Alexander CO | About Orthodontics
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About Orthodontics

Why Braces

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident. During your treatment, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or a metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond differently to orthodontic treatment, so the time may differ from the original estimate. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or facebow is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.

Orthodontics for Children

It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment. If no treatment is recommended at this age, an observation program is initiated to follow your childs growth and development until orthodontic treatment is needed.

Orthodontics for Adults

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in braces is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.

Life with Braces

Life with Braces
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? Its important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces
Dont worry; youll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods to avoid with braces:
Chewy foods – bagels, licorice
Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice
Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum
Hard foods – nuts, hard candies
Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
Meats/poultry – soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
Seafood – tuna, salmon, crab cakes
Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
Treats – ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Soreness caused from braces and appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know!

Loose Teeth
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, dont worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Take Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
When you have braces it’s very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.

Please read through the short clips below for proper brushing and flossing instructions.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match – we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, its recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.