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FAQ's

Orthodontia


What is Orthodontia?
The branch of dentistry that straightens irregular teeth is Orthodontia and the dentist specializing in this art is an Orthodontist.

We are about to put braces for my daughter. What will it be like? I am
worried! Please tell me what to expect?
BracesGenerally, most 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 handle?
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 the braces?
Depending on the case, two to two and half hours.

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 braces on?
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 instruments.

Doc, don't tell my mom I asked you this. Can I still chew gum with braces? Are there any other foods that I must avoid?
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 treatment.

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 retainer do?
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 feces.

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.