People who have crooked teeth, misaligned bite, or both do everything they can to hide their teeth away from people. The good news is, there are various types of treatments that can be done to help straighten up the teeth. These include dental braces and retainers. Now you don't have to control your smile or cover your mouth every time you want to say something. You can go to your dentist and ask for a referral to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the correction of teeth irregularities.
When you go to the orthodontist, he/she will:
- ask questions regarding your health
- perform a clinical exam
- create impressions of the teeth
- take photos of the teeth and face
- take an X-ray of the mouth and head
Based on the findings from these procedures, an appropriate treatment plan would be made by the orthodontist. If that teeth irregularity is not that severe, a removable retainer is enough to get the job done. But in other cases, braces are necessary.
Braces work to correct the irregularity in the teeth through the application of pressure over time to move the teeth in a certain direction. As this happens, the bony tooth also transforms shape when the pressure is applied.
These dental appliances are made of the following components:
- arch wires
- buccal tubes
- orthodontic bands
Brackets refer to the small metal squares that are attached on the front surface of each tooth using a specialized dental bonding agent. They serve as handles holding the arch wires that move the teeth to the specific direction. Brackets can come in stainless steel or in ceramic or plastic that are of the same color as the teeth. The latter is obviously the preferred choice as they are visibly less obvious than the metal one. Sometimes, the brackets may be cemented to the back of the teeth so they are hidden from sight.
The orthodontic bands are the materials cemented with the dental bonding agents. They are made to wrap around each tooth to serve as the bracket anchor. They can also be either stainless steel or tooth-colored material. The latter is again the preferred option although it's more expensive. It's possible to have braces and not have these bands.
The spacers are placed between the teeth to create space before the orthodontic bands are positioned.
The arch wires guide the teeth's movement to the right direction. They are attached to the brackets.
Ties are tiny rubber rings that connect the arch wire to the brackets.
The buccal tube holds the arch wire in place.
Ligatures are small elastic rubber bands that fasten the arch wires to the brackets.
Finally, the springs are installed on the arch wires to push, pull, open or close those spaces in between the teeth.
The time that you would need to wear your braces depend on the severity of your teeth irregularity. The health of your teeth and gums and the amount of room available in your mouth also affect this decision. Most patients need to wear a retainer for six months after the braces are removed.