Orthodontics is a specialty in the field of dentistry that corrects bones or teeth that are incorrectly positioned. There are many reasons a patient may have misaligned teeth, including genetic factors and external trauma. Regardless of the cause, orthodontic treatment is popular as it helps improve a patients’ appearance and dental health. An orthodontist can use a range of dental devices, including braces, headgears, plates, and one of the newest technologies, Invisalign. These are different types of orthodontics that will be appropriate for different dental conditions.
Closing wide gaps between the teeth
Improve oral functions (speech or eating)
Treat improper bite
Straightening crooked teeth
Excessive wear or teeth trauma prevention
Contrary to some common misconceptions, orthodontics devices such as braces do more than improve your smile. They play an important role correcting overcrowded and misaligned teeth. An abnormal bite (a “malocclusion”) can cause other problems, including gum inflammation and cavities. In certain cases, early applications of orthodontics can avoid such intrusive procedures as jaw surgery.
Proper care of orthodontics/braces helps not only mechanics of the devices but also the teeth underneath as well as make the braces more comfortable to wear.
Focusing on the more common braces, a key step in caring for your braces is following the rules for foods you will want to avoid.
Initially, you will want to eat soft foods until the soreness goes away. After the first week, you should be able to eat normally with the exception of certain foods. Specifically, to protect your braces, one should avoid these foods:
Sticky/Chewy foods: gum, caramels, gummy candies, licorice, bagels
Crunchy foods: chips, ice, popcorn
Hard foods: nuts, candy, lozenges, hard breads
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, ribs.
At first, there will be some discomfort and soreness. For most patients, the initial soreness and discomfort will largely dissipate after the first week. Over-the-counter pain relievers and a warm salt-water rinse are commonly used to help manage this first week. After periodic adjustments to the braces, there may be new soreness that may require similar measures.
When wearing orthodontics, such as braces and retainers, you should brush and floss more frequently as food particles can more easily collect in the wires and between the teeth and appliance. Special brushes are available in cleaning hard-to-reach areas.
A mouthwash rinse can be used to keep your devices free of food debris and to maintain a clean retainer.
Flossing can be complicated as it requires a careful looping of the floss around wires to avoid damaging the braces or retainer and still clean between the teeth. Use of a water pick-type device is also commonly recommended
Comfortable, Removable and Almost Invisible
Invisalign is one of the newest options for straightening teeth. It is similar to retainers and braces in function but entirely different in form. Invisalign is almost completely invisible, providing the change patient’s desire without drawing attention to the process. Invisalign aligners are viewed as a comfortable treatment typically to be worn 20 to 22 hours a day.
Once key feature of Invisalign aligners is that they are easily removed for most patients. This has a number of benefits. For example, you should remove the aligners when you eat. As a result, you will be able to continue to eat as you normally would without having to avoid foods that would otherwise affect your eating habits.
Similarly, by removing the Invisalign aligners, you may brush and floss your teeth as normal.
For patients who are active in contact sports, Invisalign aligners do not have sharp brackets that can cut your mouth and are removable if you will be wearing a protective mouth guard.