Health Topics

Healthy Living

March 2012
Brace Up!
Dr Pradeep Reddy
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with correction of malocclusions, which
may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships or both.

Dental braces are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth positions in regard to bite and also improve the dental health and aesthetics thereby.

  • Dental braces are normally recommended for the correction of crooked teeth, overbites, spacing between teeth, misaligned jaw or any other functional problem.
  • Choosing the right kind of braces is very important. t An orthodontist will diagnose the problem and decide the treatment plan.
  • The orthodontist then suggests the different options of braces for treatment depending on whether the braces are for kids, teens or adults.
  • Now a days there are many varieties of braces available but all varieties might not suit the patients.
Factors determining the right type of braces
  • Age of the patient
  • Severity of the problem
  • Are there any extractions required?
  • Does it need any orthogenetic surgery (jaw surgery)?
  • Whether any myofunctional appliance (head gear) is needed
  • Time duration of the treatment
  • Patient’s affordability
  • Orthodontic preference
  • Patient’s preference (metal, ceramic, invisalign, lingual braces)
Types of braces
  • Metallic braces
  • Ceramic braces (tooth coloured)
  • Invisalign (invisible tray system)
  • Lingual braces (braces attached from inside)
Avoid soda. It contains an acid which dissolves the cement that holds your braces in place
Oral hygiene
  • Tooth mobility and gum swelling may occur during orthodontic treatment if proper oral hygiene is not maintained throughout.
  • It is important to maintain healthy teeth and gums while having braces. Therefore, brushing after every meal and flossing everyday will help prevent staining & cavities.
  • Prescribed mouthwash should be used twice daily once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Bi-level toothbrushes should be used during orthodontic treatment. These brushes have longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle. This type of brush allows cleaning the area above and below the brackets and the brackets as well.
  • Brushing should be done at least three times a day. It is best to brush after every meal to clean the food trapped in or around braces.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Special flossing products can help you reach into the spaces between the wires and your gum line.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse.
  • Fluoride rinses usually provide enough fluoride to help protect and strengthen teeth during orthodontic treatment.
Dos & Don’ts of Wearing Braces
  • Cut your food into small pieces and eat.
  • Avoid biting with the front teeth.
  • Carrots, apples and corn should be eaten only if they are sliced or grated.
  • Do not drink soda, unless it is artificially sweetened, brush your teeth immediately after as the soda contains an acid which dissolves the cement that
    holds your braces in place. They become loose and trap food beneath leading to cavities.
  • Avoid eating hard food such as nuts, chips, hard candies and ice. They can bend wires and break brackets. Sticky foods including chewing gum, toffees and
    caramels should be avoided.
  • If a bracket or wire becomes loose, call your dentist as soon as possible and fix an appointment.
  • If you play sports, do not go ahead with using the same kind of protection to stop your braces from causing injury in your mouth. Either remove the braces
    altogether or use a mouth guard if you have a fixed one.
  • Do not bite nails or suck your thumb. If the root cause of the problem was this, this habit will continue to force them to stay in the crooked positions even while
    you have the braces.
Dr Pradeep Reddy is In-charge, Apollo Dental Centre Apollo Health City, Hyderabad
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
  • See additional information.