|The branch of dentistry that straightens
irregular teeth is Orthodontia and the dentist specializing in this art is an
|We are about to put
braces for my daughter. What will it be like? I am
worried! Please tell me what to expect?
patients do not find braces to be any big bother. Your daughter's mouth may be sore for
the first week after the braces are fitted. Also, her mouth will be sore when the braces
are tightened. However, with modern braces, most children get so used to the braces, that
they do not notice them, except when the braces are being tightened.You must understand,
it is much easier for your child to accept braces when they are twelve than to go through
life with buck teeth.
|My daughter refuses
to get braces because she is afraid that the braces will make her look horrible. How to
|This is hard because some teens are so
worried about their appearance. You must point out that most people who need orthodontic
treatment look like a geek even before they get braces. How would you like to go through
life with buckteeth and a jaw that is either too big or too small? If your daughter is
really concerned about her appearance, then braces will really help her. Your smile is the
most striking feature on your face, and at the end of orthodontic treatment her smile will
look fabulous. Doesn't she want to look fabulous? We already have ceramic braces that
blend with the color of your teeth and offer the same degree of resilience. Before long we
will have in India, designer braces, in a series of styles and colors.
|Do Braces Hurt?
|Braces have changed a lot in the last 20
years so they are much less painful than they were 20 years ago. At present, we do not
know how to avoid the pain when the braces are first put in, or when the braces are being
tightened. However, modern, cast, low profile brackets are designed to minimize your
child's pain between visits to the orthodontist. Most children experience some soreness
during their first week in braces and occasional pain when their braces are being
tightened. However, after the first week, most children hardly notice the braces at all.
|It has been 2
months but my daughter's braces continue to hurt?
|You must talk to your orthodontist. Some
children continue to complain for the sake of complaining. However, if your daughter's
braces continue to hurt, it could be the beginning of a problem. Is she allergic to
something in the braces, her gums would be inflamed and sore. Your orthodontist can check
for this. Her mouth will also be sore if she is not thoroughly brushing her teeth. Again,
your orthodontist can help. If your daughter continues to get pain, discuss with your
orthodontist. He can definitely help.
|I am taking my
twins for braces next week and I am in jitters. Any special precautions during their first
week in braces? I won't even have time talking to you.
|I generally recommend that children be
especially careful about what they eat during the first week after getting braces.
Usually, they must only eat softer foods and to be very careful with their mouth, while
playing and jumping around.
|My son gets
frequent sores in the mouth. Will braces, too, cause sores in his mouth?
|Initially, there will be some sores on your
son's lips. If you rinse the sores in warm salt water, the sores will heal within a week
or two. Thereafter there will be an occasional sore when, for example he gets into a
fight. However, the sores should heal rather quickly. If your son's lips get too sore
during the first week, you can put gum paint.
|My son is a terror.
Difficult to hold him in a dentist's chair for too long. How long does it take to put on
|Depending on the case, two to two and half
|Does it hurt to put
the braces on?
|Not usually. The orthodontist is usually just
attaching the braces to your child's teeth. The pain comes later, when the braces first
begin to rub up against your child's lips.
|What holds the
|Generally, the brackets are bonded directly
to your child's teeth using a special registered adhesive.
|My son does not
want to get braces because he is afraid it will prevent him from participating in tennis.
Guide me, I have already spent a fortune training him?
|Years ago people who wore braces were advised
to avoid sports. However, in 1981 people started using orthodontic mouthguards. The
mouthguards have allowed patients to continue to participate in sports while they have
braces. Therefore, there is nothing for your son to fear. All the best!
|My son plays the
flute. Will his ability to play be affected by orthodontic treatment? He is willing to
live with buck-teeth but doesn't want to give up his music. Help!
|Be sure to mention your child's musical
abilities to the orthodontist. The orthodontist will install something called "lip
protector" which will make it possible for your child to still play musical
|Doc, don't tell my
mom I asked you this. Can I still chew gum with braces? Are there any other foods that I
|Better listen to me and follow my advice. Gum
is usually not recommended, as it can get caught on the braces and pull them. Also the
sugar in the gum can get trapped behind the braces and cause cavities. You should also
avoid hard sticky, crunchy foods. Caramel can stick on your braces. Crunchy foods like
carrots and apples and hard rolls can occasionally knock off a bracket.
|Doc, What happens
if a bracket comes off? Do I have to sit in that chair again?
|Yes! Your orthodontist will attach another
bracket. However, every time he has to replace a bracket, it delays your orthodontic
|My friend's son
swallowed a bracket! My God! Such stories terrify me and I keep delaying my daughter's
treatment. What happens if a child swallows a bracket? Can it kill a child?
|It is usually NOT a serious problem if your
child swallows a bracket. Brackets are usually made of a medical grade stainless steel,
which should not have any adverse effects on your child. The bracket will pass through
your child's intestines and pass out in feces. But if the bracket gets into your child's
lungs, or get caught in the larynx (voice box) it could cause a problem. The orthodontist
will normally ask another specialist to use a bronchoscope to remove the bracket. A
bracket choking your child in the voice box can be potentially fatal.
|Why can't the
braces be attached strongly enough so that they do not come off during eating?
|My dear, stop advising your orthodontist. He
needs to remove your child's braces at the end of the treatment. If the braces are
attached too firmly, they will not come off easily at the end of treatment, and then you
may ask why can't they put them properly so they come off easily.
|Thanks for all the
help. Any other activities that my son should avoid when he has braces?
|We, generally, advise against children
participating in activities where there will be many blows to a child's mouth. Sports like
boxing and wrestling should be avoided. Fighting should also be avoided. Your son should
wear an orthodontic mouthguard whenever he participates in any sports.
|How often should my
child brush his teeth when he has braces?
|It is recommended that your child continues
to brush and floss his teeth after every meal and before going to bed. Brushing and
flossing is especially important with braces because food can get caught in the braces and
cause cavities. Your orthodontist may also recommend that your child brush with a fluoride
gel in a further attempt to avoid cavities.
|Easier said than
done, how do I convince my child to brush when he has braces?
|I know what you are facing. Teenagers are so
rebellious. However, if they do not brush their teeth, food will get caught in their
braces and their breath will smell awful. One parent said that she started calling her son
Mr Smelly. It was amazing how fast her son started to brush his teeth.
|Seema auntie, I am
due for braces in a month's time. I have noticed that my friends having rubber bands in
their braces. What do the rubber bands do? And how often will the rubber bands be changed?
|Sam, rubber bands are used to move teeth
forward or back in your mouth. For example, they could be used to move your lower teeth
forward or back, to move a tooth that is far out of alignment, or to close a space in your
mouth. The rubber bands are often used in the final stages of the orthodontic treatment Answering
the second part of your question, these rubber bands break after they have been chewed a
few times. Usually, the rubber bands snap when you open your mouth, with painful results.
The only way to avoid the pain is for you to change the rubber bands frequently. I
recommend that you should take off your rubber bands before each meal and put in new ones
after eating. It also is helpful for you to change the rubber bands before you go to bed.
|What happens if
leave off the rubber bands?
|Please don't, your orthodontic treatment will
take up to a year longer and be more painful.
|What happens if I
swallow a rubber band?
|Orthodontic rubber bands are made of a
medical grade latex rubber, which is similar to the grade of rubber used in medical
implants. The rubber is thought to be safe for human consumption. If you swallow an
orthodontic rubber band, the rubber band will just pass through your intestines and leave
in your feces.
|What does a
|The objective of a retainer is to keep your
child's teeth in perfect alignment after braces are removed?
|Why is a retainer
needed? Do teeth move after orthodontic treatment?
|Usually, when braces are first removed, your
child's teeth will all be in perfect alignment, but his gums, bones, etc will not have
completely shifted into their new positions. The retainer holds his teeth in position
until his gums, bones etc settle in to their new positions. Also, he is still growing
after his braces are removed. Sometimes, his mouth will grow unevenly. If so, a retainer
can be used to make sure his teeth stay in perfect alignment as he grows.
|What happens if my
child does not use the retainer?
|If your child does not wear a retainer, his
gums and bones will not fully settle into their new positions. Eventually, the incorrectly
shaped bones will push his teeth causing the teeth to be out of perfect alignment. Tell
him after having gone through the rigours of treatment why give up at the wining post?
|How long should my
child use a retainer?
|Generally, patients are advised to keep
wearing a retainer 24 hours a day for at least a year after their braces are removed. Then
it is recommended that a child continue to wear a retainer a few nights a week until he
stops growing at age 24.
|Seema auntie! It's
me again. I notice that some braces have little rings around the brackets. What do the
rings do? My orthodontist is amazed how I know so much? Thanks a ton!
|The colored rings are called ligating
modules. They hold the wires into the brackets.
|What happens if I
swallow a ligating module?
|Orthodontic ligating modules are made of a
medical grade polyurethane which is similar to the grade of polyurethane used in medical
implants. The polyurethane is thought to be safe for human consumption. If you swallow a
ligating module, it will just pass through your child's intestines and leave in your his
|Is there any chance
that the sharp edges at the ends of the braces will hurt the insides of my child's cheeks?
|Hmm. This is a hard one. In the beginning
part of orthodontic treatment, your child's teeth will move a lot. Sometimes the end of
the wire will stick out past the end of the tube, and create a sharp edge. I recommend
that you ask the orthodontist to trim the sharp edge before the edge cuts your child.