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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.