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Braces/orthodontic treatment

orthodontic bracesinvisible braces Dental braces (also known as orthodontic braces, or simply braces) are devices used in dentistry that align and straighten teeth. Conventionally metal braces were being used since long time but recently newer techniques have been developed. Tooth color or ceramic braces are equally efficient but more esthetic due to color match. Braces can also be placed on inside surface (lingual) of tooth, thus known as lingual or hidden braces. Different type of braces are used for the purpose. Though slightly uncomfortable for the tongue initially, these are completely invisible for others. Braces have two parts :-  
  • Brackets- they are attached to each tooth.
  • Arch wire- a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket.
HOW BRACES WORK :- The application of braces moves the teeth as a result of force and pressure on the teeth.This application of slow,continous and guided force onto the teeth helps loosen the tooth from its original place and then shifts to a new position. A tooth will usually move by about a millimeter per month during orthodontic movement but there is high individual variability.Orthodontic mechanics can vary in efficiency which partly exlpains the wide range of response to orthodontic/braces treatment. TYPES OF BRACES:- 1) Traditional metal wired braces are stainless steel,sometimes in combination with titanium and are the most widely used. 2) CERAMIC /CLEAR BRACES:-They serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending im more with the natural colour of the teeth and having a less conspicuous or hidden appearance.Typically,these brackets are made of ceramic or plastic materials and function in a similar manner to traditional metal brackets. 3) HIDDEN/LINGUAL BRACES:-These are custom made fixed braces,bonded to the back of the teeth,making them invisible to other people. Hence,lingual braces are a cosmetic alternative to those who do not wish the braces to be visible. PROCEDURE FOR GETTING BRACES The first step is to determine whether braces are suitable for the patient.If braces are appropriate,an appointment is set up where X-rays,models and impressions are made.The records are then analysed to determine the problems and the course of action. Typical treatment time varies from 6 months to two and a half years depending on the complexity and type of problems.Orthognathic surgery may be required in extreme cases. Teeth to be braced will have an adhesive applied to help the cement bond to the surface of the tooth. A metal wire will be threaded in between the brackets and affixed with elastic or metal ligatures. Wires are bent,shaped and lightened frequently to achieve the desired results. POST TREATMENT PROCEDURES In order to avoid the teeth moving back to theit original position,retainers may be worn once the treatemnt with braces is complete. COMPLICATIONS AND RISKS:- 1) Plaque forms easily when food is retained in and around the braces. It is important to maintain oral hygiene by brushing and flossing thoroughly when wearing braces to prevent tooth decay. Patients with gum/periodontal disease must obtain periodontal treatment before getting braces. 2) Mouth sores may be triggered by irritation from components of the braces. 3) Braces can also be damaged if proper care is not taken. It is important to wear a mouthguard to prevent breakage and/or mouth injury while playing sports. Certain sticky or hard foods such as toffees,raw vegetables,hard nuts etc. should be avoided because they can damage braces.Frequent damage to the braces can prolong treatment. 4) In the course of the treatment, orthodontic brackets may pop off due to the forces involved or due to cement weakening over time. The orthodontist should be contacted immediately for advise if this occurs. In most cases,the bracket will be replaced. EXTRACTIONS IN ORTHODONTICS In patients where crowding of teeth is severe,the dentist might consider taking a few teeth out to make space for other teeth.Where extractions are indicated,usually first premolars are extracted but ther are reasons for extracting teeth elsewhere in the arch.The dentist will discuss the probable options with you.