Orthodontic treatment is treatment to correct irregularities of the teeth or developing jaws and improve the function and appearance of the mouth and teeth.
Why do so many children seem to have orthodontic treatment?
About one third of all children have a demonstrable need for orthodontic treatment and a further third are borderline cases. The causes of these dental anomalies are still somewhat unclear and controversial.
How is treatment carried out?
Orthodontic treatment is carried out with braces of various types. The most common type are train track braces usually in the early teens. Sometimes removable appliances should be worn full time, and although they cover the palate, interference with speech is minimal. Treatment of complex problems is usually started earlier and sometimes removable appliances cover both jaws.
Why are appointments so frequent?
Adjustments need to be carried out every six to eight weeks to assess progress and to keep the brace active.
Why are appointments in school time?
The great majority of orthodontic patients are in full time education and it is not possible to schedule all of their appointments outside of school hours. If there is a real problem with a particular subject it may be possible to vary the timing or the day of the appointments .
Should I expect children to be in pain during treatment?
When an appliance is first fitted there may be some discomfort for a few days. Sometimes the brace can be a little sharp, wax can be applied to any sharp areas. The parent and child will have been educated on how to apply the wax. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be helpful.
How long will the treatment go on?
Normally is it 18 to 24 months.
What if the brace breaks?
If the appliance breaks the patient should contact the orthodontic practice. Patients are given instructions on the care of the appliance and what to do if the appliance is broken. In an emergency some brace wax can be applied to the broken appliance until an appointment can be arranged.
How does orthodontic treatment affect sport?
See section on “Info for sports clubs”. Mouth guards must be worn for all contact sports. There is more risk of cutting the inside of the mouth during contact sports with an orthodontic appliance in place.
How does orthodontic treatment affect playing a musical instrument?
Orthodontic appliances can certainly affect the playing of wind instruments. If the appliance is removable, its’ removal during playing may be advisable. The absence of the appliance for these limited periods will not normally have any adverse effects on treatment. Fixed appliances can cause some difficulty initially during playing especially for brass players, however with persistence most players can overcome any problem successfully. If necessary, the orthodontist can provide soft wax to place over the appliance to help with the problem.
What else should I know?
Some teenagers can feel self conscious about wearing an appliance especially in the first stages. It is helpful if teachers can be discreetly supportive particularly if the child becomes shy or withdrawn. Any teasing or bullying from the other pupils needs to be dealt with appropriately.
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