Clear braces

Treatment information

General treatment information

Orthodontic treatment depends for much of it's success on the understanding and co-operation of patients and this information is provided to assist you. As with all forms of medical and dental treatment orthodontic treatment has some risks and limitations. Fortunately, in orthodontics these are seldom severe enough to avoid treatment but nevertheless they should be considered when making a decision to undergo orthodontic treatment. The benefit, risks and limitations of orthodontic treatment are listed below.

BENEFITS-: Orthodontic treatment provides straight teeth, healthier teeth and gums and a better bite for normal chewing.

RISKS-: Tooth decay and permanent markings (decalcification) on the teeth can occur if orthodontic patients eat foods containing excessive sugar and/or do not brush their teeth frequently or thoroughly. Inflamation of the gums and loss of the supporting bone can occur if bacterial plaque is not removed daily with good oral hygiene. These same problems can occur without orthodontic treatment, but the risk is greater to an individual wearing appliances.

In some patients the length of roots of the teeth may be shortened during orthodontic treatment. Some patients are prone to this happening, some are not. Usually this does not have significant consequences, but on rare occasions it may be a threat to the longevity of the teeth involved.

A tooth may have been traumatised by a previous accident or a tooth may be decayed or have large fillings and the nerve of the tooth may be damaged. Superimposed orthodontic tooth movement in some cases can aggravate this condition.

LIMITATIONS-: FURTHER TOOTH MOVEMENT-: Teeth can move at any time throughout life, whether or not there has been orthodontic treatment. When fixed appliances are removed, removeable appliances are generally used to complete the treatment and retain the teeth in their new positions. Teeth may have the tendency to change their positions after treatment, this tooth movement is usually only a minor change and faithful wearing of retainers will reduce this tendency. The appliances are usually worn full time for a period of time , and then at night for at least two years after fixed appliances are removed. Periodic reviews are advisable to ascertain the long term stability of the new position of the teeth and for assessment of third molars, (wisdom teeth). To prevent movement of the teeth in the long term it is recommended retainers are worn once a week at night.

FAILURE TO ACHIEVE TREATMENT OBJECTIVES-: In some cases atypical formation of teeth, or insufficient or abnormal changes in growth of jaws may affect the quality of treatment results. Failure to wear appliances as directed can also affect the quality of the result achieved.

Specific treatment information

TREATMENT TIME-: The total time required to complete treatment may exceed the estimate. Poor co-operation in wearing the appliances, poor oral hygiene, broken appliances and missed appointments can lengthen the treatment time and affect the quality of results.

DISCOMFORT-: The gums, cheeks or lips may be scratched or irritated by newly placed appliances, and instructions will be given about how to deal with this. After adjustments of appliances tooth tenderness should be expected for 24 to 48 hours on average. Should a band or bracket loosen or a wire break, please contact the surgery as soon as possible for advice.

DIET-: Throughout treatment, tough, sticky or hard foods should be avoided so as to prevent damage to the appliances. Large nuts, sticky sweets or blocks of ice should not be eaten. Apples, carrots, celery or similar foods should be cut into small pieces before chewing.

TOOTH BRUSHING AND RINSING-: Teeth and gums should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed after each meal or snack. Vigorous rinsing with water is benficial and should always be done if it is not possible to brush the teeth.

CO-OPERATION-: Orthodontic treatment requires absolute co-operation from the patient. Without this, a successful and stable result is not possible. When elastics or headgear (night brace) are used, they must be worn in strict accordance with instructions. Failure to do so, or intermittent wear, could extend treatment time considerably and limit the quality of the rest that can be achieved.

APPOINTMENTS-: Appointments will be made at 8 week intervals whenever possible at times convenient to you. Appointments during treatment with fixed appliances will generally be within the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm.

DENTAL EXAMINATIONS-: Regular dental examinations are recommended throughout treatment.

SPORT-: A mouthguard can be constructed over fixed appliances for contact sports such as football or hockey. This is a bulky device allowing for tooth movement. Alternatively a removable lip guard can be provided for sports with less risk of injury.

SPECIAL EVENTS-: Clear braces are used to make appliances as inconspicuous as possible. Appliances can be removed on request from the upper front teeth for special events however this will attract a fee.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Beverley Hookey.