Conventional orthodontics

Before placing braces on your teeth you will need a check-up for decay or gum problems. Do visit your dentist or the School Dental Clinic regularly, even when you are on braces.

Why have straighter teeth?

Apart from the obvious cosmetic advantages of having straight teeth did you know that there are health advantages too?

the most difficult part to reach when you clean your teeth every day is the area between your teeth. This is the area that bacteria collect and as the bacteria digests the sugar in your diet they excrete an acid which attack the teeth, causing dental decay. In order to keep this acid attack at a minimum we need to ensure that these bacteria don’t collect in between our teeth.

Daily brushing and a good oral healthcare routine are a vital part of this, but what if those areas between your teeth or even more difficult to reach?

Crooked or uneven teeth can often be difficult to clean in these areas, we would normally suggest that you use a floss or interdental brush, but getting these into difficult to reach areas can be awkward. This tends to mean that people don’t clean their teeth quite so well if the teeth are crooked.

Straighter teeth really are healthy teeth as they are easier to clean which keeps the bacteria at bay and ultimately reduces your chances of getting dental disease.

Orthodontic Braces can be fixed or removable.

Fixed braces consist of brackets and bands bonded or cemented to your teeth (to get a hold of them) and very thin metal wires that gently push your teeth into their right positions.

The wire is tied into the brackets with a steel ligature or a coloured plastic ring. Some brackets have clips to hold the wires and no ties are needed. Brackets can be made of metal or tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic. Ordinary fixed braces are bonded to the front of your teeth. There are also braces that can be bonded on the back of your teeth (lingual braces) and clear braces such as Invisalign.

Removable braces are sometimes used when you are still growing or if you still have baby teeth left. Functional removable braces are used to change jaw growth to normalise your bite.

There’s lots more information available in our free guide which is downloadable in the right-hand sidebar…

What are the orthodontic braces stages?

First Visit:

X-rays, photos and impressions for plaster study models of your teeth are taken. Your orthodontist will plan your treatment using these records. Very often, permanent teeth are removed when they are crowded and there is not enough space in the jaws for all of them. The extractions are done just before or just after the fitting of your braces.

Second Visit:

Your orthodontist will explain the treatment plan and the braces suitable for your condition. Before braces are fitted, separators (small plastic ‘doughnuts’) are placed between your molars for a week to create spaces for the molar bands.

Third and Fourth Visits:

Subsequent Visits:

Bands are cemented and brackets are bonded to the front of your teeth.

(Every 4 to 8 weeks) Adjustments are made to the braces by way of wire-changes, adding springs, elastics or other accessories.

NOTE: Accessories are necessary to make your braces work. Elastics are often used to get your upper and lower teeth to bite together properly. Facemask’s, headgear or biteplates are sometimes used with fixed braces. It is very important to use all accessories exactly as you have been told, if not, progress of the treatment stops and may in some cases, reverse.

When treatment is completed:

Your fixed braces will be removed at a debanding appointment, followed by removal of cement and the polishing of your teeth. Moulds of your teeth in their new positions are taken to make retainers. After your braces are removed, you will need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions for the next few years.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Will I be able to speak normall with fixed braces?

With regular fixed braces, speech is normally not affected at all. However, if your condition requires a palatal expander appliance to be fitted at the roof of your mouth, this may interfere with your speech. If you have lingual braces, you will take some time to learn to speak properly with the braces.

Playing musical instruments: If you play a musical instrument with a mouthpiece, it will take you one to two weeks before you become as skilful as before.

How do I brush my teeth with orthodontic braces?

With braces on, your teeth are more difficult to clean. Do not leave food on your braces. Brushing your teeth properly after every snack and meal will reduce the risk of decay and gum disease. In addition, five minutes of brushing is needed every morning and night. Have your toothbrush available to brush after meals as well as at your orthodontic visits. You can use disclosing solution to check if your teeth are clean. You will need to replace your toothbrush more often as it will wear out faster.

Are there any eating or drinking restrictions with braces?

Eating hard food or biting on large pieces of food may dislodge the brackets or bands and damage the wires. Avoid eating nuts and biting on nails or pencils. Do cut hard fruits into small and thin pieces before eating them. Avoid food and drinks with high sugar content such as sweets and soft drinks.

Is there any pain or discomfort with orthodontics?

It takes up to one week to get accustomed to your braces. Initially, your cheeks and tongue will chafe from rubbing against the brackets and bands. Your teeth will also feel sore but you will get used to your braces in a couple of days. After each adjustment of the braces you will also feel some discomfort as your teeth start to move.

How will braces affect my daily life?

The normal period of treatment with fixed braces is 18 months. You will need to make time every 6 – 10 weeks to visit your orthodontist, apart from during the course of the treatment.