The right smile can change your life, and sometimes you have to get orthodontic treatment to achieve that. There is however, a stigma surrounding braces and this kind of dental procedure. The team at Exeter Advanced Dentistry are on hand to help you understand the process and share with you exactly what you need to know about braces.
When should you get braces?There really is no bad time to get braces. Orthodontic treatments are not limited to young people, with more and more adults wanting to straighten their smile. Are you looking to get braces yourself, or are you looking for someone under your care? First of all, it’s generally a good idea to get an assessment done by your local dentist when a young person is around seven years of age. Then, typically the best time to have braces fitted is between the ages of 12 and 13, when the mouth and jaw are still growing. As an adult your likelihood of improvement is limited much more than with a young person, but you can certainly still make some significant changes. Such is the way with modern medicine that dentistry has changed a great deal over the decades, meaning that many adults did not receive the same level of dental care offered to young people today. This means that over recent years adult braces have become increasingly common, which is no surprise given that they can change your life and give you a fresh sense of confidence.
Do I need braces?Quite often you can tell if you need braces or not, but sometimes there are subtle things you may miss out on. Perhaps you have a generally straight smile, but you might have one or two teeth out of line, or you have noticed some changes recently. If you are still not sure if you need braces or not, head to a mirror and take a look to see if you have any of the following issues.
OverbiteOverbites can be quite noticeable, particularly if you are self conscious about your mouth and teeth. However, as with anything, some people are able to rock their individuality and embrace it. You can identify an overbite by seeing that your upper front teeth ‘excessively’ overlap your bottom set teeth.
UnderbiteAn underbite is the opposite of an overbite. As you have probably already guessed, underbites occur when your upper front teeth sit behind your lower front teeth. You may be making do with your underbite but they can lead to further health problems, typically caused by disproportionate jaw sizes, people with an underbite likely experience issues chewing or biting, and can also cause an imbalance to your facial appearance.
GapsGaps between teeth did become something of a fashion statement a few years ago, but not everyone is so open and confident about theirs. If you suffer from large gaps between your teeth you may have an extended jaw or you could be missing a tooth.
CrowdingConsidered the most common condition in the field of orthodontics, crowding is when your mouth simply does not have enough space for your teeth to grow straight. As mentioned, this is a common issue and a leading reason why children get braces. However, as time goes on crowding tends to get worse, meaning it may become a recurring issue for young people or as an adult.
CrossbiteOne issue which really cannot be ignored is a crossbite. These can be distinguished by noticing an upper tooth crossing behind a lower opposing tooth, and without care and attention can lead to issues like asymmetric jaw growth.
Open BiteYou can tell if you have an open bite by seeing whether your teeth touch or not when you bite down. This is a cause of some speech and biting issues and needs attention. So, if you experience any of the conditions mentioned above, you should look at having some orthodontic treatment done as soon as possible. There are more ways to notice whether you need braces or not, and they include:
- Difficulty flossing between teeth
- Difficulty brushing certain teeth adequately
- Frequently biting your tongue
- A challenge pronouncing words
- Clicking or noticeably loud jaw noises
- Jaw stress or fatigue when eating, chewing, or talking
What types of braces are there?At Exeter Advanced Dentistry, we are fortunate to have our orthodontic specialist on hand to offer a variety of orthodontic treatments. Let’s run you through the different types of braces you could get.
Clear Fixed BracesOne main concern people have when being faced with the prospect of getting braces is how they will look. Clear fixed braces however, are a more modern alternative to traditional metal braces which people are more commonly used to. Made with translucent brackets as opposed to the older metal ones, the brackets are bonded to the front of your teeth in a much more subtle and ‘barely there’ appearance. This version of braces is able to predictably correct the more complex crowding issues, often in the shortest amount of time.
Lingual BracesSmile with confidence with some lingual braces. Fitted to the back of your teeth, you no longer have to feel shy or self conscious about your smile, knowing that you are getting the best treatment without the impact on your appearance. If you are looking at getting adult braces, we have found that the lingual option is often the most popular choice.
InvisalignPerhaps a step further than lingual braces, Invisalign is a great way to straighten your teeth to produce the perfect smile, without the need for any wiring. Considered to be more comfortable and discreet than fixed braces, teeth are straightened with a series of removable ‘aligners’. These are clear and custom made trays, like retainers, to be worn throughout the day. Invisalign must be worn for 22 hours a day, but can be removed whilst you eat.
Rapid Orthodontic TreatmentsSometimes you may only be struggling with a smaller orthodontic issue. This is where Exeter Advanced Dentistry’s rapid orthodontic treatments come in. If you were for example experiencing a minor crowding issue, it may be possible to to provide shorter courses of orthodontic treatment to help realign your teeth thanks to cosmetic fixed braces or invisible/lingual braces.
Do braces hurt?This question is perhaps one of the most common questions posed to orthodontists. As with everything, different people will have different experiences when getting braces. Most will experience some form of mild discomfort or pain especially when they first get braces, or when they have been tightened. This pain will go away in a few days, but there are a number of ways in which you can ease the pain:
- Maintain thorough cleaning of your teeth in between your braces
- Using general over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol
- Rinse with warm saltwater
- Having topical anaesthetics applied to your gums
- The possibility of soft wax being applied to your braces to prevent any cuts
What can you not eat or drink when you have braces?Braces have improved significantly in recent years, allowing you much more freedom than those have previously been given. That being said, there are still a number of foods and drinks which should be avoided when you have braces. As a general rule, try to avoid any food which is particularly tough, hard, sticky or chewy. Here is a general list of things you should not eat or drink when you have braces:
- Chewing gum
- Raw vegetables
- Tough crusted bread
- Tough meat
- Corn on the cob
- Solid chocolate
- Hard (or sticky) sweets
- Fizzy, or carbonated drinks
- Drinks with high sugar content
- Excessive amounts of tea and coffee
- Natural fruit juice
- Energy drinks