If your teeth are not straight, don’t despair cause a lot of other kids’ teeth aren’t straight either. If you look at your classmates, you will discover that most do not have perfect teeth. So if your teeth are not properly aligned, you are just like everyone else.
Teeth conditions vary from person to person. For some, it may be teeth that are not straight, for others it may have to do with the size of the jaws. Only a few are blessed with perfectly straight teeth or balanced jaw sizes. When a person’s upper jaw is larger than his lower jaw, then he has an overbite. But if the lower jaw is bigger, then it is called an underbite. Both these conditions are medically known as malocclusion. It is derived from a Latin word that means “bad bite”.
If you have misaligned teeth, your family dentist may not have noticed it during your regular visits. For issues concerning teeth alignment, it is best that you see an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in making teeth straight through the use of things like braces. This person is the one who can tell you whether or not you need braces.
Several decades ago, those who had braces were called “metal mouth” since braces in the past included metal rings or bands placed around the teeth. If your parents wore braces in their teens, you may have photographs of them wearing these ugly metal contraptions.
However, recent advancements in dental technology have led to the use of clear or invisible braces that are less noticeable. Although, there are few people these days who still prefer to use the old-fashioned metal braces. But those who opt for metal braces nowadays can choose brackets that are of the same color as their teeth. Those who don’t want others to see their braces choose those that are placed behind the teeth. A lot of film and TV personalities prefer this kind of braces.
Compared to the wires that were used for braces in the past, the ones that are used nowadays are much smaller. They are also made of materials that helps straighten teeth faster, and in a more convenient way. The rubber bands that are used for braces now are more colorful and attractive. Some patients even match the color of their rubber bands to the monthly holidays.
How do braces work?
Braces straighten teeth by steadily putting pressure on them so that they move to a different position after a certain period of time. The wires and rubber bands work hand in hand in correcting the alignment of the teeth. The wires move the teeth, while the rubber bands brings the teeth to proper alignment.
For extreme cases, the use of a head or neck gear is necessary. Wearing a head or neck gear can make a person look really silly. But if you have to wear one along with your braces, do not worry as orthodontists usually recommend their patients to wear them only at night.
How long do you have to wear braces?
The length of time for wearing braces depends on each person’s situations. But generally, it takes about two years for a treatment to complete. Once your orthodontist removes your braces, you will be required to wear a retainer. It is a piece of device that is made from hard plastic with metal wires attached to it, but there are retainers that use thin plastic instead of metal wires. Retainers ensure that the perfect alignment attained through the use of braces is maintained.
Orthodontists will inform their patients how long a retainer is to be worn. Some patients would have to wear it twenty four hours a day for two years. For others, it might just be for six months. It all depends on each patient’s situation.
How to care for your teeth while wearing braces?
Wearing braces is like having a food magnet in your mouth. Which means that whenever you eat, food particles are most likely to get stuck between your teeth and braces. Brushing after every meal would be a good practice as it can help keep your teeth healthy. In addition, it can keep you from having bad breath.
If you do not have time to brush your teeth, you can use a floss to remove bits and pieces of food stuck around your braces and between your teeth. To make sure that your teeth are really clean, you can ask your orthodontist to allow you to quickly floss your teeth when he or she changes the wires of your braces.
While you have your braces, eating may not be as convenient as when you didn’t have them. You do not have to go on a special diet but just make sure that you avoid foods that can easily stick to your braces such as popcorn, chewy candies, and gum. You may also want to avoid soda and caffeine as they can cause your teeth to turn yellowish, and the sugar in these drinks can cause tooth decay. But if you really can’t stop yourself from having these drinks, then make sure that you brush right after drinking.
The first time you have your braces on, you will be very conscious of the pressure that it puts on your teeth. You will also feel uncomfortable especially when you feel the pain. During your regular visits to your orthodontist for adjustments, you might need to have a pain reliever handy should the pain be unbearable.
If the wires break or come off, or if a wire is constantly poking your cheeks causing you so much discomfort, see your orthodontist right away. Your orthodontist may trim off the wire of give you some soft wax to stick to the bracket that is bothering you.
Braces may feel uncomfortable and can cause a lot of inconvenience, but plenty of kids have them. For the millions of people who have had braces, they say that it is all worth the trouble. If you have braces right now and you are about to give up because of all the discomfort, then just think of the day when your braces will be removed and you can start showing off your perfect smile.
Jack is an online marketer with over 25 years experience in media, sales, and marketing. He specializes in assisting local companies establish an online presence through his company LinkLocal Internet Marketing Service. Jack is the author of several ebooks and numerous articles. Visit his blog for more information on dental braces.
By Jack Heape