Bracing Yourself for Braces

As an adult, you realise how beneficial these brackets and wires are, but when you are a child that has just been informed you will need to have them fitted, the prospect of braces can be a lot more daunting. The ideal age for having them fitted is between 10 and 14, when the adult teeth have come through, but the jaw and areas involved are still growing. However, this, as any parent of teenagers will know, is already a difficult enough period without throwing the aesthetics of dental work into the mix. Being prepared for what this kind of orthodontics will entail can arm you with sufficient knowledge to make this process easier for you and your child.

Why are they needed?

Braces can be useful in all sorts of different situations and not just as a remedy to crooked teeth. This treatment can be recommended for patients with overbites, underbites, jaw joint conditions, and to realign jaws when they are incorrectly positioned. As a child’s jaw and teeth develop, this is when problems can become noticeable and orthodontal treatment recommended, but adults can also benefit from corrective treatment if they have been in an accident or if they wish to realign teeth that have remained crooked throughout their lives. Adults that are considering this type of treatment for cosmetic reasons would benefit from speaking with their dentist about cosmetic dentistry options available including short term orthodontics.

Do they hurt?

The first fitting can indeed be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. However, it is recommended that some sort of over the counter pain relief is taken prior to a brace being fittedas after treatment the patient may experience a degree of pain. Some people may think they oughtto receive an anaesthetic to have braces fitted but is very unusual for a patient to be completely sedated, especially as orthodontal treatments and dentistry as a whole have become so efficient in recent years. Particularly nervous patients can be offered a form of sedation to calm them, but again, this is rarely required and will depend on the individual circumstances of the patient.

What happens during the fitting?

For the majority of fittings, the entire fitting process takes between 1 to 2 hours. It will be an orthodontist rather than a dentist that will fit them. The first step is for the orthodontist to clean and dry the teeth before attaching the small ceramic or metal brackets to the teeth with a binding agent. The archwire will be threaded through the brackets before being secured with elastic bands.

What happens next?

It is essential that you or your child follow the advice given by your orthodontist with regards to what foods you can eat and how to ensure you continue to have good oral hygiene. Your dental hygienist will most likely have advised you prior to treatment about how best to look after your teeth and they could also advise that you attend for regular appointments with them every three months to ensure your teeth and mouth are looking healthy. The follow up appointments with the orthodontist will take place every 4 to 6 weeks and may involve replacement of bands, adjustment of wires, and checking of progress and dental health. In most cases a brace will be worn for 1 to 3 years.