Your Questions Answered

When it comes to having orthodontic treatment it’s natural to have a few questions. Our team at Orthoclinic will be happy to answer any questions you have at your initial consultation and throughout the duration of your treatment but you may find some answers here for starters.

Q) How do braces straighten crooked teeth?

A) Braces use constant, gentle pressure, which, over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Your braces are at work every moment of your orthodontic treatment. The two main components of your braces are: the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them. The bracket is a piece of shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. The archwire is bent to reflect your “ideal” bite. In other words, it reflects the way we want you to look after treatment.

The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind.

Attached to your braces are elastics (rubber bands) on occasion, which exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day.

Q) What are separators (spacers)?

A) Separators are tiny blue rubber bands placed between the teeth to make room to fit molar bands needed for some appliances.

Q) What is my Banding or Bonding appointment?

A) This is the appointment everyone is excited about – the day the braces go on. Each brace will be placed in the correct position by Dr Ogunro or Dr Banai.

Q) What is it like having a brace fitted?

A) A removable brace is fitted very easily by clipping it onto several teeth. There is no discomfort involved. Fixed braces are simply “glued” onto the teeth. There is no need for an anaesthetic injection.

Q) Will it hurt?

A) Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in miniature braces and the highest quality of orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

Q) What happens after the brace is fitted?

A) Your brace has to be adjusted regularly. Removable braces and fixed braces are adjusted every 4 to 8 weeks.

Q) How long will the treatment take?

A) This depends on how much work there is to do. Fixed brace treatment can take between 12 and 24 months, but longer if the problem is particularly severe. If braces are broken frequently this can add a lot of time to the course of your treatment.

Q) How do I look after my teeth while wearing braces?

A) After the brace has been fitted the nurse or orthodontist will provide verbal and written instructions about your brace and its maintenance. At the practice we have products for sale that we recommend for keeping your braces clean. We also recommend you maintain your usual check up with your dentist.

Q) Do braces mark my teeth?

A) The brace will not mark your teeth. If dental plaque is allowed to become thick around the brace the plaque itself may damage your teeth. We will give you instructions on the use of special brushes.

A daily fluoride mouth rinse can be used to harden areas that are very difficult to clean. Care must be taken to choose an alcohol-free, pH-balanced rinse. Certain foods and drinks may also lead to damage. You should avoid drinking lots of fizzy drinks and keep in-between-meal snacks to a minimum.

Q) What types of braces are there?

A) Fixed braces – these are usually bonded to the tooth surface. They are available in gold, silver and tooth coloured.

Lingual fixed braces – Lingual braces are mounted behind a patient’s teeth, used for selected cases.

Invisalign – Invisalign is used for selected adult cases and for non-adults who are excellent in managing their oral hygiene.

Removable – Patients can take this type of brace out but it is only used for selected cases.

Q) What age should an orthodontist see my child?

A) It is recommended that your child be evaluated by age 7. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.

Q) Can you be too old for braces?

A) No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bone which support your teeth. About 25% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still growing!

Q) Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

A) Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, aesthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

Q) Why do I need retainers?

A) It is important to realise that once a brace is removed the teeth can drift back towards their original positions. They must, therefore, be held in their new positions for a long time with retainer braces until they have settled. Retainers are either removable appliances or thin wires stuck onto the tongue side of the teeth.

Q) What foods do I avoid during treatment?

A) Very crunchy and sticky foods can break your brace. Toffee and chewing gum must be avoided. Really enjoyable hard foods can be chopped up and chewed gently!