WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
The process of straightening teeth, is called Orthodontics. It may be loosely defied as the science of moving teeth, straightening irregular, crowded or improperly placed teeth. Dentists who are specially qualified in this area of expertise are referred to as Orthodontists.
WHO REQUIRES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Anyone with malaligned or irregular teeth, buck teeth, crowded teeth, overlapping teeth, rabbit teeth or ones with gaps in between may require orthodontic treatment.
WHY DO TEETH BECOME IRREGULAR?
There are numerous reasons for malaligned or irregular teeth. These are briefly:
- Small jaw
- Bad lip and tongue habits
- Other habits like breathing through the mouth, nail biting
- Incompetent lips
- Injury / accidents
WHAT DOES TREATMENT INVOLVE?
This is done commonly by fixing braces to teeth and straightening them out.
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 3to 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 FAVOURITE FOODS?
DO I HAVE TO MODIFY MY DIET?
You can continue to eat your favourite foods but they will have to be prepared specially. Your food will have to be softened. Or cut into small pieces, or he 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 food 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 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.