Orthodontic Treatment Procedure
The first step in the process involves a consultation with Dr. van Zyl to determine whether orthodontic treatment is right for your needs. He will perform a thorough evaluation of the teeth, gums, and jaw, and will also review digital images and X-rays to get an in-depth understanding of your condition before mapping out your treatment plan.
- Each bracket is cemented onto each individual tooth.
- A wire will run through the brackets and is held in position with tiny rubber bands.
- The wire gently places the right amount of pressure onto the teeth to shift them into their correct position.
- The patient will return to our office every three to four weeks so Dr. van Zyl can tighten the wire, thus applying even more pressure to move the teeth.
- Rubber bands may also be hooked from the top braces to the bottom to manipulate the position of the jaw, correcting a misaligned bite.
Braces are typically worn for one to two years, depending on the patient’s case. After the braces are removed, a removable retainer will need to be worn for up to a year so the teeth remain fixed in their new position.
Candidates for Braces
Dr. van Zyl suggests that patients come in for an orthodontic evaluation as early as nine years old. Patients typically wear braces in their pre-teens and teens, as the teeth and occlusion (bite) are easier to guide into their correct position. However, more and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment as well. Virtually anyone with healthy teeth and gums is a candidate for orthodontics to correct:
- Misaligned or twisted teeth
- Overbite, crossbite, or underbite
- Overcrowded or widely spaced teeth
- Uneven, misshaped, or incorrectly positioned teeth
- Incorrect jaw position – TMJ disorder
- Protruding front teeth
Benefits of Braces
The benefits of braces include:
- Enhance appearance; achieve perfect, beautiful smile
- Boost self-confidence
- Improve oral hygiene
- Reduce risk of decay or disease
- Improve eating and speaking ability
- Long-lasting results – even forever in most cases
- Alleviate pain or discomfort caused by TMJ disorder
Risks or Side Effects of Braces
Patients may experience some discomfort after each appointment due to tightening of the wires causing the teeth to shift. Proper oral hygiene is imperative while wearing braces, as food and plaque can become trapped causing decay, disease, or staining. We will provide instructions for proper hygiene techniques with braces. Additionally, patients need to avoid certain foods, such as popcorn and hard candy, to avoid a bracket popping off. If a bracket does pop off, you will need to see Dr. van Zyl to replace it.
Once the braces come off, the patient must continue to wear their retainer as often as possible. If you stop wearing your retainer too soon, you risk the teeth shifting back into their original position.