The basics of braces

Published On: October 13, 2017 09:55 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Are braces only for children? Do they make our teeth weak? When is the correct time to put on braces? These are some of the most common queries related to dental braces. We at The Week spoke to Professor Dr Basanta K Shrestha, orthodontist at Shree Bikesh Dental Clinic, in Kamaladi, Ganeshthan, Kathmandu to help you find the answers to all these questions. Here is all that you need to know to become an informed dental patient and debunk myths related to braces.  

Why is there a need for braces?

The need to put braces arises primarily due to three reasons.

Firstly, they are used to enhance a patient’s appearance. Many visit an orthodontist to get their overcrowded or crooked teeth in shape. While straightening cooked teeth is the primary function of braces, they are also used for improving a wide range of dental health relates issues.

The second reason why people get braces is due to the functional imparity of their teeth. Some have problems such as difficulty in chewing which can be solved by braces treatment.

Thirdly, braces can even be used to provide structural stability. Many suffer from problems such as their upper jaw being larger than the lower one or vice versa. Others may have problems in their muscles or soft tissues. So braces are not only for enhancing external beauty but they help in solving numerous dental health related issues as well.    

Do all baby teeth have to fall before one gets braces?

The correct time to put braces differs from individual to individual. Many wait for all their baby teeth to fall before visiting an orthodontist. But patients suffering from skeletal discrepancy need to have braces on before they hit puberty.

The skeletal discrepancy can be easily corrected with the help of braces from the age of six to ten through the process of growth modulation. But once all baby teeth are out, treating skeletal discrepancy can be an extremely difficult procedure.

For simple cases such as that of crooked or crowded teeth, the correct time to put braces is after all your baby teeth have fallen. Hence, it is a good idea to get your baby’s teeth checked by an orthodontist before they turn 10. 

Do braces weaken our teeth roots?

It is completely true that teeth are moved during the course of braces treatment but that does not weaken your teeth. This is simply a myth.

Braces apply continuous pressure over a long period of time to change the position of your teeth. The steady pressure applied eventually straightens your teeth. Basically, your teeth is not altered in any way so there is no chance of weekening them or the roots.

Putting braces helps in the optimal alignment of your teeth making it easier to floss, brush, and maintain oral hygiene. With crooked teeth, effectively cleaning your teeth becomes a huge problem and braces actually help make it easier to maintain oral hygiene. 

Are braces only for children?

Children are more compatible with braces and their teeth can easily adapt to change. That does not mean adults cannot put on braces. Braces can be put at any age, as long as the gums and teeth are healthy. Adults with a set of teeth which can be made better with braces are suitable candidates to be treated with braces.

Orthodontist use optimal force technique in order get optimal alignment of adult teeth. Since most adults do not wear braces due to societal pressures, there are three kinds of invisible braces designed especially for them. Ceramic braces are white or clear so they do not look like silver metal braces.

The second type of braces is inside braces; these are placed at the back of your teeth. Clear aligners are the third kind of braces. They are removable, without wires and easy to wear. 

Do we get invisible braces in Nepal?

Yes, invisible braces are available in Nepal and people can utilize this technology without having to travel abroad. Labs to make invisible braces are in the process of being established in our country. But the appliances have to be imported from European countries which might make invisible braces slightly costlier than regular ones. You must also keep in mind that invisible braces are designed for adults and older teenagers but are not recommended when baby teeth remain. 

What is the most important thing you need to know before getting dental braces?

One must know the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. A dentist requires additional educational qualification to become an orthodontist just like a doctor who needs additional qualification to become a surgeon.

It is an orthodontist who specializes in alignment of teeth, fitting corrective braces, and performing various complex surgeries. Hence, if you are planning to get braces, you must go to an orthodontist certified by the Nepal Medical Council. You might not the desired results if you go to a dentist for your corrective braces treatment. 

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