Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that works to fix jaws and teeth that are not positioned properly.
If you have teeth that are crooked or do not fit together properly there are a number of issues that can arise. Oral hygiene is more difficult on teeth that are not properly aligned, and because some of the teeth may not be getting properly cleaned every day, tooth decay can begin. Misaligned teeth can also cause more stress on your chewing muscles which may lead to headaches as well as neck, back, and shoulder pain.
It is important to make regular trips to the dentist, they are the ones who can tell you if you are in need of orthodontic treatment. There are many forms of orthodontics, but we are going to focus on the most common treatment for fixing teeth and jaw alignment, braces.
Dental Braces Procedure
Your dentist will not be the one who puts on the braces, for braces you will be seeing an orthodontist.
Step 1: Examination
The orthodontist will first make sure you are a good candidate for braces. They will examine your teeth, check your dental history and view x-rays to make sure braces are appropriate. In some cases, the orthodontist may suggest a different treatment that better fits your individual needs.
Step 2: Preparing your Teeth
Once the orthodontist has determined you are eligible for braces they begin to prepare your teeth. A device called a cheek retractor is used so the orthodontist can see all your teeth and make sure they remain dry.
Next, your teeth will be polished and dried. Then a conditioner is applied to the surface of your teeth so the brackets can properly bond. The conditioner is left on for less than a minute, after which the orthodontist will remove it and dry your teeth once again. Finally, an adhesive is put on the teeth for bonding purposes.
Step 3: Applying the Braces
After your teeth have been prepared, the orthodontist will put a strong adhesive on the back of the brackets. The brackets are placed on the teeth and a special light is used to harden the adhesive and keep the brackets on your teeth. The brackets are then connected with archwires.
The whole process will take between one and two hours.
Step 4: Follow Ups
Follow-up appointments are necessary with your orthodontist, usually every 1-2 months, depending on your case. These appointments will be used to adjust your braces by receiving new wires and bands to continue moving the teeth into the correct position.
The amount of time needed with braces will be determined by your orthodontist. While your braces are in, oral hygiene may be a little trickier to maintain than before. That’s why it is important to talk to your orthodontist about proper oral hygiene habits and how to effectively clean your teeth while you have braces.