Braces are not just for teenagers. Today, more and more adults choose to receive orthodontic treatment and fix their bite. Desire for a great smile and being more confident about the way we look is usually a core reason spurring us to act, but orthodontics can actually also help in maintaining a healthy mouth and avoiding many other complex dental issues. Straight and aligned teeth are nice to look at, but also easier to keep properly clean.
It’s never too late to see an orthodontist
It’s often your dentist who, during a routine check-up, will first notice the need for orthodontic treatment and advise you to make an appointment with a specialist. But you’re just as likely to feel and know when a visit to this specialist will be worthwhile.
Maybe you’ve dreamt of aligned teeth for so long that you’ve started to believe that it’s too late for this to come true. But in fact, it is possible at any age! You just need to see the right specialist to get started on your journey to a beautiful smile. While family dentists help with the general well-being of the mouth, orthodontists are the dentists specialised in achieving the best alignment and proper positioning of your teeth.
While family dentists help with the general well-being of the mouth, orthodontists are the dentists specialised in achieving the best alignment and proper positioning of your teeth.
Having a “bad bite” means that when your mouth is closed, your teeth or top and bottom jaws are not properly aligned. Depending on the severity, this condition may affect your cleaning effectiveness – which can lead to more severe issues in the future, or it can impede other common daily functions like eating, speaking and breathing. Many people are surprised when they learn that misplaced teeth can be connected to a really overwhelming number of dysfunctions.
During your first visit, an orthodontist will gather a lot of information and assess the shape of your mouth. This is done by reviewing your full dental-health history, conducting a clinical examination and taking panoramic x-rays. They might also make a plaster model of your teeth.
What are the most common bite or alignment issues?
Overbite. The upper teeth extending over the lower teeth is the natural status in most people. But if the upper jaw extends too far over the lower jaw, then it can lead to some issues – teeth can wear down faster and gums can become damaged.
Crossbite. It occurs when one or more of the bottom teeth sticks out past the top teeth. This can lead to headaches, painful chewing, teeth grinding, plus the enamel may be damaged.
Spacing. The opposite of overcrowding: having large gaps between the teeth, which can increase the risk of decay and gum disease.
Open bite. When there is a visible gap between the upper and lower set of teeth, and you can stick out your tongue when the teeth are closed. Open bites can cause trouble with breathing and swallowing.
Deep bite. An excessive vertical overlapping of the upper front teeth, usually effectively hiding the lower front teeth. A deep bite can cause trauma to the gums behind the upper front teeth, and the lower front teeth can become shorter.
Overcrowding. When there is not enough space to fit all the teeth, usually in the lower jaw, and teeth get displaced. This causes gums to become stressed and proper cleaning is challenging.
Underbite. When the lower jaw extends further than the upper jaw. If severe, this can lead to pain in the mouth and speech and chewing problems.
Midline misalignment. When the middle of your upper and lower teeth are not aligned. This issue is often overlooked, and out of all the mentioned above, it is the least troubling displacement of teeth.
What can you expect from orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics helps move teeth to the right places, making them visually straight and properly aligned. To achieve that you need dental devices that place a gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws in a particular direction, which gradually work over time. These appliances can be fixed in place on your teeth, like braces, or there are other special devices that control damaging habits such as tongue thrusting. Aligners are then plastic or acrylic-made appliances that fit tightly over the teeth and can be removed to eat or brush your teeth. Some aligners are wearable during the night only, and others are designed for all-day use.
The treatment will always depend on the type and severity of the misalignment. Your orthodontist will suggest which approaches are suitable, and which will reap the most benefits for your mouth and overall health.
Taking care of your mouth minimises stress during the treatment
When you undergo any orthodontic treatment, one thing starts to occur in your mouth: movement – slow, yet relentless. Your teeth are slowly and gently being pushed around in order to achieve the right alignment, so particularly at the start, you will notice increased sensitivity. This also puts additional stress on your gums, plus you have to get used to many new tight spaces in your mouth – all the new nooks and crannies that come with orthodontic treatments become ideal spots for tiny bits of food and bacteria to get stuck in.
One thing is clear: oral care for people wearing braces or using other dental devices is more complicated than it was without them. But now is really the time to take care of your mouth. Proper cleaning habits when undergoing orthodontic treatment helps minimise the overall stress on the mouth, and usually reduces the time needed for the treatment. Also important is knowing that proper cleaning can effectively prevent the formation of white stains around the braces’ brackets – something that can often happen during treatments with fixed brackets when poor oral hygiene or an excess of the fixation material around the brackets are present.
Let’s take a look at the correct use of oral care tools specifically designed for cleaning the teeth with orthodontic appliances.
For the best results, we suggest:
CPS Prime for interdental spaces
Cone-shaped CPS 14 for ribbon retainers and inner wires
CPS 18 for areas under outer wires
A good cleaning routine during orthodontic treatment
- Thorough, gentle cleaning. It is advised to put a special effort into brushing your teeth effectively. The special Hydrosonic pro toothbrush can be a handy tool – it’s the flagship electric toothbrush made by Curaprox, which ensures perfectly clean teeth with minimum effort and maximum gentleness.
- Precision brushing for difficult-to-reach spots. Make sure to clean out the areas around the brackets of the braces and the brackets themselves. This effectively prevents the white stains mentioned above. You can use a special single toothbrush, or attach the Single brush head to your Hydrosonic pro.
- Keep tight spaces clean. Use interdental brushes to clean spaces between the teeth. It is advisable to visit your dental hygienist for regular calibration of the interdental brushes as the size of your spaces can change frequently during the treatment.
- The Curaprox Ortho kit gives you everything you need to keep your mouth fresh and clean while undergoing orthodontic treatment. For travel, it also includes a practical Pocket set to keep your teeth clean at all times without any hassle.