You have decided to have your teeth straightened by means of a brace. Fortunately adults with braces have become used to the streets. If you already receive responses, they are usually positive.
What does the current bracket look like?
There are many options nowadays to make a bracket almost "invisible".
- The brackets (clasps) can be made from tooth-colored porcelain or plastic, making them much less striking.
- Furthermore, it is possible to make anchoring for a fixed bracket in your mouth, whereas in the past a tool was needed outside of your mouth. Bone anchors are used instead of a neck or headband. Bone anchors are small screws that are fixed in the side of your jaw, they serve as a support for an elastic or orthodontic thread.
- A final development is the invisalign, an orthodontic system in which the tooth movement is not effected by braces, but with a successive series of "mouth guards". A series of transparent molds are made, in which each time a small tooth displacement is "built in". Every two weeks your dentist / orthodontist places two new molds, so that your teeth gradually shift. You can remove the molds for eating and brushing. You go to your orthodontist about every six weeks to have minor corrections made and to check the tooth movement. Not every tooth displacement is possible with this, your orthodontist can advise you if this system is suitable for you.
Will it be a fixed or removable bracket in your case?
This question can only be answered by your dentist or orthodontist, it depends on your specific dental situation. In the majority of cases, the choice will be made of a fixed bracket, because it allows the tooth position to be better controlled. A fixed brace is really stuck, and therefore cannot come out as long as the treatment lasts. So also not at a party or during an important meeting. This is something you can realize well in advance. My practice has shown that those who opted for orthodontics at an adult age were very motivated and gladly accepted that discomfort. The most frequently heard exclamation was: "It is not that bad."
Dentist or orthodontist?
Your own dentist will usually be the first to whom you present your dental question. This does not mean that you cannot go to an orthodontist yourself, that is also possible. If you start braces in adulthood, a lot of consultation between dentist and orthodontist will be required in most cases. Often combined treatments are also involved, for example when the orthodontist places the teeth in such a position that the dentist can then make nicer restorations. A dentist can do orthodontic treatments. Whether he is the right person for the orthodontic treatment of your teeth depends on his experience, education and the presence of specific equipment and materials in practice. There are dentists who do many orthodontic treatments themselves, and there are dentists who refer to the orthodontist for all treatments. Asking in advance which practitioner is responsible for which specific part of the treatment will prevent many misunderstandings.
What are the preparations for treatment?
In preparation, you have discussed with your dentist or orthodontist what you want and what you expect. Your expectations are especially important, are they realistic? Do you have the same end result in mind? A set-up can make a lot clear even before you have started treatment.
Is the treatment painful?
You can experience a nagging pain when the braces have just been placed or have just been reactivated. The brace does its job, it feels like growing pain. If a fixed bracket has just been placed, the clasps can irritate the inside of your cheeks and lips. It helps to put Vaseline on the locks. This pain disappears after a few days after habituation.
How often do I have to come to the practice?
Once for a consultation for an oral examination, a first rough diagnosis and explanation. Then an appointment for digital photos, X-rays and for making prints. This is called the documentation, the collection and recording of data for your treatment. A treatment plan is drawn up on the basis of the first clinical diagnosis and documentation.
This is followed by a third appointment for discussing the treatment plan, after which the treatment agreements can follow.
The real treatment starts with placing the bracket. If the bracket has just been placed, a check will take place after one or a few weeks to discuss how it works and to check the bracket. This is followed by checks every six to eight weeks, for one and a half to two years. Sometimes shorter if it concerns a partial treatment.
What inconveniences can I expect during treatment?
You will have to sit with your mouth open for a long time while placing the fixed bracket. An hour is standard for placing a fixed bottom and top bracket. A rubber wedge is usually placed between your teeth so that you have support, which is less tiring for your jaws.
The glue with which the locks are placed has a bad taste.
You can't eat everything with a stirrup. Drops, fudge and other sticky things are currently taboo. Chewing gum is difficult because you hardly get the remains of it off the bracket. Cola drinks and other soft drinks do damage to the stirrup, preferably not, as long as you wear a stirrup.
The treatment after placing the bracket
Checks are placed every six to eight weeks after placing a bracket. During these checks, your dentist will check whether the orthodontist has already moved your teeth, whether your teeth are moving in the desired direction and whether the braces still provide sufficient force. Incidentally, it may take a month before you notice any effect from the bracket, this is normal. It is not desirable to put more force on your teeth during the initial phase to speed up the process, you will just have to be patient.
Which additional objections can I expect?
Stopping the orthodontic treatment is a moment that you have been looking forward to for a long time, so there will be little objection. If you have had a fixed bracket, your teeth will suddenly appear large and white, without all those locks on it, and you can brush again very easily. It is now of the utmost importance that the new tooth position is maintained. Your dentist or orthodontist has made a permanent retention for this. The permanent retention is meant to hold your teeth in the new position. Without this retention, your teeth will fall back quickly, and that is of course the last thing you want.
The retention can consist of:
- A thin metal wire that is stuck to the back of your teeth;
- A thin plastic mold that fits over your front teeth and must be worn at night, the invisible retainer;
- A special night bracket;
- In some cases a combination of these options, for example a wire stuck behind your teeth and an invisible retainer for the night.
Also partial treatments?
An orthodontist also performs partial (partial) treatments. Sometimes at your request, sometimes at the request of your dentist. It may be a so-called "compromise treatment", technically a much better result may be possible, but you are satisfied with a small booth correction. It can also be pre-prosthetic orthodontics, a change of position prior to a dentist's treatment with, for example, crowns or bridges, in order to ultimately get a better result.
Alternatives and pros and cons
The advantage of straightening your teeth by means of a brace is that you do not have to damage your own teeth by grinding. The disadvantage is that you have no instant result. Orthodontic treatment takes an average of a year or two. It has been said before, but in practice this duration rarely appears to be a stumbling block for the motivated adult. The years of pleasure that you have afterwards, far outweigh it.
Orthodontic treatment is, in addition to dental surgery as described above, often combined with restorative treatment for optimum results. For example, first have your teeth straightened and then have facings stick to it.
Alternatives will always be offered and it is worth considering, even if they do not seem attractive at first sight. The ultimate choice for a certain treatment lies with you, you better be well informed.