Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly-aligned jaws, crooked, crowded and missing teeth, or a bad bite. Teeth can become crooked or jaws misaligned for a variety of reasons, including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury, while some conditions are inherited.
Orthodontics is a field of dentistry correcting jaw and tooth alignment. Children between age 7 and 14 are common candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces entail additional procedures because adult faces have already fully developed.
Braces use wires and are one of three types:
- Old-fashioned, conventional braces, employing the use of metal strips or bands
- Metal or plastic brackets cemented or bonded to teeth
- Brackets attached to the back teeth (lingual braces)
Orthodontic procedures (orthodontia) are complex processes. Typically, we will need to make a plaster cast of your individual teeth and perform X-rays of your head and mouth.
Once orthodontic appliances are placed, they need to be adjusted regularly to ensure they continue to move your teeth into the correct position. Retainers are used following braces to ensure that your teeth remain in the right position.
Aesthetic and Comfort Issues
Tech advances have vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontia. Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-coloured materials. Braces are attached to brackets bonded to the surfaces of your teeth and can be removed later. People can expect to wear braces for approximately two years although adults are usually required to wear braces for longer periods of time.
Individuals who wear braces must be cautious to ensure that food particles and other debris do not get trapped in brackets and wires. Brackets can also leave stains on tooth enamel if the area surrounding them is not cleaned daily.
Braces and sticky foods don’t mix, therefore crunchy snacks and chewy substances should be completely avoided to avoid loosening or damage to the braces. Daily oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing are necessary. Water picks which emit small bursts of water can effectively rinse away any debris.
Space maintainers help teeth grow in premature tooth loss, injury or other problems. These devices help ensure that proper spaces are maintained to allow future permanent teeth to emerge.
If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, their other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. Therefore when your child’s permanent teeth finally emerge, there may not be enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulty chewing or speaking.