Drs. Tom Ryan DDS, John Athos DDS, Bohdanna Czerniak DMD and the team at North Creek Dental Care are pleased to provide professional and caring dental services to their patients from Tinley Park IL and the surrounding communities. Our dental services include: adult, children's, cosmetic, family, general, implant, laser, preventive, restorative and sedation dentistry.
As braces have become less bulky and visible in recent years, more and more adults are wearing them, for a variety of reasons. Some adults want to correct problems with their teeth or jaws before they cause serious or further damage. Others want to feel better about their appearance by addressing longstanding cosmetic concerns. Keep in mind that even "cosmetic" problems can cause real damage over time. Teeth and jaws that are not aligned properly can lead to premature wear and tear, advanced tooth decay and gum disease, dentures or other reconstructive solutions and even more extensive surgery to correct serious problems.
New techniques and the advent of clear, less noticeable braces means that adults are increasingly turning to braces to correct:
Gaps between teeth (spacing)
Teeth that push against one another (crowding)
How do I know if adult braces are right for me?
If you think you might benefit from braces, ask your dentist to recommend an orthodontist — someone specially trained to fix problems with teeth that are not aligned properly. The orthodontist will look at your teeth and maybe take X-rays to study the underlying bone structure. Based on what he or she finds, a treatment plan will be recommended. While braces are a popular option for fixing misaligned teeth, an orthodontist can tell you whether you may benefit more from other types of orthodontics like removable retainers, headgear or aligners.
Braces and orthodontic treatment are used to correct “bad bites,” or malocclusion (teeth that are crowded or crooked). In some cases your teeth may be straight, but your upper and lower jaws may not meet properly. These jaw or tooth alignment problems may be inherited or could result from injury, early or late tooth loss, or thumbsucking.
If you have an abnormal bite your dentist may recommend braces or another orthodontic treatment to straighten out your smile. Correcting the problem can create a nice-looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Not correcting an abnormal bite could result in further oral health problems, including:
affected speech and/or chewing
abnormal wear to tooth enamel
Straightening your teeth can be accomplished in different ways. The kind of orthodontic treatment you have will depend on your preference and the options provided by your dentist or orthodontist. Traditional braces realign teeth by applying pressure. They usually consist of small brackets cemented to your teeth, connected by a wire, which is periodically tightened by your dentist or orthodontist to gradually shift your teeth and jaw. The brackets may be metal or tooth colored. Sometimes they are placed behind your teeth. Under the direct supervision of a dentist or orthodontist, removable aligners are another option for treating orthodontic problems.
Orthodontic treatment may be provided by your dentist or an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. It will depend on the orthodontic experience of your dentist and the severity of your case.
Since abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. That doesn’t mean that adults can’t have braces; healthy teeth can be orthodontically treated at any age.
Treatment plans will vary based on your situation, but most people are in treatment from one to three years. This is followed by a period of wearing a retainer that holds teeth in their new positions. Today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before. Newer materials apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments.
While you have braces it’s important to maintain a balanced diet for the health of your teeth. Of course, a healthy diet is always important, but eating too many sugary foods with braces can lead to plaque build-up around your brackets that could permanently stain or damage your teeth. Avoiding foods like popcorn, corn on the cob, chewing gum, whole apples, and other sticky foods is also a good idea. Ask your dentist about foods to avoid while you are in treatment. Not all of us are born with beautiful smiles, but with a good oral hygiene routine, and a little help from orthodontics, you can have a beautiful and healthy smile.
Braces can correct misaligned teeth to improve your smile and your dental health, but braces pain can make you uncomfortable.
How Braces Work
Knowing a bit about how braces work can help you prepare for the braces pain you might experience. Braces place continuous pressure on the teeth to slowly move them into a different position. The key components of braces are:
Brackets: A bracket is attached to each tooth or to a band placed around the tooth. Brackets hold the wires that actually cause the teeth to move. Braces pain associated with brackets may include pain from the band or the brackets.
Wires: The wires used for braces are known as arch wires. They are attached to the brackets, and an orthodontist adjusts them at regular visits. Sometimes braces pain occurs soon after the braces are adjusted.
Benefits Of Braces
Braces pain can be uncomfortable, but wearing braces to improve your bite can help to eliminate other types of mouth and tooth pain caused by misaligned teeth. Other benefits of braces include:
Easier Oral Care: Straight teeth are easier to clean, so you will be at less risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Increased Confidence: When braces have corrected your misaligned teeth, you’ll enjoy the improved self-confidence that comes with a healthy smile.
What Causes Braces Pain?
The exact cause of braces pain is unknown, but it may be attributed to internal or external factors.
Internal: Some research has shown that braces pain may be caused by changes in blood flow that occur when the braces apply pressure to the teeth.
External: The physical rubbing of the brackets and wires can cause braces pain in the soft tissue inside the mouth. This type of braces pain usually lessens with time, as the tissues become tougher. Sometimes one of the arch wires can cause braces pain by poking into the back of the mouth, but orthodontic wax can usually relieve this.
How to Relieve Pain from Braces
Many products are available to provide relief of braces pain. For pain associated with the pressure of the braces, try over the counter pain relieving products. Tablets or capsules such as Motrin or Advil can provide relief of braces pain, or you can use topical pain relieving products. Ask your dentist for recommendations if your braces pain persists. In addition, toothpaste, mouth rinse, and dental floss designed for sensitive teeth such as those in the Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield regimen can help relieve tooth pain. (1), (2)
Try these additional tips to relieve braces pain:
Eat Soft Foods: If you tend to experience braces pain after an orthodontic adjustment, stick to soft foods, such as Jello®, pasta, and soft-cooked vegetables for the first day or so.
Protect Your Braces: If you play contact sports while wearing braces, be sure to use a mouth guard. Being hit or falling during sports can cause brackets to break or wires to come loose, which causes braces pain and adds to the expense of orthodontic care.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
While brushing teeth with braces may be a bit challenging it’s even more important for people with braces to brush properly. That’s because food particles can easily get caught in your braces, which can lead to harmful plaque bacteria that can cause gum disease. Effectively brushing teeth with braces is very important for your long-term oral health.
How to Clean Braces
Ask your dental professional for a brush that's specifically designed for brushing teeth with braces. These brushes are made to reach in between all brackets and hardware.
Brushing teeth with braces takes a bit longer than it does without braces. Brush from top to bottom and in between all braces. Take your time to ensure you keep your teeth healthy and protected while you wear braces.
Brush more often, including after every snack or meal.