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Teeth After Braces, but what is braces?
Dental braces are used in orthodontics to assist patients straighten and align their teeth, correct overbites and under bites including crooked teeth , crowded and protruding teeth among other dental flaws. Not everyone has a perfect set of teeth but through orthodontic treatment anyone can get that beautiful smile through effective dental care procedures.
There are a variety of braces to choose from depending on the dentist’s recommendation. Braces are available and specifically designed for different age groups as long as the gum is healthy. Braces also help redefine and straighten your teeth thus improving your oral health and brightening up your smile. (1)
The only disadvantage is that braces are quite expensive depending on the age of the patient, type of braces, clinic and health complications. The minimum duration of treatment is about two years but this depends on the amount of work needed to fix the teeth.
However your dental health should not depend entirely on braces. You need to keep enhancing that beautiful smile even after the braces have been removed by considering other treatments such as wearing retainers, teeth reshaping/contouring, bonding and teeth whitening. Here are some treatment options that you should consider.
Care Tips for Teeth After Braces
While braces are meant to create a perfect beautiful smile, retainers ensure that it is maintained and your oral hygiene improves even after the braces have been removed. Retainers also hold together the straightened teeth and correct speech impediments. They are used as a last phase of the orthodontics treatment process after your braces have been removed helping the teeth maintain their initial position.
Another advantage of wearing a retainer is that the teeth are easy to clean thereby reducing cavities. For kids retainers enhance their food chewing process thus obtaining more nutrients from food. A thorough chewing of food increases the production of saliva in the mouth translating to production of more digestive enzymes that inhibit bacteria in the mouth and this helps reduce cavities.
When retainers are worn correctly, the teeth are aligned properly improving your general oral health. Experts have linked poor oral health to diabetes hence its necessary to wear retainers correctly, brush and rinse your teeth thoroughly. (2)
A patient can choose from removable retainers such as Hawley retainer and clear plastic retainer or the fixed bonded retainer that is attached to your teeth (3). For retainers that require to be removed regularly especially during meals, carrying a retainer case is recommended to avoid misplacement and mishandling. Retainers should be cleaned regularly with a toothbrush and paste.
The retainer must be worn correctly as directed by the dentist since teeth could return to their initial position even after wearing braces for a long period of time. Teeth take a long time to adjust.
Some specialized retainers have also been observed to improve breathing for some kids especially those with snoring problems. Initially, the kids may have a problem with wearing the retainer properly and consistently but with time they get used to it and it becomes part of their life.
Teeth Reshaping and Contouring
This is a cost effective and convenient procedure for fixing uneven, chipped and poorly aligned teeth after braces. Orthodontists combine teeth contouring or shaping with a treatment technique known as bonding that involves resin application for an improved appearance of your teeth especially the front teeth.
Contouring involves removal of the tooth enamel using a drill or laser technology by shortening long teeth and reshaping teeth for a proper alignment and a better bite.
The procedure takes a short time after which the teeth are polished and smoothed giving your teeth a perfect and redefined look. Contouring is mostly preferred since its results are instant and its a painless procedure since the tooth enamel does not contain nerves.
Contouring is a permanent procedure that will not require to be redone but it only repairs minor dental defects since the dentist cannot remove the entire tooth structure. It is a completely safe procedure that rectifies uneven and worn teeth surfaces, overlapping teeth and minor chips on the tooth. (4)
Bonding is the application of a colored resin that hardens the teeth. The color is meant to compliment the natural color of teeth. To help the resin stick well, dentists use a conditioning paint on the teeth.
Veneer bonding is also a good alternative to the colored resin and is made from either composite or porcelain. Composites are cost effective alternatives while porcelain is stronger. Veneers last longer than the composite resin but can be worn for a maximum period of 10 years.
Patients must avoid hard substances that can destroy the composite resin. Substances like tea, coffee and tobacco should be avoided for at least 2 days after teeth bonding has been done.
Bonded and reshaped teeth need maximum care to retain their improved appearance especially to prevent staining and chipping. Patients are advised to avoid hard foods or biting hard objects like fingernails or pens.
Your teeth after braces might require whitening. Once braces come off most orthodontic patients develop stains hence teeth whitening is required. This is a process of lightening teeth using available treatment options. It involves use of whitening toothpaste in place of your regular toothpaste. The common teeth whitening gel is peroxide-based which effectively removes stains making them whiter and brighter. (5)
To maintain good oral health after braces is no mean task and it requires dedication and commitment in order to achieve a long lasting smile and confidence. It involves observing a strict oral health routine using the best dental products.
A gentle soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended for brushing teeth after braces to avoid damaging the gums. If possible an electric toothbrush is better as it minimizes the risk of gum recession.
Observing a good oral hygiene after braces is crucial hence you should always undergo regular check ups to maintain that beautiful and healthy smile that you will be proud of. It is important to regularly rinse your mouth after a meal of sugary and stain-causing foods such as tea and coffee.
Braces are meant to help patients achieve a quality oral hygiene thus a good dental aftercare is necessary to achieve this.