Braces treatment is the arrangement of teeth, via the process of moving (straightening or shifting) the teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they would function.
While often considered an elective treatment, orthodontics goes beyond improving one's physical appearance and self-confidence. Frequently, if untreated, orthodontic problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
Braces treatment starts with the initial orthodontic consultation, where our specialist will assess the overall state of your teeth, gums, and jaws. We will then advise the patient if there is a need for treatment and what your options are. We will also share important information such as the estimated treatment duration, costs, and whether any pre-treatment (such as extractions and/or cleaning) is needed.
During your first visit, the orthodontist will examine your overall dental condition. If you are suitable for braces, the orthodontist will take X-rays of your dental profile, photographs of your teeth & facial profile, and your dental impressions. All this information will be used to build your own, customised treatment plan.
Treatment with braces
With each monthly review, our orthodontics will adjust your braces and check your alignment of teeth. Orthodontic treatment on average takes 1.5 to 2 years, and it differs from individual to individual.
Final stage: Removal of braces
Upon completion of active treatment, you will be issued retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions. Do not worry, we will guide you on how to wear and maintain your retainers.
The risk of relapse is extremely high within the first month after the braces are removed, and you will need to wear retainers until the position of your teeth stabilises. We recommend retainers to be worn as long as the active treatment time. If relapse occurs, you may need treatment again to correct.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use the wax when you feel the wire is poking against your mouth. Simply cut a small piece of wax, and paste it on the relevant bracket.
You can eat normally as long as you feel up to it. In general, there might be some discomfort in the first week or so, but you'll get accustomed to it soon enough!
Light colours tend to stain more easily due to intake of food/drinks. Not to worry, it won't affect treatment.
You can certainly reuse your rubber bands so long as they are still in good condition.
Your orthodontist will teach you how to insert the appliance and remove it. For the treatment to be effective, you will need to wear the appliance all the time (including sleep and eating). However, you have to remove them during toothbrushing and contact sports.
Because they are mostly removable, patient compliance in wearing and caring for them is essential to ensure treatment progress and success.
Treatment duration usually varies between 3 to 6 months depending on the severity of the bite discrepancy and patient compliance.
There will be some discomfort initially. This varies between individuals.
Most patients experience more saliva temporarily, usually for a few days.
Speech is commonly affected but this is also temporary and your speech will return to normal after a few days of continuous wear.
You may get oral ulcers on the insides of your lips, cheeks and tongue that are rubbing against parts of the appliance. These ulcers take about a week to heal. Please let your orthodontist know if there are any problems with the appliance. Adjustments can be made to the appliance.
You can buy over-the-counter ulcer medication and gels to apply on the ulcer to speed up the healing and for pain relief.
You will have some difficulties chewing with the removable appliance, particularly if the purpose of the appliance is to ‘disclude’ (open up) your bite, or prevent you from chewing of your lower braces in some instances (if you have lower braces), or prevent trauma to your lower teeth.
It is difficult to chew as well as you did previously because you are now biting on the smooth plastic of the appliance instead, or only on some teeth. It will take a while for you to adapt to the new chewing pattern.
In the meantime, start on a softer diet and chew slowly. You may want to cut up your foods into smaller pieces. Give yourself more time for your meals.
As your treatment progresses, your orthodontist will let you know when you need not wear it anymore.