An orthodontist refers a patient to undergo an initial exam, which includes a discussion about their dental history, and X-rays of the teeth and mouth. The consultation helps determine if the patient needs braces. If so, the doctor will recommend the best treatment and the time it will take. Sometimes an orthodontist might feel another treatment option is more appropriate to the individual’s needs and will correct the problem.
A cheek retractor is used when dental braces are put in to protect the teeth from drying out. To ensure proper bonding, the teeth are first polished. Then they are dried.
To prepare the brackets for bonding, a conditioner is applied to the front surfaces of the teeth. It lasts for about 30 seconds. To enhance bonding, the adhesive primer is applied to the teeth.
The brackets are covered with cement, which is then placed in the correct positions on the teeth. After the brackets have been firmly in place, any excess cement must be removed and the brackets will be hardened with a high intensity light. The retractor is then removed and the dental arch wires placed.
The whole process of attaching brackets and placing arch wires can take between 10-20 minutes. It is usually determined by how long it takes to correctly position the components in order to treat the individual’s condition.
Braces can cause tightness when they are first fitted and later adjusted. This usually lasts for about four to six hours. Arch wires are used to position the teeth. This causes soreness. This pain can be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC), pain relief medications. The soreness should subside within three to five working days.
Regular adjustments are required once braces have been in place. The elastic ties that hold the wires in place will become weaker over time. The wires will not be able to create the pressure necessary for correcting the dental problems that require treatment if they aren’t adjusted.
Your orthodontist can also evaluate your progress and assess the movement of your teeth during adjustment appointments. This allows your orthodontist to make recommendations that could improve the outcome of your treatment plan.
The process of tooth movement takes at least three weeks. This means that there are many appointments every three to ten weeks. The newer wires are more flexible and may require adjustments less often.
The colored elastic ties that hold the braces in place are removed during adjustment appointments. You can brush your teeth and floss thoroughly after the arch wires are removed. Your orthodontist will review your treatment progress and recommend wires and bands. Your orthodontist may also discuss other treatment options. To continue moving the teeth, new wires and elastics will be placed. Then treatment can begin.
You will feel tightness after your braces have been adjusted. This can progress to soreness for up to four to six hours. The replacement wires that tighten the teeth into their proper positions are what causes this soreness. OTC pain relief is available to relieve the pain. This pain is similar to when your braces were originally placed.
Living with Dental Braces
Braces wearers need to be careful about their oral hygiene. It is important to brush your teeth at least three times per day. Inadequate brushing can cause enamel damage. Many dentists recommend that you keep a toothbrush with you at all times, so you can brush your teeth after work or school.
For better oral hygiene, a water pik and interdental brushes should be used. To maintain tooth structure and enamel, fluoride mouth rinses should be used.
Orthodontists recommend avoiding sticky foods as they can stick under braces and cause detachment. Avoid hard foods and candy as they can cause damage to the braces and enamel.
To avoid injury, food such as apples must be cut into small pieces. Avoid high-sugar and acid foods as they can make it more difficult to maintain your teeth and cause enamel damage.
Your braces will be removed when your orthodontist has determined that your treatment is complete. This is a quick and painless procedure. Your teeth and the brackets are safely and gently removed. The adhesive bond is released when the brackets’ bases are squeezed. To protect the enamel and tooth structure, the adhesive can be left on the teeth during this step.
After all brackets have been removed, you can remove any remaining bonding cement using a dental handpiece. The hand piece is similar to one used to repair a cavity. However, pain is minimal as no tooth structure is being damaged. Your gums will be slightly reddened after bonding cement has been removed. This should resolve in a few days.
Recovery and Aftercare
Retainer placement is scheduled approximately one to two weeks after the braces are removed. Retainers can sometimes be made and placed at the braces removal appointment.
Retainers, which are removable orthodontic appliances that are required during the “retention phase” of orthodontic treatment, are removable. The teeth are still relatively unstable during this stage and must be kept in order to complete treatment.
Your mouth is the only place where this retainer can be used. The retainer should be worn full-time for the first six months after the removal of braces. The retainer can be worn only at night after this period. However, this is at the discretion of the orthodontist.
After your braces have been removed, your dentist should perform a cleaning. While your orthodontist can clean the adhesive from your teeth and the braces area, it is important that you have an extensive oral cleaning.
Teeth whitening may also be an option, as there might be visible differences in the color of the enamel and where the brackets were attached. You can whiten your teeth using braces in place with gels and tooth pastes. However, you should wait until the braces are removed to avoid any color mismatches or damage to the orthodontic components.