Definition and Overview
Braces consultation refers to dental appointments with an orthodontist.
Orthodontics is a sub-specialty in dentistry. While general dentistry is related to overall oral care, including the treatment of gum disease, orthodontics is concerned with teeth and bite correction. It focuses on improving, repairing, and restoring natural bite, chewing ability, and misaligned teeth.
Braces are often compared with retainers since both are oral appliances and helpful in improving bite and alignment of the teeth. However, they are still quite different. For example, braces are needed when the teeth problem is more complex, such as when there’s a significant gap between teeth or the front teeth either protrude or retract prominently. Retainers, on the other hand, can be used if the misalignment isn’t so defined or only minor corrections are needed. Retainers can be worn after braces.
Currently, there are many different types of braces that meet the varying preference and budget of patients. Metal braces are considered traditional, and they are the least expensive. They can also be adorned with colored bands, which make them a hit among teens. However, they are also the most noticeable.
Those who like to have the least noticeable brace may choose Invisalign, which uses transparent medical-grade plastic. With this option, the orthodontist obtains scanned images of the mouth and other dental records and sends them to an Invisalign-accredited lab, which then creates 3D pictures of the braces. These images are sent back to the orthodontist and patient for approval. Once approved, the braces, which can be as many as 30, are delivered. Each invisible tray is worn and replaced every two to three weeks.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Braces are recommended for people who wish to correct their bite and teeth misalignment. These teeth issues may be causing problems with the way they speak, chew, or bite their food. They may also be ideal for people who are conscious about the way they look. Braces can be for aesthetics, as by fixing the smile, men and women would feel more confident about themselves.
Braces are necessary to get rid of tooth gaps, which may be unsightly for some and promote bite issues. In cases where teeth are removed due to overcrowding, braces are used to ensure that the gap left by the treatment is corrected.
The braces may also be ideal for those who are not qualified yet to wear retainers. This could be because teeth alignment and bite issues are significant.
How Does the Procedure Work?
The orthodontist begins his work by understanding the nature of the problem. He will conduct a thorough dental exam, taking note of the condition of the teeth such as if there’s chipping or cracking, staining or cavities. He will also check if there's gum disease or tartar buildup.
He then proceeds with dental X-rays, which will provide a more detailed image of the patient’s mouth.
The orthodontist would also ask questions about previous or present oral health problem, medical history, and expected results from the use of braces. He will also discuss the preferred or ideal type of brace and costs of the procedure.
In the next consultation, the orthodontist prepares the patient’s mouth for the brace installation. Some of the teeth may have to be removed if the mouth is overcrowded or certain teeth will get in the way of achieving the desired results. Impressions are then obtained, which will then be used in creating the braces.
The third consultation is more likely when the braces will be attached, making sure they fit. The orthodontist also provides tips on how to take care of the teeth while with braces as well as the braces themselves. Depending on the quality of the brace and the person’s bite and general oral care, some of the braces can get damaged.
The next consultations revolve around adjusting the braces as the teeth move, as well as tracking the progress of the alignment and bite.
Possible Risks and Complications
Having braces is costly. The braces themselves are pricey, more so if you pick the most durable and advanced type. The price further goes up due to regular visits to the orthodontist, especially since it takes several months or even years before the desired result is achieved.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - AAOS