How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady, gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape by applying pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment typically occurs between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted; it often starts around the age of eleven and thirteen.
What are spacers/separators?
Separators are placed between the teeth to make room for the bands or braces. They may be a brass wire or a small elastic. Separators should remain between the teeth until the banding appointment. They feel like meat stuck in your teeth and can cause some soreness around your teeth for a few days.
Some tips on the spaces: Avoid sticky foods such as taffy, caramel, chewing gum, etc. These foods will stick to the separators and pull them out. If you should have some discomfort, take a Tylenol or Advil. Brush gently in the area where the separators have been placed. Avoid using toothpicks or floss where they will displace the separators.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for several days, especially when eating during those first few days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth. Tylenol can alleviate the discomfort, and can be taken right before your appointments to help lessen the discomfort. Wax will help your lips get used to the way braces feel.
Will braces interfere with playing sports and musical instruments?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in sports. Brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort while playing instruments, such as the flute.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Absolutely! You should maintain your regular check ups at least every six months to ensure that your teeth are free from cavities and your gums are healthy. In many cases, it is recommended to get more frequent cleanings while in braces to ensure the best oral health conditions.
If my child gets braces early, isn’t there a higher chance of the teeth getting crooked again?
Since all parts of our body (which include the tissue and bone anchoring the teeth) change over time, teeth will continue to move throughout your life. These changes can be subtle in some people and more dramatic in others, and that is why regardless of your age, Dr. Bui recommends wearing a retainer (hyperlink) after braces are off.
Dr. Bui offers several choices for retention, from removal to fixed retainers. Just like treatment options, there are many aesthetic retainer options are virtually invisible. Before your treatment is completed, we will discuss the best option for you.