Dental Information on Braces & Orthodontic Treatment


The following dental information pages answers many questions that you may have on braces and orthodontic treatment. Orthodontist is a dental specialist who specializes in treatment using braces.

What are the different kinds of braces?

Braces have evolved over the years. The modern day braces are smaller and have contours that are more comfortable for the tissues Some braces move teeth while certain other appliances are used to mold the jaws during the growing period

The most common type of orthodontic braces is the metallic type. They are steely in appearance and are used extensively. However if you are bothered of the looks the orthodontist would fix for you ceramic braces or plastic braces that are tooth colored and therefore not noticeable. These of course are more expensive and you have to shell out some more money. If you are young at heart and want to show off your braces then you should have the colored or fluorescent braces. Gold braces are also available for the classy who want nothing but the best.

Steps in treatment

It takes several appointments before the orthodontist places the braces. In the very first appointment the orthodontist gets familiar with you and asks a few questions to assess what your problem is. This is done by interactive questioning or by giving you a history form that you have to fill up. The history goes a long way in the final diagnosis. Once the history is taken the orthodontist examines you and tries to find out whether you require braces. He looks at your face and also into your mouth to diagnose your problem and arrive at a tentative plan of action called the tentative treatment plan.

The next appointment is often a few days later when a number of records are made. It includes

Impressions -Impressions of the mouth are taken with a paste to make a model of your teeth. This helps the dentist to visualize your bite from all angles. The impression is made of both your upper and the lower teeth.

Panaromic X rays -They are special X rays that are used to see the inside of your jaws, teeth and the jaw joints. This is taken in a machine where you stand still and an X ray machine goes around you. These X rays are highly informative for your dentist and help him in the overall treatment planning.

Cephalometric X ray- In simple words this is an X ray that tells your dentist about how your jaws are growing.

Photographs -Most orthodontists take pictures of yourself and your bite before starting treatment. These pictures are taken from different angles and serve the dentist in keeping track of how the effects of the treatment are unfolding.

Once the records are made the orthodontist arrives at a final diagnosis and treatment plan. He would discuss the plan with you and advice you regarding his fees. You would then be scheduled for fixing of the braces.

How much do braces cost?

Well braces are expensive. But then the gains are highly rewarding. The price of the braces differs from one country to another. You should therefore consult your dentist. In the US on an average it costs 2000 to 10,000$.

Does the orthodontist remove teeth as part of the treatment?

In case the teeth are too crowded or they are too far in front the orthodontist would advice you to remove some teeth. This depends from case to case and is decided after the final diagnosis once all the records are made. It is not uncommon for the orthodontist to advice you to remove 2 or even 4 teeth. The teeth most often removed are the premolars that are present at the sides of the mouth.

What are the parts of the braces?

The braces or the orthodontic appliance as it is called has a number of components.
1. Bands They are stainless steel tubes that are made to fit on the last tooth called the molar. They have tubes fitted on them called molar tubes.
2. Brackets The rest of the teeth have small brackets that help in holding the wire.
3. Wire The wire fits into the bracket and brings about the desired tooth movement. The wires are available in different sizes and shape and are often changed a number of times during the treatment.
4. Ligating rings They are small plastic rings that encircle the bracket and hold the wire against the brackets. These rings come in a number of colors. You can tell your orthodontist the color you would like to have. In case you don't want to get noticed then he would put transparent or white rings for you.

Fixing of the braces

On the day the braces are to be fixed the dentist or his assistant cleans the teeth and polishes them so that all surface deposits are removed from the teeth, enabling fixation of the brackest on the teeth. The next step involves the placement of bands on the back teeth. The bands come in various sizes. The orthodontist selects the size that would fit your tooth and cements it around them. The next step is the fixation of the brackets on the other teeth. This is called bonding. Before the fixation is done the orthodontist or his assistant slides a cheek retractor between your lips and the teeth to keep the lips away from the teeth. He would also place cotton rolls and a suction device to remove the accumulating saliva. This is done because the teeth have to be dry and devoid of any surface wetness during the fixation of brackets. Next the teeth are etched using acid solution or gel so that small amount of surface roughness is created to help in adherence of the brackets. The brackets are fixed on to the teeth by using a special adhesive that is applied on the under surface of the bracket.

Does it hurt when the braces are being fixed?

It does not hurt when the braces are being fixed. The soreness and pain start after a few hours. You can ask the dentist to prescribe a pain reliever for you like aspirin. You can use wax over areas of the braces that hurt the lips or cheeks. Sometimes the wire starts piercing the cheeks from the end of the braces after a few days or weeks of treatment. This is because the teeth have already started moving. So you can go to the orthodontist and have the wire trimmed.

Dental Information on Braces & Orthodontic Treatment

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Metal BracesCeramic Braces

Parts of braces

Colored Ligating rings Colored Ligating rings

Jasper Jumper- Braces that mold the jaws during the growing periodHerbst Appliance - Braces that mold the jaws during the growing period