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BRACES & ORTHODONTICS life

We offer traditional and clear orthodontic braces to help solve issues related to having a crooked smile. Having straight teeth is important to not only have a beautiful smile but also having teeth that function optimally.

For most people, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is the reason for choosing to receive orthodontic care. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, orthodontic treatment will greatly improve the way you look and feel.

When your treatment is complete, you will have the smile you’ve always dreamed of as well as the confidence to show it off! We also want you to feel comfortable and confident throughout your entire orthodontic experience, so our practice is dedicated to making sure that you receive the quality care you deserve.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

Orthodontic appliances are 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 the proper position.

Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can now choose from brackets that are clear or metallic, and in some cases, the color of your appliance. Wires are far less noticeable, and the latest materials are designed to move teeth faster with more comfort. Today, any age is a great age to wear braces!

Types of Braces

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth by using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Clear Braces

Clear braces are made of clear materials like ceramic or sapphire and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, clear braces are a good option for older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. They are visually less prominent, and provide excellent results just like their metal counterparts!

Clear Aligners & Invisalign

Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, but they are also removable; so, you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment. Plus, this helps to make brushing and flossing less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment. Our dental office offers both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen.

Duration of Treatment

Depending on several factors, including age, treatment method, and how minor or severe your case is, treatment time varies and can last between six months and three years. A big factor in a successful treatment is you, the patient! The more involved and diligent you are, the quicker and more efficient your treatment will be. For children, receiving interceptive, or early treatment can also help provide a quicker treatment time later on in life.

Before beginning your orthodontic care, your doctor will discuss all of your options and provide an estimate for how long your full treatment may take. Contact your local Gulfside office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about if orthodontics is right for you.

life during treatment

Life during orthodontic treatment will include periodic visits to the orthodontist, possibly some minor changes in diet for the duration of treatment, and more frequent toothbrushing along with daily flossing. 

Braces diagram

This diagram below illustrates and names the parts of a typical set of braces.

A. Ligature The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny rubber band or a twisted wire. B. Archwire The archwire is fastened to all of the brackets and creates a force to move teeth into proper alignment. C. Brackets are bonded directly onto each tooth. The archwire is held in place by a series of brackets. D. Molar Bands A metal band with a bracket attached is wrapped around select molars for additional anchorage. E. Bracket with Hook and Ball Hook Hooks and ball hooks, each attached to a bracket, are used for the attachment of rubber bands (elastics), which help move teeth toward their final position. F. Rubber Bands Rubber bands (elastics) are used to temporarily connect brackets between the upper and lower jaw to add force for additional tooth movement.

How often will we see the orthodontist?

Visits to the orthodontist to adjust braces or to pick up new aligners, at which time your orthodontist will evaluate the progress of treatment and assess the health of the teeth and gums, will be scheduled about every 6 to 10 weeks.

How long will treatment last?

The length of treatment is different for each patient because each patient has a unique problem. Your AAO orthodontist will give you an estimated length of treatment. Here are five tips to make your treatment go as quickly as possible:

  • Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on the frequency of brushing and flossing, and see your dentist for a professional cleaning at least every six months during orthodontic treatment, or more often if recommended.
  • Watch what you eat if you have braces. Stay away from hard, sticky, and crunchy foods. Opt for foods that are soft and easy to chew. If you have aligners, be sure to remove them before you eat or drink anything besides tap water, and put them back in after you’re done eating or drinking and you have thoroughly cleaned your teeth.
  • Beware of sugary, acidic soft drinks including regular and diet soda pop, fruit juices, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. Tap water is recommended.
  • If prescribed, wear your elastics (rubber bands) as instructed.
  • Keep scheduled appointments with your orthodontist.

What do I do if a bracket or wire comes loose, or if I misplace an aligner?

If a bracket or wire comes loose, or if you lose or break an aligner, let your orthodontist know right away. Broken braces cannot deliver the right forces to move your teeth, and that could prolong treatment. Aligners should be worn in a particular sequence. Your orthodontist is the best person to call for advice about the next steps and to advise whether a lost aligner will extend your treatment time.

We have a special event coming up – can braces be removed?

Discuss this with your orthodontist. But be aware that premature removal of braces may not be in your best interests for a stable, functional result from orthodontic treatment.

We won’t need to see the dentist during orthodontic treatment, right?

You must continue seeing your family dentist during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist will provide professional cleanings and check-ups, and like your orthodontist, you will keep an eye on oral health. Visit your dentist at least every six months during orthodontic treatment, or more often, if recommended.

Do braces cause discomfort?

There can be some initial discomfort when braces are placed, or for a short time after braces are adjusted, but this is temporary. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.

How much work/school will we miss?

There may be some time away from work or school during your orthodontic treatment, but your orthodontist will do his/her best to minimize it. If you have braces, the longest appointments will be to place and remove your braces, and will likely be scheduled during the workday. Appointments to adjust braces or pick up a new set of aligners, scheduled every 6 to 10 weeks, are usually short.

How often should you brush?

Your orthodontist will give specific instructions, but in general, you should brush for two minutes after every meal or snack, and before bed. Carry a travel toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste with you so you can brush when you’re away from home. Bring along floss and an interproximal brush, too. If you’re in a pinch and are not in a position to brush after eating or drinking at the very least rinse with plain water. It can help you get rid of some food particles or traces of beverages

What kind of toothpaste should you use?

Fluoride toothpaste is recommended, approved by the American Dental Association, preferably without any whitening.

How often should you floss?

A minimum of once a day.

I don’t like to floss.

Flossing is crucial to successful orthodontic treatment and on-going oral health. Flossing removes plaque from parts of your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. Plaque is the enemy – it’s the source of disease processes in teeth and gums.

Why is all this brushing and flossing necessary?

Brushing and flossing keep teeth and gums clean by removing plaque and food debris. When plaque and trapped food are left on the teeth and around braces, the outcome can be cavities, swollen gums, bad breath, and permanent white marks on the teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene helps to minimize your time in treatment, and contributes to a healthy result.

A manual toothbrush or a power toothbrush?

Use the toothbrush that works best for you. Make sure you brush for two minutes each time you brush! Change the toothbrush or power toothbrush head at the first sign of wear, or at least every three months.

Are there other tools we can use to help with oral hygiene?

Here are three handy oral hygiene tools:

  • Interproximal brushes – these are great at dislodging plaque and food particles trapped between teeth, and to clear out debris that catches on brackets and wires.
  • Water irrigators – these can flush out food particles in a jiffy!
  • Fluoride mouth rinses – whether over-the-counter or prescription-strength, a daily fluoride rinse can strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent white marks (decalcification).

Your orthodontist may suggest dipping an interproximal brush in a capful of fluoride rinse to deliver fluoride protection between the teeth or using a fluoride rinse instead of water in an irrigator.

What can you eat with braces?

A healthy diet supports the body as it undergoes the biological changes that occur during orthodontic treatment. You are encouraged to enjoy a variety of healthful, easy-to-chew foods during orthodontic treatment. Soups, stews, casseroles, pasta, scrambled eggs, and smoothies can be good choices. You can enjoy fresh fruits like apples and pears, but they should be sliced rather than bitten into. Similarly, sandwiches and pizza are OK, but they should be cut into bite-sized pieces. Cut corn off the cob before serving.

What can’t you eat?

Stay away from foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy for the duration of treatment. Sugary and starchy foods should be avoided, too. Ban foods such as hard pretzels, hard pizza crust, crusty bread, taco chips, caramels, popcorn, licorice, taffy, suckers, hard candies or mints, and nuts for the duration of your treatment.

What about drinks?

Tap water and milk are your best choices for drinks while braces are on. Beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine can stain teeth. Try to avoid these, or keep them to a minimum. Avoid regular and diet soft drinks when wearing braces. These drinks include soda pop, sports drinks/energy drinks, flavored bubbly waters, and fruit drinks (juices, punch). These drinks contain acids and/or sugars that dissolve tooth enamel and can lead to cavities. Be sure to brush right away after drinking a soft drink. If brushing is not possible, rinse thoroughly with water.

What can you eat with aligners?

A healthy diet supports the body as it undergoes the biological changes that occur during orthodontic treatment. You are encouraged to enjoy a variety of healthful foods during orthodontic treatment. Just be sure to take your aligners out before you eat, and before you put them back in, clean your teeth thoroughly.

What can’t you eat?

Nothing is off-limits. Just be conscious of the need to take out aligners to eat, and to clean your teeth before putting your aligners back in.

What about drinks?

Tap water is the only beverage that is safe to drink when your aligners are in. When wearing your aligners, avoid everything except tap water. You can remove your aligners to drink anything other than tap water. You’ll need to brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in. Except for tap water, remove aligners when drinking. After drinking, brush right away before putting your aligners back in.

Are there orthodontic emergencies?

Occasionally things happen to braces or aligners during orthodontic treatment. They may require a call or an unforeseen visit to the orthodontist – what your orthodontist will consider an “emergency visit.”

Will we have to see the orthodontist?

Whether you will need to be seen by the orthodontist will depend on what has happened to your appliance. Contact your orthodontist’s office to explain the problem and determine if you need to be seen.

When does the orthodontist need to know something that has happened?

If you notice a bracket is loose or if a wire has worked itself out of place, or if there is unusual discomfort, notify your orthodontist.

Are there things I can do at home to treat discomfort?

Keep supplies on hand to address possible situations. Here are six suggestions:

  • Orthodontic wax.
  • Dental floss.
  • Tweezers.
  • Interproximal brushes.
  • Topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel).
  • Over the counter pain relievers (such as one taken for a headache).

A warm salt water rinse can be soothing, as well (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. warm water).

Can sports be played during orthodontic treatment?

Yes. But talk to your orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to wear.

Resources:

cielodental.com

aaoinfo.org

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment

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