Let's face it! There are just a few lucky ones who can feel proud of a straight, white and healthy smile. The rest of mortals have yellowish and imperfect teeth due to many causes such as a deficient diet, excess of drinking and smoking and genetic inheritance.
However, we don't have to settle for this. Of course not, cosmetic dentistry has advanced at huge steps and is now able to work wonders for our teeth.
One of the most common recommended solutions by dentists is wearing braces. Conventional methods in orthodontics are still the same in essence, some have been ruled out, though they are now enhanced with new materials and techniques that make them more comfortable and more esthetic.
Braces treatment varies according each person, depending on such factors as: Age, teeth's position, dental bone structure, mouth's health and esthetic wishes.
The treatment lasts from one to two years approximately, as I said, depends on each case. In kids and teens is easier to handle because their teeth are constantly moving and not hard and fixed as adults'; nevertheless, the dentist has to foresee the appearance of wisdom teeth, since they could pushed the frontal teeth.
But don't think if you are pushing base three or four you don't have a solution. Of course you do. It takes more time because your teeth are already formed though, but the risk of moving teeth is far less than in young people.
The braces treatment follows these steps (the order is not strict):
Diagnosis: The orthodontist checks your mouth to check your teeth's position, the presence of cavities, plaque, and any other deficiency that could interfere in the treatment. (The dentist might use an intraoral camera).
For a deeper study, the dentist will give you and order to get dental X-rays to have a view of your teeth's bones.
The orthodontist gives you a quotation of the treatment (braces and other procedures). This is a good time for discussing about your expectations and esthetic preferences.
X-rays: X-rays are taken at a radiography center. It takes no more then 5 minutes. The results are ready in 15 minutes or 2 days at maximum. The type of X-rays depends on the dentist's request.
Dental impressions: Plaster copies of your mouth. A tray with an elastic dental dough is placed inside each of your jaws. With a slight pressure the dentist keeps it in your mouth for 3 to 5 minutes. This, along with the X-rays, is meant for outlining your dental treatment plan.
Cavity fillings: Your teeth must be in perfect conditions before the braces' collocation. Once, the dentist has identified the cavities -if you have any- during the diagnosis and on the X-rays.
Extractions: The worst part, but is a must. In order to create gaps to make the spaces that will be filled by the crooked teeth -that don't have enough space- the dentist has to remove four teeth: Two upper and 2 lower incisors.
Prophylaxis and fluoridization: Your mouth must be clean and bacteria free. This is an easy procedure plaque removal and fluoride application. It can be done manually or with ultrasound.
Braces placement: The dentist pastes each brace onto each tooth with a resin. A metallic arc wire (gray or transparent) is passed through the braces' middle gaps, which is fastened with tiny color elastics. Around the upper and lower molar teeth metallic bands are put to support the wire.
You can choose between these alternatives:
- Metallic braces: The regular gray ones. - Ceramic braces: Transparent, barely noticeable, but delicate to handle. - Metallic-Ceramic braces: the braces are transparent and the wire is transparent. - Lingual braces: They are metallic and their particularity is that they are placed on the teeth's interior face. They are unnoticeable. - Self-ligating: They do not require the metallic wire neither the elastic ties. They are attached by interactive clips. Treatment lasts less time than with the conventional braces.
Elastic ties change: The fastening elastics are changed biweekly or monthly. You might feel your teeth tight and certain pain for a few days until the bands stretch out.
* Teeth whitening: This is optional but is great way to give the final touch to your teeth. You have many options like laser whitening -quite popular these days- ; blue-light whitening, the conventional loaded trays or you might do it at home or at the office with self-bleaching products.
In order to the treatment to succeed, you must cooperate being constant and following the dentist instructions. After it finishes still you have to visit the dentist once or twice a year for a whole check-up.
Though this treatment costs time, money and pain; the personal and physical gratifications do worth the price.