Braces - Fixed Appliance
Before placing braces on your teeth you will need a check-up for decay or gum problems. Do visit your dentist or the School Dental Clinic regularly, even when you are on braces.
Braces can be fixed or removable.
Fixed braces consist of brackets and bands bonded or cemented to your teeth (to get a hold of them) and very thin metal wires that gently push your teeth into their right positions.
The wire is tied into the brackets with a steel ligature or a coloured plastic ring. Some brackets have clips to hold the wires and no ties are needed. Brackets can be made of metal or tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic. Ordinary fixed braces are bonded to the front of your teeth. There are also braces that can be bonded on the back of your teeth (lingual braces).
Removable braces are sometimes used when you are still growing or if you still have baby teeth left. Functional removable braces are used to change jaw growth to normalise your bite.
Steps in Fixed Braces Treatment
X-rays, photos and impressions for plaster study models of your teeth are taken. Your orthodontist will plan your treatment using these records. Very often, permanent teeth are removed when they are crowded and there is not enough space in the jaws for all of them. The extractions are done just before or just after the fitting of your braces.
Your orthodontist will explain the treatment plan and the braces suitable for your condition. Before braces are fitted, separators (small plastic ‘doughnuts’) are placed between your molars for a week to create spaces for the molar bands.
Third And Fourth Visit:
Bands are cemented and brackets are bonded to the front of your teeth.
(Every 4 to 8 weeks) Adjustments are made to the braces by way of wire-changes, adding springs, elastics or other accessories.
NOTE: Accessories are necessary to make your braces work. Elastics are often used to get your upper and lower teeth to bite together properly. Facemasks, headgear or biteplates are sometimes used with fixed braces. It is very important to use all accessories exactly as you have been told, if not, progress of the treatment stops and may in some cases, reverse.
When treatment is completed:
Your fixed braces will be removed at a debanding appointment, followed by removal of cement and the polishing of your teeth. Moulds of your teeth in their new positions are taken to make retainers. After your braces are removed, you will need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions for the next few years.
How long does treatment take?
The normal period of treatment with fixed braces is two to three years. You will need to make time every 4 - 8 weeks to visit your orthodontist regularly if you wish your treatment to finish well and on time.
How will braces affect my daily life?
With regular fixed braces, speech is normally not affected at all. However, if your condition requires a palatal expander appliance to be fitted at the roof of your mouth, this may interfere with your speech. If you have lingual braces, you will take some time to learn to speak properly with the braces.
Playing musical instruments:
If you play a musical instrument with a mouthpiece, it will take you one to two weeks before you become as skilful as before.
Brushing with braces:
With braces on, your teeth are more difficult to clean. Do not leave food on your braces. Brushing your teeth properly after every snack and meal will reduce the risk of decay and gum disease. In addition, five minutes of brushing is needed every morning and night. Have your toothbrush available to brush after meals as well as at your orthodontic visits. You can use disclosing solution to check if your teeth are clean. You will need to replace your toothbrush more often as it will wear out faster.
Eating and diet restrictions:
Eating hard food or biting on large pieces of food may dislodge the brackets or bands and damage the wires. Avoid eating nuts and biting on nails or pencils. Do cut hard fruits into small and thin pieces before eating them. Avoid food and drinks with high sugar content such as sweets and soft drinks.
Most people have fillings of one sort or another but today, because we are much more conscious of our smile, we can choose a natural looking alternative - the composite or tooth-coloured filling.
A composite resin is a tooth-coloured plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide) first introduced in the 1960s. Originally only used for front teeth because of their softer nature, modern improvements to their composition make them generically suitable today.
Composite fillings are more difficult to place than silver fillings so may take your dentist 15-20 minutes longer to complete and because they are considered to be a cosmetic treatment, they are not available on the NHS and must be paid for.
The main advantage of composite fillings is their aesthetic appeal. The main disadvantage is their life expectancy. White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings but there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of your composite filling can depend on the depth of cavity and its position in the mouth; your dentist is best positioned to advise you.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front side of teeth to improve the overall appearance of teeth. They are made of either thin plastic resin or porcelain and can be placed to:
correct poorly formed or mildly mal-positioned teeth
close gaps between teeth
mask internal stains
restore partially broken-down teeth
Tooth preparation is minimal and confined to the enamel structure. The veneer is bonded to the tooth structure with tooth-coloured resin cement. Several visits are necessary to complete treatment.
Patients should be aware that this is usually an irreversible process because it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell.
Here is how they work:
A veneer is a very thin, tooth-coloured piece of porcelain (like a false finger nail, but more durable) that is bonded on top of your own tooth.
Based on your needs, the shape and size of the veneers can be adjusted to make your teeth overall look longer and or closer together.
You can have just one veneer fitted or a whole set, known as a smile makeover.
Simple and quick solution to improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth.
Long-lasting smile enhancement.
Teeth whitening is a process where the tooth discolouration is 'whitened' to a lighter shade. It removes the staining agent through chemical means. It is a safe procedure when carried out under professional supervision. Treatment results usually depend on the severity of the discolouration. Both vital (i.e. live) and non-vital teeth (e.g. tooth with root removed) can be bleached and may take several visits to complete. It is not effective on dental restorations such as amalgam fillings, metal or porcelain crowns, etc.
Teeth can discolour for various reasons. The dentist will recommend the most ideal method based on your oral condition after an in-office examination to establish the cause and nature of your tooth discolouration, as well as provide you with more information on the various types of whitening procedures available, duration & frequency of treatment.
Here is how teeth whitening works:
You will be assessed for the type of staining your teeth have.
A custom tray is made to fit snugly over your teeth.
The teeth whitening process is activated by a bleaching agent, which is inserted into the custom tray that transfers it onto your teeth.
Effective solution for certain types of tooth discolouration and staining.
Safe treatment when delivered by a dental professional.
Cosmetically enhances the appearance of teeth.