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Orthodontic Treatment

What are dental braces?

Dental braces are also known as braces and orthodontic braces. There are different types of braces that are used in orthodontics which help to position and straighten the teeth so that the bite of a person is aligned and which also benefits dental or oral health.

What are the indications that show that a person needs dental braces or orthodontic treatment?

There are many types of dental misalignments that an orthodontist can correct such as open bite where the front teeth does not align with the teeth on the lower part of the jaw, under bite where the lower teeth jut out beyond the upper teeth and crowding of teeth. Some of the other dental misalignments are teeth that are spaced or have gaps in between, teeth that protrude or overbite, lateral incisors that are missing, cross bites, malocclusions and deep bites. Orthodontists also use braces for structural and cosmetic purposes besides being used to shape the teeth and jaws and widen the jaws or the palate.

When would one need orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment improves any discrepancies in the position of the jaw or its size, besides the fact that a good and regular set of teeth helps in a person looking good, feeling good, for audible and coherent speech with the most important point of chewing food in a proper manner. There are many dental irregularities that an orthodontist can correct to improve facial appearance such as teeth that project outwards, crowded teeth and lips that do not close in a normal way. Orthodontic treatment is also necessary when the lower and upper jaws are not properly aligned with the result that grinding of food is inadequate and with pressure on the other teeth there would be damage to the teeth, loss of teeth, wearing out of enamel and weakening of gums. Without orthodontic treatment, teeth that are irregular can cause problems in brushing resulting in gum problems and cavities that lead to teeth being affected and which eventually fall out. When there are gaps especially in the front teeth, it can cause speech problems. Orthodontic treatment helps in improving the condition and helping the patient to talk normally.

When is it necessary for a child to have an orthodontic consultation?

Normally a child can be taken to visit an orthodontist by the age of six. In case there is a jaw or a dental problem, this can be corrected or a periodic check up is necessary once in six months. If the lower jaw has grown beyond the necessary limit, the orthodontist would recommend immediate correction or if the teeth have irregularities, then an orthodontic consultation is a must along with correction of the impairment/s which is important when a child is growing rather than attending to the problem later.

Are there age limits for treatment of orthodontic problems?

There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment and it would depend on the condition of the person's gums, bone and teeth.

What is the procedure for orthodontic treatment?

At examination of the patient's oral cavity is done on the day of the first consultation to check the function and condition of the face, jaws and teeth. The medical history of the patient is then noted and added to his/her records. The orthodontist explains the procedure of the treatment to the patient and the family with models, photographs and computer animations. X-rays are taken for diagnosis and for planning the appropriate treatment. The second appointment would entail discussion on the fee structure, the time duration and examination of the X-rays. If the patient and his/her family are in agreement, then the appointments would be made for the treatment.

What is the time duration for orthodontic treatment?

The orthodontic treatment would vary depending on the procedure required for the jaws or the teeth or both. With the advance of technology and years of experience, the orthodontist would use the necessary procedures such as fixed braces which would require a time period of 1-2 years where all the permanent teeth have grown with very little discrepancy of the jaw. It takes three to four years to correct jaw discrepancies in children who are growing. The treatment for the correction of the jaw takes place in two phases. During the first phase, appliances for modified growth would be used by the orthodontist and the second phase would involve application of fixed braces to place the teeth in the right positions.

What are the appliances that are used in orthodontic treatment?

There are different kinds of appliances used in orthodontic procedures depending on the condition of the teeth and jaw. If the lower jaw is not in alignment with the upper jaw, then a twin block, activator and bionator would be given. If growth modifying is needed then a growth modification appliance is offered, braces are fixed appliances with wires, tubes, brackets, power chains, arch wires, elastic modules, ligature wires, elastics which are also used. The brackets are made of clear or tooth-coloured material. Patients with gaps and cross bites are given removable appliances with fixed appliances as a more popular choice.

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