Frequently asked questions

Child has only milk teeth. Everything seems alright. Why should I consult an Orthodontist?

If the Child is SEVEN YEARS OLD and has only milk teeth, it might be a matter of concern. At approximately seven years of age the front four milk teeth shed off and the permanent teeth - the incisors are on their way into their final position.

The Orthodontist will advise a set of Xray pictures which will help rule out any anamoly within the jaws which might be the reason of the delay.

If the child is BETWEEN FIVE AND SEVEN YEARS OLD and has only milk teeth, it is advisable to visit an Orthodontist, to rule out any developmental problems, psuedo cross bite and if the child has a finger sucking habit, take steps to check the habit earliest possible.

If the child is LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OLD, he/she will surely have only milk teeth and only in the rarest of cases will any treatment be done in this age group (Exception : Cleft lip & palate cases), visiting an Orthodontist at that age will help build a rapport between the child and the Orthodontist.

NOTE : Please remember, the child's first visit to a GENERAL DENTIST or PAEDIATRIC DENTIST, must happen immediately after his/her 1st birthday. Uncontolled cavities on teeth, may at a later date, result in mal- alignment of teeth. All cavities developing on the milk teeth must be restored at the earliest.

Am I wrong if I decide to wait for all milk teeth to fall, before consulting an orthodontist for braces?

You just might miss out on an opportunity.

The last milk tooth normally falls around 11 years of age. By that time, the child has had his/her crucial growth spurt. Orthodontists can use the growth spurt to get the teeth and jaws in their correct positions, if and wherever needed.

Visiting the Orthodontist that late, deprives your child of an opportunity of simple solution to complicated problems.

Is there a right age for braces ?

Perhaps a good time to initiate braces treatment in a child would be around 9 to 11 years of age, when the milk teeth are in the process of falling off, the permanent teeth are on their way and the child is in a rapidly growing phase of life. The Orthodontist, after studying his/her X-ray pictures, teeth arrangement and face structure, would be the best person to recommend initiation of treatment.

Any age can be a good time to visit an orthodontist, and initiate Orthodontic treatment.

The Indian orthodontic Society along with all the Orthodontic Societies in the world, recommend that CHILD’S FIRST VISIT to an orthodontist be around the AGE OF SEVEN YEARS.

To be more specific, when the front four milk teeth, in the upper and/or lower jaw have shed & the permanent teeth are ON THEIR WAY, into position.

Although the Orthodontic treatment is best done during growing years of a child, it is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

How is the treatment initiated

ON THE FIRST VISIT

The doctor will examine your teeth, face & occlusion (how your teeth meet inside the mouth) and advise you about the tentative treatment plan. Orthodontist will advise for a set of radiographs (X-ray pictures) and will also take the measurement of jaws to prepare the models of your teeth, along with a set of photographs.

ON THE SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENT

After studying and analyzing the X-ray pictures, photographs and the models of the teeth, the orthodontist will explain in detail the treatment plan, including, the type of braces to be put, approximate duration of treatment, whether or not few teeth need to be sacrificed  to get the remaining in their best possible positions. The treatment charges & payment schedule are also discussed at this stage!!            

Once you are satisfied with the discussion and doctor's explanation, and give your go-ahead, doctor starts the procedure of getting the braces ready for you.                            

Do I need to get teeth removed for braces treatment ?

Few cases, warrant the need to get teeth to be sacrificed to get the remaining in the most stable & functional position. . The teeth & the number of teeth, which need to be sacrificed, vary from case to case.

The DTI session (The meeting with the doctor where he/she discusses the Diagnosis of the case, Treatment plan proposed and the Investment towards the treatment) is vital in understanding the reasons behind the need for sacrificing teeth, for the braces treatment.

Teeth, once sacrificed, cannot be placed back in the mouth. Hence, it is one of the most critical decisions made by an Orthodontist.

Will removing teeth for braces affect my eyesight or affect me any other way ?!

No.

Removing teeth has no adverse effect on the brain, or, eyesight.

Do I have to put artificial teeth where teeth are removed ?

No. The teeth are removed for the sole purpose of creating space. why would anyone recommend removinga natural tooth, only to put an artificial one in place.

Cases where the front teeth are jutting out, they are moved back into the space created by removing the teeth. Or if the teeth are crooked, the individual tooth can be moved to arrange them in the correct arc, using the extra space made available, when the selected teeth are removed.

 

The exception to the above statement may be true in cases treated with INVISIBLE BRACES. The Orthodontists, in these cases, stick a SHELL of the artificial tooth in the space created where the tooth was removed, to hide the gap created.

 

How are braces fixed on teeth ?

First, the orthodontist will thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. Next, he or she will apply the bonding glue to your teeth and attach the brackets. The glue may taste unpleasant, but is harmless. Finally, the orthodontist will place the archwire in the brackets and secure them with elastic bands.

Modern technology has made it possible to get the entire set of braces fitted on all your teeth within 60 – 90 minutes. Gone are the days when people used to wait for long vacations, to initiate braces treatment, as it used to take a series of long appointments, to get the braces fitted on their teeth. See Myths about braces treatment

 

How does an Orthodontist move teeth ?

To move teeth, the Orthodontist needs to get a hold of it! Earlier, when technology was not as advanced as it is now, orthodontists used to put metal bands around each & every tooth on which an attachment was put through which a wire was passed. The wires were shaped and contoured as per the need to move the teeth from one position to the other.

The (pull/push) force exerted on the teeth, by the shaped wire, through the attachment, moves the teeth from its position to conform itself to the perimeter defined by the shaped wire

 With the advent of technology, the metal bands are restricted to a few teeth only & the attachment can now be directly stuck on the tooth with the help of special dental adhesives. The wire still remains a major force in making the teeth move into the most correct position.

What changes can I expect when I stop wearing the retainers ?

The period of wear of retainers varies from individual to individual. On an average, the retainers are worn about the same number of months the fixed braces were put, scientific articles published in the "American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics" from 1988 to the present, indicate that orthodontic researchers are unsure how long you need to wear your retainer(s). There is no way to predict how your teeth will react when retainer(s) are removed. About half of the undesired tooth movement takes place in the first two years after you stop wearing your retainer(s). Some crowding of the lower front teeth may be part of the aging process similar to grey hair and wrinkled skin.