to use a cosmetic brace which may be fixed or removable. A cosmetic brace isn’t designed to correct complicated orthodontic problems but instead concentrates on moving only the teeth that you can see whenever you smile or talk. It could be a good solution for moving teeth that are only slightly out of position and often the results can be extremely fast, taking a matter of just a few months. The speed of treatment is also reflected in the price as cosmetic braces tend to be quite a bit cheaper than conventional braces.
Does Treatment Hurt?
It is perfectly normal to have a little bit of discomfort during treatment, especially after a fixed brace has been adjusted or when you begin to wear a new set of removable aligners. This type of discomfort should quickly settle down as your teeth become accustomed to their new positions in your mouth.
Will I Need to Spend Ages Cleaning My Teeth?
Fixed braces do require a little bit more time to clean thoroughly, but there are many different tools that can make cleaning much easier and much faster so it really shouldn’t be a problem to maintain great dental health during this time. You might need to adjust your diet slightly, to avoid very hard or sticky foods that could break fixed brackets or wires.
Removable braces are extremely easy to use as they can be taken out whenever you want to brush and floss your teeth and when you want to eat. It is important to make sure you clean your braces at the same time to keep them fresh and hygienic before you put them back in your mouth. With removable braces, there is no need to change your diet in any way.
What to Expect After Treatment
When you finish wearing your braces, your teeth should have been moved into their predetermined positions, providing you with a beautifully straight and far more cosmetically pleasing smile. However treatment doesn’t stop here, as you do need to wear retainers once you finish wearing your braces. Your retainers can be fixed or removable, as fixed retainers simply consist of a thin wire that can be attached to the inner surfaces of your teeth, permanently holding them in place. Removable retainers can look very much like plastic aligners, but it’s important to wear them as directed to prevent your teeth from shifting position.