Looking good is really important in teenage years as the self esteem and confidence
is developing at this age.It is very important for an adolescent to feel good about
Never underestimate the value of a beautiful smile. Your smile is one of the most
important reflections of your individual personality. It allows you to assert emotions
of happiness and joy. It communicates affection and expresses your cheerful feelings.
Unfortunately there are many people who, because of crooked teeth or misaligned
jaws, face a lifetime of feeling unattractive, suppressing the natural urge to smile.
Crowded or crooked teeth are also difficult to clean and maintain. This may contribute
to conditions that cause tooth decay, gum disease and eventual tooth loss. These
problems can be avoided by straightening the teeth through orthodontic treatment.
Braces can help improve your smile and make your teeth straighter. They can also
improve your dental health and overall health because untreated orthodontic problems
can make it hard to bite and chew and can interfere with eating. If you have a bad
bite, you may also be prone to cavities or gum disease because it may be hard to
clean your teeth. Braces come in many different styles, including tooth-colored
plastic braces or traditional metal braces that come in a variety of colors.
Removable clear retainers can sometimes be used. Talk to your dentist to see what
the best choice is for you.
Orthodontics is a specialist form of dentistry, which aims to straighten the teeth
to produce a healthier bite. Although more and more adults are having braces, the
majority of patients are in their teens.
Treatment usually lasts around 18 months, although it will depend on the type of
brace fitted and how much treatment is needed. Your orthodontist will explain your
course of treatment to you and what you will need to do to keep your brace clean.
Although you will have regular check- ups with your orthodontist, it will be up
to you to look after your brace on a day-to-day basis.
Fixed braces are often referred to as 'train track' braces. The
orthodontist attaches metal or tooth- coloured brackets - small blocks - to the
teeth and then runs a special wire over the brackets to pull the teeth into the
right position. Because the brackets are stuck to the teeth, you won't be able to
take the brace off during your treatment.
When the brace is first fitted, it may feel strange and possibly uncomfortable.
Because the brackets are raised, they may rub against the inside of your lips or
cheeks. Your orthodontist will give you some special wax to prevent this rubbing
which should make it more comfortable. You may also find that, for the first few
days, your jaw aches because of the pressure of the brace. If this is the case,
you may find a painkiller helps - the sort of thing you might take for a headache
will be fine. If the discomfort lasts longer than a few days, though, you may wish
to go back to your orthodontist, who can then readjust the brace. Although you'll
still be able to eat most of the foods you were eating before, you will need to
take care not to damage your brace.
There are some foods that you'll need to cut out altogether though:
- Chewy sweets, like marshmallows and Turkish Delight
- Hard foods, like crusty bread
- With other foods, like apples, you might need to cut them up, but you'll still
be able to eat them.
Because your brace provides food with more places to hide, you'll need to be extra
careful with your hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride
toothpaste is essential, and you may also find using a fluoride mouthwash last thing
at night is helpful to protect your teeth while you sleep. If you don't look after
your teeth while you're wearing your brace, they may become permanently stained.
As well as the brace itself, your orthodontist may attach elastic bands to it to
increase the pressure on certain teeth.
Some brace wearers customize their braces with colored elastics.
Once the brace is taken off, you will need to wear a retainer brace, which is removable.
Once your fixed braces have been removed, you will need to wear a retainer to make
sure the teeth don't move back to their original position. You'll probably need
to wear the retainer for around six months - all the time at first, and then probably
just at night. Your orthodontist will tell you when you can make this change - don't
be tempted to reduce your wear of the retainer yourself, as this could have an impact
on your treatment.
IDA recommends that brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and
keeping your diet healthy is important whether you wear a retainer or not, but you
should be especially aware of cutting down on sugary snacks and fizzy drinks, as
these may case more damage to your teeth while you are wearing your retainer. You
should take your retainer off when you brush your teeth but make sure you give it
a clean too to get rid of any old food. If you are using your toothbrush, though,
do be careful not to damage the retainer.