COOPERATION - Cooperation Moves Teeth
Orthodontics is very different from regular dentistry. The orthodontist and the staff can not do all the work for you. The success of the treatment depends on a partnership between you, the assistants and the orthodontist. Everyone has a job.
The Orthodontist and Staff determine the problem, recommend the treatment, make a plan of action and carry out the plan step by step. They teach the proper diet, efficient hygiene techniques, treatment objectives and how the patient must help.
The Patient understands why the teeth are being straightened and the treatment plan, brushes after eating anything and flosses once each day, avoids hard and sticky foods and minimizes sugar in the diet, always wears headgear, elastics and other appliances that may be needed, keeps all appointments and arrives on time, and reports lost or broken appliances. You have to help. We can do a technically perfect job, but unless you are healthy and working hard the final result will not be successful.
Orthodontic appliances must be adjusted every 4-6 weeks for treatment to proceed as planned. Early morning and late afternoon appointments are reserved for VCE students and adults who cannot arrange time off during the day. This means that younger patients will inevitably miss schooltime but we do our best to run on time to ensure that school time missed is minimal.
Because the schedule is carefully crafted, arriving late or missing appointments can pose a problem as it may not be possible to fit in a time between other scheduled appointments for other patients. In fairness, to these patients it may be necessary to reschedule your appointment. Please let us know as far in advance as possible if you are unable to keep an appointment or if you are likely to be late. This will enable us to find a suitable time and not disrupt the continuity of your treatment.
Along with failure to wear elastics and plates, missed appointments are a major reason for treatment running beyond anticipated treatment time.
If you are having problems with the braces or something has broken, we will bring you in as soon as possible to correct the problem.
An orthodontic appliance is a very precise set of tiny parts. The orthodontist will guide the teeth into a correct position by adjusting the braces. To help understand what is happening during treatment, you should learn about the parts of the braces.
Band: A stainless steel ring that fits around each tooth. Each band has a bracket or tube attached to it. The bands are glued to the teeth with a special adhesive.
Bracket: The part that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.
Ligature: The archwire must be held tightly into each bracket slot. The fine wire or plastic tie that holds the archwire is the ligature.
Archwire: Teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the braces. That pressure comes from the archwire, which guides the direction of the movement.
Headgear: A device with two parts: a soft strap with springs or elastics attached to it and a metal part called a facebow, that fits into the bands or onto archwires. A headgear adds extra force to the braces as they move the teeth. It is usually used to help correct overbites.
Appliances: A general term used for braces or retainers.
Elastics: Rubber bands that hook between two places in the mouth, helping the teeth move. These usually run from the top to the bottom jaw.
Modules: Small o-shaped elastics that normally hold the archwire into each bracket. These can be clear, silver, white or any selection of colours.
Diet considerations can affect the success of orthodontic treatment.
Foods you should eat. Teeth move best when all the body systems are healthy. A balanced diet is important. Choose foods from all four food groups: Meats, Vegetables and Fruits, Cereals and Dairy Products.
Foods that can damage braces. Hard or sticky foods can bend or break the appliances on your teeth. This causes treatment delays. Avoid foods like Minties, Red Skins, carrots (uncooked), hard bread crusts, hard nuts, ice, whole apples or corn on the cob.
Permanent stains, cavities and gum disease are all caused by bacteria that live on teeth in a colorless sticky substance called plaque. Plaque must be removed every day. Braces make it harder to remove plaque. Brackets, bands and archwires create nooks and crannies that are hard to reach, therefore the brushing technique is different.
The brush should be placed against the teeth at an angle. The bristles should be pushed under the wire and between the teeth.
The brush should then be vibrated and moved in small circles in each area of the mouth. This should be done from above and below the archwire. Scrub all over the braces, teeth and gums in a circular motion and do not forget the tongue side and the chewing surfaces. When the brushing is finished, the braces and teeth should be free of food particles and plaque. The braces should be shiny, the gum margin should be distinct and gum tissue should be firm and a light pink color.
Without careful brushing, flossing or diet control, gums develop Gingivitis and have a reddish color at the gum margin and bleed when brushed or flossed, but they may not hurt. If treated properly they can still return to a normal condition. With continued neglect, gums develop Periodontitis and have a color in shades of pink, red and purple, but still may not hurt. They have a smooth and shiny surface, and the infection is still limited to the gums. They also have swollen and ragged margins and may become detached from the teeth. This condition left unattended can turn to Periodonal Disease where infection spreads to the bone and around the teeth and the gums may recede. There is permanent damage to the bone and tooth loss may result. This development still may not hurt.