Orthodontic & Dentofacial orthopedics (Braces)

Orthodontic & Dentofacial orthopedics (Braces)

  • Traditional braces are more effective at treating extreme overcrowding than other options like clear braces or Invisalign aligners. They are even less expensive.
  • They give your orthodontist the control he needs to move the teeth in small increments at a time.
  • The main disadvantage of traditional braces is the metal mouth appearance. While less noticeable orthodontics like Invisalign may seem like a better choice for those who are conscious of their appearance as today’s braces are more visually appealing than in past years, with a range of colour options for both the brackets and the elastics.

How to care for Your Braces ?

  • In general, avoid foods that aren’t braces-friendly.If you and your dentist decide that metal braces are the right choice for your orthodontic needs, some things to keep in mind include:
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods that could damage your braces.Certain fruits and vegetables can get stuck in your braces, and should be cut into small pieces.
  • Avoid chewy foods, like caramels or other soft candies
  • Your practitioner will likely give you a list of foods to avoid to keep your braces in good shape and decrease your risk of cavities.
  • Brush and floss appropriately. Taking proper care of your teeth is always important, but it is especially true when you have braces. Brushing and flossing regularly will keep your braces looking good and help you avoid staining to your teeth. Your dentist may recommend you use a special brush designed to get into the crevices and different surfaces in metal braces. It may take some practice to learn how to brush and floss around your braces, but it will get easier with time.
  • You will be wearing your braces for a fairly lengthy period, so it is important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions and care for them properly.
  • While braces may seem like an inconvenience, once the treatment is over, your new smile will be all the reward you need.

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  • The effectiveness of ceramic braces depends on the dental issues an orthodontist needs to correct. For example, traditional braces are a more effective treatment for patients with extreme overcrowding. If you have severe misalignments, your dentist may recommend traditional braces.

  • Ceramic braces are well-suited for many patients without severe misalignments. Orthodontist will let you know if you’re a good candidate for these braces after they examine your teeth. They’ll also let you know if your treatment time will be extended by choosing these braces.

How to care for your braces ?

  • Tiny elastics, known as ligatures, hold the wires to the brackets. It’s possible for these ligatures to become discolored.
  • Avoid highly pigmented foods, like tomato sauce, curries, or berries, can leave stains.
  • Avoid highly pigmented drinks like tea, coffee, or red wine can also leave stains.
  • Avoid smoking & tobacco chewing as that can stain the ligatures as well.
  • Try to avoid any of these foods and drinks to keep your ligatures looking their best. If the ligatures do get stained, it’s not the end of the world. Your orthodontist will change the ligatures when you go in to have your braces adjusted.
  • To keep your braces looking their best, remember to brush your teeth twice a day with  toothpaste. Its fluoride formula strengthens teeth to help prevent cavities. Of course, it’s also important to floss once a day. Flossing with braces can be challenging, but it’s easier with the right tools. You can use an orthodontic floss threader to maneuver the floss underneath the wires of your braces. Then, you can carefully floss between your teeth and along your gumline.

  • Most common questions orthodontists hear from new patients are:
    • The length of treatment
    • Comfort level they will experience in braces
    • How visible will they be


  • Although highly effective (and usually more cost effective), traditional braces are always the subject of scrutiny when it comes to the above issues. Technological advancements in orthodontics are constantly looking at alternatives to improve on the level of discomfort as well as time spent undergoing treatment.One of those alternatives to consider is self-ligating brackets—also known as Damon Braces or Smart Brackets.

What are Self-Ligating Braces?

  • In case of traditional braces, the orthodontist uses elastics to keep the archwire on the bracket.In self-ligating braces, the archwire is held in place by the bracket itself by closing a small, spring-loaded door.
  • Although the popularity of this bracket style has climbed over the last 10 years or so, the system itself has been around since the mid-1930s. There are numerous manufacturers of this type of bracketing system.


Facts you should consider before making a decision about whether to choose traditional braces or self-ligating braces.


Potential Advantages of Self-Ligating Braces:

  • Better Efficiency at visits
  • Patients will be in and out of the office quicker – As closing the door (or gate) on the braces is generally a speedier process than putting elastics around each bracket to hold the archwires in place (as in the case of traditional braces).
  • Evidence suggests that the wire in the bracket slots minimizes the friction and as such the force required to move teeth.
  • Reduce the discomfort (soreness mainly).


Note: There will be reduction in general soreness, it doesn’t completely remove it.

  • Faster treatment


Note: There have been claims made that self-ligating braces have helped to shorten treatment time by up to six months, but it can be dependent on what type of malocclusion is being addressed as well as the severity of it.

  • Stick Free


Note: One of the annoyances experienced by the typical braces-wearer is that the latex material on the elastics and rubber bands is notorious for trapping food, and providing the perfect environment for plaque to form. Self-ligating braces eliminate the need for elastics, so those wearers who might not be as fastidious with their cleaning and flossing will experience much cleaner smiles during their treatment.


Appearance options:Self-ligating braces come in both metal and clear brackets, so those concerned about the appearance of their braces can choose a less conspicuous route.

  • You already know about the traditional metal braces placed on the front of the teeth. What sets lingual braces apart is in their placement on the back of the teeth. Lingual braces are virtually invisible, and that’s the main reason eligible patients choose them. This partly explains why they are more common among adults than children. One other advantage is if you play a wind instrument or a sport, lingual braces are easier to adapt to than traditional braces. Keep in mind that you’ll have to search for an orthodontist who offers lingual braces. Not all practices offer them because dentists need to take continuing education courses in order to learn to use the equipment required to place the braces

  • Lingual braces can be more difficult to get used to than traditional braces because the positioning of linguals affects your tongue. At first, you may find that swallowing without using a tongue thrust (placing the tongue between your teeth when swallowing) is difficult, and talking is a little tricky – not to mention that tongue thrusting places force on your teeth that can lead to more dental issues. You may need to consciously practice not using a tongue thrust when swallowing by gently touching your teeth together and then swallowing. For talking, consider over-enunciating certain words for several weeks after getting your braces.

  • Sometimes the overall treatment time using linguals is longer than with traditional braces, but it is relative both to the orthodontist and to your cooperation in caring for your teeth and braces while wearing them. You have to be even more diligent about cleaning your teeth, because the placement of lingual braces makes it harder to check whether you have brushed away all the food particles when brushing.

  • Cleaning Your Teeth with Lingual Braces

  • Keeping your teeth clean is important, no matter what type of braces you choose. Food easily gets stuck in the brackets and wires and can cause plaque to form and tooth decay. Brush after every meal, making sure that you brush each tooth at the gum line and both above and below the brackets of your braces. Because lingual braces are on the back of your teeth, you should pay special attention to brushing back there. You may find that a toothbrush with a narrow tip which makes it easier to access the back of your teeth.

  • Invisible braces are designed for adults and older teenagers but are not recommended when baby teeth remain. Children and younger teenagers faced with orthodontic problems will require traditional metal braces with brackets/wires on the front of the teeth. However, only your dentist or orthodontist can determine if you are a candidate. The alternative treatment was designed primarily for adults due to the need for absolute and rigid cooperation; the “trays” are worn 22 hours per day and should not be forgotten or lost.
  • Popular types of invisible braces include ceramic brackets, inside braces and clear aligners. Ceramic braces are just like metal braces, except that they use tooth-colored brackets (and sometimes tooth-colored wires) rather than metal to straighten teeth. Generally non-staining, the tooth-colored ceramic “blends” with your teeth, making them less noticeable than metal, but not as “invisible” as inside braces or clear aligners. Inside braces — also called inside invisible braces, lingual braces or “iBraces” — and clear aligners go one step further, making treatment virtually invisible. Each alternative has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • “Ceramic, or “clear,” braces are made of composite materials that are weaker and more brittle than their metal counterpart. Ceramic brackets are larger than metal brackets and require small rubber bands, or ligatures, (or built in spring clips on “self ligating” brackets) to hold them to the arch wire. Because the ligatures are white or clear, they can stain. However, staining is not a big problem because ligatures are changed every time you get an adjustment (generally monthly). The “self ligatiing” clips do not require retying with wires or elastics.
  • Also like metal braces, ceramic brackets are not removable until treatment is completed, can produce irritation and discomfort, and may complicate regular tooth care, eating and speaking.
  • Because they are not as strong as metal braces, clear braces require a longer treatment time, since your orthodontist may need to apply a slower, more gradual force to ensure the strength capabilities of the clear brackets are not overtaxed. Ceramic brackets also are usually more expensive than traditional metal brackets. As a cost-saving measure, some patients may opt to have ceramic braces placed only on the most visible teeth — typically the upper teeth or just the upper center teeth — while using traditional metal brackets on the remaining teeth that need straightening. Also, there is some possibility of tooth abrasion if the incisal edges of the upper front teeth touch the lower ceramic brackets.

  • Discomfort: It is normal for your teeth to ache for 3-5 days after the brace has been fitted -pain killers such a paracetamol will help. Each time the brace is adjusted it may also be sore for 1-2 days. It takes a while to get used to the feel of the brace and initially you may get discomfort and ulceration. A gel for mouth ulcers and orthodontic wax will help. To use the orthodontic wax, break a little piece off, roll it into a ball and stick it to the brace. This will act as a temporary barrier until the ulcer heals.

  • Hard and sticky foods: Initially you will have to eat very soft foods as the teeth may be sore and the glue may not be fully set. Once everything has settled down it is necessary to avoid certain food such as apples, raw carrots, crusty bread rolls, hard and chewy sweets, nuts etc. These may break your brace and prolong your treatment.

  • Staining of the teeth :Your teeth are at risk of marking/staining during your treatment if you are not careful. This can be caused by a combination of leaving plaque on the teeth and snacking on sugary food and drinks. Neglect will cause swelling and bleeding of your gums, tooth decay and marking/staining of the teeth around the brackets. Once the brace is fitted you will need to spend more time cleaning your teeth. You must clean them after each meal and use an inter-brace brush once a day to clean underneath the wire. We will demonstrate good brushing and then it is up to you to maintain a high standard of brushing.
  • Oral Hygiene: The orthodontist will remove your braces before treatment is complete if your oral hygiene is poor. Fluoride mouth rinse, strengthens the surface of the teeth and helps prevent marks during treatment. Use an alcohol free, fluoride mouth rinse such as fluoriguard or swirl once a day for one minute and do not rinse with water after use. Ideally, use this at a different time to brushing. An orthodontic cleaning kit is available at reception which contains mouth rinse, wax, interbrace brush and a travel toothbrush.
  • If your brace breaks: This is likely to increase the length of treatment. You will need an extra visit to have the brace repaired, which will involve you, and your orthodontist additional time. Following our instructions can avoid this.

Remember that you should continue to visit your own dentist for regular check-up’s and any necessary treatment during your orthodontic treatment.


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