Treatment With Braces: Do I Really Need Them?

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment for correcting crowded teeth. Braces help in the neat appearance of teeth and a beautiful smile. But are braces necessary for all teens? And don’t they increase the chances of cavities? Here we look at common questions associated with braces.

Key takeaways:
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    Braces are used to align and straighten overcrowded teeth.
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    Although braces are primarily for children and teens, adults may also benefit from them.
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    Braces increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
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    Good oral hygiene and regular visits to dentists can reduce these risks.

Dentists recommend orthodontic treatment, such as braces, for various abnormalities in the teeth. Braces can correct conditions such as malocclusion (open bite) that are often caused by bad oral habits from an early age. Since malocclusion can lead to dental caries, gingival disorders, and even tooth loss, its treatment becomes necessary.

In addition, an open bite can cause functional problems such as chewing and speaking disorders. Therefore, braces can be a favorable solution to overcome these problems.

Braces are dental tools that are applied to correct dental occlusion problems such as misaligned teeth, crowding teeth, crooked teeth, and open bites.

How do dental braces work?

In general, braces are made of stainless steel, metal, gold, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. Braces slowly align and straighten the teeth so that the bite becomes normal. Braces gently facilitate tooth movement due to the transfer of force from the activated braces. This tooth movement aims to improve the contact between the teeth in the correct condition.

Dentists often recommend dental braces for good oral health, neat appearance of teeth, and a perfect smile. In addition to having a high dental corrective success rate, braces can also enhance your smile.

In general, braces are usually prescribed to children and adolescents for permanent results. However, adults are the most frequent users of dental braces services. Indications for braces depend on the condition of the jaw shape, age, and dental health.

Teeth that look crowded, crooked, and misaligned highlight the need for dental braces. Crooked or misaligned teeth make it difficult to brush and floss, which results in the buildup of food debris and bacteria that cause dental caries.

Some patients experience fatigue or sound in the jaw while chewing, which indicates the need for dental braces. Furthermore, open bites, a condition where the teeth do not close properly when the mouth is closed, can be overcome by the use of dental braces.

Who can use braces?

Before using braces, an orthodontic exam is necessary. The American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic examination for children aged 7 years.

An early orthodontic examination is essential to observe potential dental abnormalities or malocclusion in children. It can effectively prevent abnormalities in the patient's teeth when growing up.

In addition to children and adolescents, orthodontic treatment using braces is acceptable for adults of all ages. However, some conditions can complicate treatment with braces. Braces cannot be used when the patient has gum disease.

Braces increase the risk of gum infections and tooth decay due to the accumulation of bacteria and plaque. Hence, dental braces cannot be done if the patient has gum disease.

Do braces need a lot of maintenance?

Dentists usually install dental braces carefully. First, teeth are dried and etched to create an ideal tooth surface condition for bonding with braces.

Dental braces are attached to the teeth by placing a metal band around the back molars. Then they are taped to the size of the tooth with a special adhesive and blue light.

Dentists adjust and maintain braces every 4 to 10 weeks. This is done to see the adhesion and tightness of the braces that are being used. Furthermore, mechanical cleaning devices such as flossers or sonic toothbrushes are recommended to effectively clean braces.

When the results of orthodontic treatment have been achieved, the braces will be removed by the dentist.

Precautions while using braces

Due to the length of the treatment, patients who wear braces need to pay attention to their oral habits and diet. Good oral hygiene greatly affects the success of treatment with braces.

Brushing and flossing regularly can remove the layer of bacteria and plaque on the teeth. The absence of plaque on the teeth will prevent dental caries. Keeping braces in a clean condition is the key to successful orthodontic treatment.

Individuals with braces should also maintain a balanced diet and limit certain foods and drinks. You should avoid foods and drinks that can interfere with braces. Foods that are hard, sticky, and sweet should be minimized. These foods include:

  • Nuts
  • Chocolate bars
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel

These foods increase the accumulation of bacteria and plaque. Also, braces, rubber bands, and dental wires can be pulled or damaged when chewing gum. Therefore, chewing gum with braces is not recommended.

Dentists also recommend avoiding carbonated drinks in excess. Excess sugar and carbonation can lead to the breakage of the glue that holds the braces together. It can also increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Each patient has their own specific treatment goals. It needs to be monitored regularly by a professional dentist and hence, regular visits to the dentist are necessary.

Braces can help in straightening teeth and aligning the bite. Although it is good to start orthodontic treatments early, adults too can benefit from braces. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment with braces as braces increase the risk of tooth decay.

Talk to your dentist to determine if you or your family can benefit from braces.