ORTHODONTICS / BRACES

Tooth alignement is available from the age of 7years correcting crowding, misalignment as well as management of retained milk teeth due to the absence of adult teeth (hypodontia).

The process os straightening teeth is very attractive to patients of all ages. Orthodontics meaning 'normal teeth' may be done using several methods. The conventional methods are with removable or fixed braces www.forestadent.com. Other methods include lingual braces and/or aligners. Here are some of the frequently asked questions on getting braces:

Is the process of getting braces the same for adults as for children?

Basically yes. Teeth can be moved at any age so long as the gums and underlying bone structures are healthy, so there's no such thing as "too old" for braces. Braces are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth. There are now more kinds of braces than ever before. Ceramic or plastic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces with the advantage that these are tooth coloured. Lingual braces are the same as traditional braces except that these are placed on the inside of the teeth. Finally there are clear plastic aligners that are custom made and replaced every two weeks.

Today's fixed braces are more comfortable and less obtrusive than those of the past. They're smaller and the wires are less noticeable.

What are some pros and cons of getting braces as an adult?

Nowadays adults are much more conscious about how they look. Some buy designer clothes to stand out but what about their smile. Of course they also eant to have a great smile and the only way about it is to have braces. It is a costly affair that may take up to two years at times. Traditional metal braces work best but are not so aesthetic. Clear braces work fine but are not as adhesive to teeth and may come off at times with subsequent extra visit to replace them. Another option is to use aligners ( removable clear plastic aapliance ) that however have their limitations. Initial complaints from adults with recenlty fitted braces include mouth sores ( easily solved with dental wax and goes away within a few days ), difficulty in speech that again clears up within a few days as well as limitations in eating certain foods. Oral hygiene has to be meticulous.

Also retainers have to be worn for several months or sometimes years after the termination of the treatment to ensure stability of the new position of the teeth. Another consideration in adults is that bones have stopped growing so some structural changes, especially skeletal may at times require also surgical intervention. 

A number of experts and specialists assert that the benefits of braces far outweigh the disadvantages such as cost and a potential stigma.

On average, for how long do the braces have to be worn?

Simple straightening of the six front teeth may take as little as six months. Otherwise in more complicated cases, the entire process may take longer than for a child or adolescent. While the time it takes to straighten, teeth varies from person to person, on average, adults can expect to wear braces from 12 to 24 months.

Is the process of getting the braces painful?

Braces are the most commonly used orthodontics appliances. Fitting braces should not be painful. Typically, it takes one to two hours to place braces on the teeth without any anaesthetic. They are extremely versatile, able to move the teeth in a variety of directions at once and treat many teeth at the same time. These devices rely on the use of brackets cemented or bonded to the tooth surfaces.

Arch-wire are threaded through the brackets to direct the force being applied to the teeth. The arrangement of the wires can be customized to apply different pressures to individual teeth. Sometimes elastic bands or springs are attached to the arch-wire to boost the directional push.

Do patients experience any discomfort once the braces are fixed? 

For how long does this usually last?

Once fitted with braces, patients may elicit a certain degree of discomfort ranging from some aches and tenderness on biting due to the immediate movement of the teeth; this is to be expected and varies from one individual to another. This normally wears off in a few days and normal pain killers help. Every time the brace is adjusted may bring about some discomfort but this depends on the adjustments made.

What changes do the braces bring about?

There are basically four major advantages of having fixed braces to align teeth. Unless correcetd, misaligned or crooked tetth and mal-occlusion ( incorrect bite ) normally lead an accumulation of food build up.  As a result and unless there is a strict tooth cleaning regimen, there will be an increase in plaque ( soft film of bacteria ). Plaque is usually the main contributor to periodontal problems, gum disease and caries.

People with an irregular bite pattern often experience stress and impact on certain teeth; this eventually leads to premature dental problems. A case in point is protruding front teeth that are more susceptible to damage, especially in sports.

Over time, difficulty in bitting, eating or chewing food may result in digestion issues as well as elicit pain in the temporo-mandibular joint. Straight and well aligned tetth after braces help overcome or alleviate these issues. 

Most adults wonder if receiving orthodontic work can change the shape of their face. When teeth are shifted due to wearing braces , the facial bone structure can be affected; braces can correct overbites, underbites, crossbites and other malocclusion cases very subtly and the result is actually an improved appearance and symmetry. Foe patients who are dealing with teeth misalignment and have a protruding mouth or chin, wearing braces that are properly applied will produce noticeable effects on your jawline and facial profile. After the first year or so of wearing braces, not only you will have a straighter smile, you'll also notice that your jaw has realigned in proportion to the rest of your face.

Last but not the least is the impact and boost in overall confidence that patients experience after having their teeth straightened with braces.

Expectations from adults vary and their motivation is paramount, since the time factor is very important to obtain the desired result.

Why, do you think, are adult braces becoming more popular?

Advertising, television makeovers and celebrities with gleaming smiles have helped teeth become the newest frontier in the quest for youth and beauty.

Although childhood is the ideal time to make changes in the positioning of the teeth, more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment and coming away with excellent results. People live longer and I am seeing more adults of all ages interested in preserving their teeth or improving their smile.

People want to look good and feel good! Having a great smile is essential to a great feel good factor; it is also a special way to make yourself stand out.

My oldest patient undergoing ortho treatment is over sixty. She opted to have orthodontic treatment , rather than place an implant placed in the space of a missing tooth by aligning her otherwise crooked teeth. She is now wondering why she has never undergone orthodontic treatment to improve her smile at a much earlier age.

Is there still stigma toward people with braces?

Not any more. The stigma on orthodontics for adults appears to be gone. The implements are higher tech and less visible than before, and research suggests having straight teeth helps in social life.

Wearing braces has now almost reached the stage of a status symbol of personal self-improvement especially in young adults. These days, adults make up half of orthodontics patients hoping to finally get the perfect smile they've always dreamed about.

What does a patient have to do before, during and after the treatment?

Potential patients should be prepared for the fact that taking care of their teeth will be more difficult once they have braces on. Braces trap food which causes plaque accumulation, so it is very important to brush teeth after every meal, use a mouthwash and floss daily. This may seem tedious but is a 'sine qua non' to mantain one's oral health. The extra responsibility needed to care for braces properly is something that patients shoukd be prepared for. 

Post treatment and the braces gone, one must wear a retainer to help keep the teeth in their new positions, especially during the first year after the braces come off. This is because it takes about 9 months for the periodontal ligaments ( which hold the teeth in bone ) to "remember" their new positions. Otherwise teeth will shift! After the first year, many people wear their retainers at night, several nights per week, to ensure that their new smiles continue to look great.

Retainers may be fixed ( glued ) to the palatal or lingual aspect of the teeth, or else the removable type similar to aligners and are virtually invisible on one's teeth. Some dentists recommend the continued use of retainers.

Do braces affect one's lifestyle? How?

You will have to deal with other people's reactions to your new mouth. Your close friends, your partner, or other important people in your life know you have braces.

Your business associates or your fellow office mates don't. Sooner or later , you'll open your mouth and they'll react.

The best way to get through this, is to plan ahead. Always have a toothbrush handy. Visualize that important meeting. How do you want to handle it? What will you say? A little forethought will help you quickly get through many awkwards moments. Some men feel funny with braces, whereas women tend to feel unattractive. In other words, self-conscious! Some adults don't care what other people think. Braces may be a big deal because they are in your mouth and 24/7. But others barely notice. It is a unless they have been through it or wish to do themselves. Most adults are symptomatic but they realise that you are doing something positive to improve your well-being and appearance.

Are there any foods that patients have to avoid completely?

Most foods that are moderately soft can be eaten by patients who wear braces. Chewing gum, nuts or nougat are not advisable as are sandwiches, toasted bread or crusty Maltrese bread. Food has to be eaten carefully and sometimes broken into small pieces rather than bitten into.

Are there any health issues that could prevent an adult from getting braces?

Your medical and oral health is important. There are no medical contraindications other than medical conditions such as severe heart-valve disease,  bleeding disorders, leukemia, severe uncontrolled diabetes or a low bone density count.

Periodontal disease must be brought under control prior to any orthodontic treatment as this may aggravate the disease.

How much does the treatment cost, approximately?

The prices of treatment depend on your whereabouts in the world and the cost range of braces can vary greatly for each type. In Malta, prices tend to be lower than those in the UK, Italy and the rest of mainland Europe. Always depending on the type of brackets used, a basic treatment in one arch would set you back 1,000 to 1,500 euros, where as two arch orthodontic treatment would cost 2,300 to 3,000 euros inclusive of post treatment retainers.

So remember that when it comes to straightening teeth, there is no age cut-off. If a better smile is something you really want, schedule a consultation with your dentist or an orthodontist to discuss your treatment options. As the saying goes, you're only as old as you feel.

Braces - Gallery

Latest News

More

Press & Articles

More

TREATMENT IN MALTA

  • straumann
  • noble biocare
  • what clinic
  • zoom
  • noble guide
  • icod
  • dsd
  • vc