1. There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment
When most people think of orthodontic treatment, they think of teenagers. But an increasing number of adults are getting braces or aligners (Invisalign). As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, you could benefit from getting your teeth straightened.
Why do adults get their teeth streightened? Usually, their families could not afford braces when they were children. Now that they are adults, they want to improve their smile and their dental health. Some adults had braces as children or teenagers, but didn’t wear their retainers, causing their teeth to become crooked again.
2. Your “bite” is as important as the straightness and aesthetics of your teeth
Many people think that braces only make teeth straight. In fact, they accomplish a lot more than that. An orthodontist evaluates a lot of things when you go in for a consultation. Are your teeth straight? Do they meet properly? Does your tongue stick out of your front teeth? Does your jaw hurt or click? Do you have a lot of crowding or large gaps? Have you lost all your baby teeth? Are your teeth and gums healthy? Do you have problems breathing or speaking?
One of the most important things that orthodontists evaluate is your “bite.” This is the way that your top and bottom teeth meet when you open and close your mouth. Orthodontists are just as concerned with how your mouth functions as they are with making your teeth look great. After all, what good are straight teeth if you can’t chew or speak properly?
3. An Orthodontist has a lot more training than a Dentist
Orthodontists are specially trained in tooth movement and jaw function; dentists are not. Yes, some dentists have taken a few course hours to learn how to do Invisalign or other types of treatment, but that is not the main thing that they do. Would you get heart surgery from a doctor who only operated on hearts once or twice a year? Of course not! Orthodontists first go to dental school and become dentists. Then they attend an Orthodontic program for 3 more years to learn specifically about tooth movement, jaw function, and facial aesthetics. After that, they take a special exam to become registered as a specialist orthodontists.
4. Cost and treatment times vary
Orthodontic treatment is not cheap. The average cost may be between $3,000 and $7,000. Invisalign usually costs a little more.
You will not be expected to pay it all at once. Usually you pay separately for moulds and x-rays. Then when treatment begins, you pay a down-payment, the balance is usually paid over the treatment time.
How long will your treatment last? That depends on your individual case. The average treatment is 22 months. Some practitioners may offer you treatments that take only 6 months. Beware as these may not address all your treatment needs. Get it done properly the first time.
5. If I shift, can I transfer my treatment
If it becomes necessary for you to shift to another city or town your treatment can be transferred to another orthodontist and the treatment costs apportioned accurately at the time of transfer.
6. You will need to take good care of your teeth
When you have braces or aligners, you will need to brush your teeth several times per day, ideally after every meal. This may sound like a big problem, but you’ll get used to it. At the very least, you should rinse your mouth with water after eating. Why bother to spend thousands of dollars and years of your time on your teeth, and then ignore your oral hygiene and diet?
7. Yes, it will hurt for a while
Yes, it hurts to wear braces or aligners at first. It doesn’t hurt to get them put on your teeth; the pain and pressure come a day or two later – a sign that the teeth are starting to move. Not only will your teeth feel sore, but the appliances may rub the insides of your cheeks and lips and may cause mouth ulcers. This is not pleasant, but fortunately this stage will quickly pass. We will assist you through this time. We recommend 6 hourly panadol or nurofen, for the first 3 days.
8. You will need to wear retainers afterward
After your braces come off, your orthodontist will give you a retainer. The type of retainer you need depends on your case. Sometimes orthodontists recommend a bonded permanent retainer to ensure that your teeth do not move at all. Alternatively, removable plastic retainers could be used.
No matter what type of retainer your get, the most important thing is to wear it exactly as the orthodontist tells you. Most people need to wear their retainers 24/7 for at least 6 months, then switch to wearing them only at night when sleeping.
How long will you need to wear your retainers? Forever. That’s right, forever. Your retainer ensures that your teeth will not move. If you have been out of braces for several years, you can switch to wearing it only a few nights per week. But if you stop wearing it totally, you may be asking for trouble.
Keep your retainer in a retainer case.