Many of us have crowded teeth that tend to overlap each other and yet others struggle with teeth that aren’t perfectly aligned. While misaligned or overlapping frontal teeth ruin the best of smiles and hurt confidence levels, they are also quite difficult to care for. Similarly not all of us have a perfect bite. Our jaws may tend to overlap causing an over or under bite and this condition is known as malocclusion. Braces have been the most common and definitely effective treatment option to remedy problems associated with dental structure.
The use of Braces in present times is no longer an embarrassment as it has become quite popular among people of across age groups looking to improve their smiles! However, there are quite a few things to consider when you opt for Braces, either for yourself or your kids.
Prominently visible gleaming metallic braces are no longer your only option. There are a host of choices when it comes to braces. While metallic brackets linked by metal wire and secured by colorful rubber bands are still prevalent, clear ceramic brackets, or lingual-braces that are fitted behind the teeth are a couple of other options you may actually consider.
Metal braces are relatively less expensive and sturdier but not very appealing to look at, while those with ceramic brackets look a tad better but are fragile and require better care.
Lingual braces placed behind teeth are ideal if you are worried about braces being visible, but you’ll need to brush and floss effectively as you too will not be able to clearly see food residue if any!
Invisalign® true to its name is a transparent aligner that is invisible to the eye. There are no brackets or wires to hold it in place. It fits neatly on teeth and can be removed and cleaned. Diet restrictions do not apply and regular brushing and flossing too gets simpler. Given its benefits, clear aligners are costly.
It is important to select a suitable type of braces in consultation with your dentist.
Pain and Discomfort
Getting Braces fitted on teeth has its own share of uneasiness and pain. But do not let that overshadow the joy of having a neat row of sparkling teeth, as the discomfort eventually eases out as you get used to the fixtures. It takes roughly about a couple of hours at the dentist’s place to get the Braces fixed and is usually advisable to take the rest of the day off.
Once the fixture is in place, additional tweaks and readjustments may be necessary as the teeth get moved to their right spots. It is important to note that regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist are required until the intended results are achieved.
Basic Dental Care
Caring for teeth is definitely going to be become more challenging, as more food particles will get lodged in the fixtures. You’ll need to patiently clean the teeth and the fixtures, ideally after every meal. Special kits are available to clean the Braces as well. Brushing and flossing teeth regularly ensures proper dental hygiene, more so if you are planning on getting braces. Make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after every snack to prevent crumbs from sticking to the fixtures till the next time you brush or floss!
While there is nothing you can really do to prevent food residue from sticking to your braces, keeping a tab on sticky or extra-chewy foods will spare you some effort in flossing it off.
Snacking on popcorn, chips, hard or chunky pieces of meat, fruit and vegetables must be limited. Small pieces of fruits/veggies are fine. Using front tooth to bite into food (full fruits such as pear or apple, subs, burgers or sandwiches) must be avoided.
Thick nutritious milk shakes and protein rich smoothies tend to minimize the craving for junk food and satisfy hunger pangs as well without affecting the braces or teeth much. All you need to do simply rinse off the sugary residue after every drink!
Wearing conventional (over-the-teeth) braces is bound to affect the way you look and smile. Remember that there is an external fixture over the surface of your teeth and this will cause your lips to be more prominent.
Common Side Effects
• Irritation and discomfort are quite common when you opt for the regular braces.
•You will experience some pain during the initial weeks. Medications or Gels prescribed by your dentist will help tide over the pain.
• It is also normal for the braces to loosen over time, brushing, eating hard substances or even movement of teeth, can disturb the setting and needs to be fixed in place by your dentist.
• The metal brackets may also cause sores or cuts on the inner side of your lips and need a soothing balm or wax to be applied to minimize the discomfort.
• Your speech will be slightly affected initially but tends to improve as you get used to the new braces. Wearing braces may cause a lisp which will fade with time.
Braces are costly and must be considered more of an investment than a financial drain as it helps rectify dental problems, enhancing the appearance and function of the affected areas while also boosting the self-confidence of an individual. The clear or transparent braces are pricier as they are specially designed for people who are particular about their physical appearance and can afford the expense.
Opting for braces could prove a boon for teenagers and young adults as they definitely wish to look good and sport a precious smile as well. Considering the discomfort and the costs, it is important that they spend time on systematic and thorough dental care and hygiene to ensure that the expense and pain pay offwell. Once the braces are off, it is important to use a retainer to maintain the well-aligned teeth in position.