Straightening teeth treatments are not only a matter of appearance, but also a backup to your future dental health.
Teeth straightening procedures not only mean an aesthetic solution to a crooked smile, but also a treatment to improve the functioning of teeth, spreading evenly the pressure of bite and ensuring the health of teeth and gums. Straightened teeth offer also a better chance to have a good oral hygiene and prevent decay and infections.
There are, in dentistry, four types of orthodontic procedures for the straightening of teeth:
Aligners: removable moulds made of clear plastic, aligners offer a solution to teeth straightening without braces. The trays are replaced every two weeks to help teeth move into the desired position and allow patients to remove them to eat, brush and floss. Aligners such as Invisalign are only suitable for patients with all their adult teeth, although special programs for teens and kits who can wear them are designed to help with replacement times and cleaning.
Fixed braces: made of small brackets glued to teeth with filling material and joined together with a wire, they put gentle pressure on specific teeth to move them into the desired place. They are usually made of metal, although plastic and ceramic brackets are available too. Once the treatment is over, the brackets and the filling material are washed off the patient’s mouth.
Removable braces: made of plastic with wire clips and springs to move specific teeth, these allow the patients to take them out, but only for cleaning. They are normally used to move upper teeth.
Retainers: braces that help teeth to stay in the correct place after the orthodontic treatment, retainers can be either removable or fixed. It is advised they are used for a minimum of 6 months, particularly at night.
Before the straightening treatment with braces, teeth straightening surgery may be needed to correct the position of jaw bones. Surgery helps them to move into the right place so teeth van bite together properly. Either during this process or after, straightening through braces may also be needed to correct the position of teeth.
Whenever being in a straightening process with braces, patients must avoid sticky or chewy foods as well as sweets. These can not only damage the braces, but also contribute to a lower oral hygiene standard thus causing decay, gum disease or infections. Because oral health is even more important when being under treatment, patients need to take extra care when brushing. Oral hygiene should take place three times a day, brushing with fluoride paste and using fluoride mouthwash when advised by the orthodontist.
Teeth straightening can mean a great improvement, not only to patients’ appearance but also to their dental and general health.