Smile is the first thing that gets noticed in you. Pleasing smile not only improves your personality but it also builds tremendous amount of confidence in you and hence self-esteem. Whenever it comes to smile designing or getting your teeth straightened, orthodontist is the right person that should be consulted. Only s/he can decide if you require an orthodontic treatment or not. After performing some preliminary tests that include clinical examination, X-rays, photographs etc, an orthodontist can decide what type and for what duration the orthodontic treatment is needed to get the desired profile. But there are certain things to be kept in mind before going forward for braces treatment. So, today we will be throwing some light on the things to check before going forward for braces treatment, myths associated with orthodontic treatment and role of retainer in dentistry.

Orthodontic Problems Seen at the Age of 7

This is the first time when visiting an orthodontist is recommended. The most common problem seen at this age is overbite i.e. excessive protrusion of upper teeth or retruding lower jaw giving weak chin appearance. The exact diagnosis is made by taking an X-ray from the side view. 

Deep Bite: When the upper teeth cover the lower teeth by more than one millimeter than the bite is said to be deep bite and it requiring a visit to orthodontist.

Under Bite: In this condition, the lower jaw is farther than the upper jaw giving somewhat strong chin appearance. 

Crowded or Overlapped Teeth: It occurs when the space for permanent teeth is very less owing to small jaw size.

Orthodontic Treatment at the Age Of 7

The problems associated with your child’s oral habits that indicates an orthodontist visit are:

1.   Difficulty in chewing

2.   Open mouth breathing

3.   Thumb sucking habit

4.   Clicking sound while opening the mouth or chewing food

5.   Cheek biting

6.   Difficulty is pronunciation of certain words like v, f, w etc.

6.   Night grinding of the teeth

Other problems associated with poor teeth alignment are tooth decay, periodontal problems, demineralization of enamel, headache and TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) problems.

Things to Check before Going Forward for Braces Treatment

Age: Most of the jaw problems can be detected at an age as early as 7 years. Though there is no specific age for braces treatment but best is after 18 years when jaw growth has ceased to occur. If you are getting braces at the growing age than there are more chances of relapse of the orthodontic treatment due to the continuous changes occurring in the jaw bone. Few of the appliances are inserted in childhood only but parents should make sure to get the retainers inserted after the braces treatment is done. Retainers help to maintain the correct position of teeth brought over by braces.

NOTE: For crowded teeth, orthodontic consultation should be done at an early age of 7 years because after the eruption of molars the space in the mouth gets smaller with age. 

Health of Gums: Healthy gums are a necessity before going forward for braces treatment.  Also jaw bones should be strong enough to sustain the pressure to be brought about by braces. Getting braces over the unhealthy gums can lead to gingival recession or periodontal problems.

Go to a Specialist:  Though dental graduates are taught about general tooth movements and functioning of braces but they are not taught about complicated cases and in-depth analysis of tooth movement. So, without caring much about the money you should seek medical advice from a specialized orthodontist as they are the right persons trained in this particular sphere of dentistry.

Cost: Remember that consultation is generally free of cost. So, it is good to seek consultation from two to three orthodontists before going for final treatment and only experienced orthodontist can tell you the exact cost, treatment modality required and the amount of time you would be requiring the treatment. Though the cost varies from the type of malformation your teeth have but generally the cost lies in between $3000 to $ 6000. Also it varies and is usually less if you are living in a rural area. To lessen the financial burden, you also have an option of paying the cost in installments.

Read All The Instructions: Before going for braces treatment, a treatment plan that includes cost and to do planners should be well read by the patient before signing the treatment contract. At any point of time, you can talk to your dentist. Also, you can clarify that if in case you migrate from the city or country than can the partial amount be refunded or can the treatment be continued in the new city or country under the same cost? Moreover, keep a record of the treatment with you too.

Myths Associated with Orthodontic Treatment

Braces are painful: This is the common presumption that braces cause tremendous amount of pain but in reality it is not so. They do hurt but only for first few days and after that you teeth acclimatize to the new environment and adjust well. Also, you might experience slight sensitivity. For that you need to take very care of the oral hygiene.

You can’t play musical instruments or participate in sports: This is totally wrong. If you are fond of playing oral instruments than you will be provided with clear lip guards that prevent wind irritation from certain mouth organs. And while getting into sports with braces, make sure to wear mouth guard to protect lips and teeth.

You can’t eat solid food during the whole treatment:  Wrong! You can very well start eating normal food as food is an essential part of life. You can’t abstain from it. But what you need to do is to cut solid food like carrots, apples, almonds etc. into smaller bites. But take care not to have excess of sodas and colas as they can cause enamel erosion and thus increase the sensitivity. Also avoid sticky candies.

Braces might loosen my teeth: Of course it will but to your good only. Braces shifts the teeth position to new and correct position. The only thing that will loosen up your teeth while braces treatment is improper brushing and poor oral hygiene.

Retainers are optional: No! Not at all. Retainers are in fact compulsory. They keep the teeth fixed in their new position and prevent any kind of relapse. Not wearing retainers will cause the teeth to move to their original deformed position and all your orthodontic treatment will go in vain.

Hawley’s’ Retainer: They are the most common and the most reliable type of retainers. They are made up of both metal and acrylic. Metal goes in the front of teeth and acrylic part fits into the palate.

Essix Retainer: It is not that common because firstly it is made up of plastic and secondly it covers the biting surface of teeth and hence make patient’s feel discomfort.

So, regardless of the type of retainers, you need to wear it full time for at least 6 months and gradually shift to night wearing only.

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