Frequently asked questions
We are sure you must have a lot of questions you would like answered and it is likely that the response you are looking for is on this page. We have gathered the questions that our patients ask us most frequently and we have answered them concisely for you.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specialising in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these kinds of problems is “malocclusion” which means “bad occlusion or bite”. The practise of orthodontics requires specific professional training for the design, application and monitoring of braces to give teeth, lips and jaws their correct alignment and therefore achieve perfect facial balance.
An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The orthodontist is a stomatologist or dentist who has completed his/her training with the specialty of orthodontics which involves a complementary programme of three years of university studies and whose professional practise is limited to this specialty.
Children and adults can benefit from an orthodontic treatment because the teeth can be moved to their correct position at any age. However, given that the proper monitoring of the growth of the jaws is essential for correct orthodontic treatment, it is recommended that children undergo an orthodontic check-up by the age of 7. Some orthodontic problems are corrected more easily if early treatment is carried out. Waiting until the appearance of the adult teeth or until jaw growth is complete can make the orthodontic treatment more complicated..
In any event, an orthodontic check-up is advisable whenever any problem related to the position of the teeth is detected.
Although not all are, the majority of malocclusions are hereditary. Crowded teeth, too much space between the teeth, missing teeth or too many teeth, and an extensive list of mandibular, dental or facial irregularities are also hereditary.
The non-hereditary ones can be the result of trauma (accident), sucking your thumb, fingers or a dummy, respiratory obstruction by the tonsils or polyps, dental conditions or premature loss of baby or adult teeth. Whether hereditary or acquired, some of these problems do not only affect the alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance.
Crowding: The teeth can be poorly aligned because the dental arch is small or the teeth are large. The bone and the gums on the roots of a mouth that has crowded teeth can become thin and recede as a result of this crowding. Impacted teeth (teeth that should have come out but have not done so), bad occlusion and an undesired appearance can be the results of crowding.
Protrusion of the upper teeth: The upper teeth that protrude beyond their normal closure tend to cause problems. Often, they indicate poor closing of the back teeth (particularly the molars) and can also indicate unequal growth of the jaws. Frequently, protruding upper teeth are associated with a lower jaw that is short in comparison to the upper jaw. The habit of sucking your fingers can also lead to this result.
Overbite: overbite occurs when the lower incisors (the front teeth) close below the upper teeth and are hidden by such. When the lower front teeth close behind, they tend to bite the palate area or the inner gum of the upper teeth, leading to a wearing of the palate bone and a heightened degree of discomfort. It also leads to greater wearing away of the upper incisors.
Open bite: an open bite occurs when the upper and lower incisors do not touch when trying to close the teeth together or bite. This effect involving a lack of closure of the front teeth transfers all of the bite pressure to the back teeth. This excessive pressure leads to chewing becoming insufficient and causes significant erosion and wearing away of the teeth.
Dental spaces: If any teeth are missing or teeth are small or the dental arch is very wide, open spaces can appear between the teeth. Normally, this situation can lead to sores on the gums as well as an unpleasant appearance.
Crossbite: The most common case of crossbite is when the upper teeth close on the inside (towards the tongue) of the lower teeth when biting. Orthodontic surgery is very common in these cases due to the discomfort that this anomaly causes when chewing.
The lower teeth protrude: it is an anomaly that arises in small proportion and occurs when the lower teeth are more advanced than the upper teeth. The performance of correct monitoring of the growth of the jaws is necessary in order to be able to correct this problem from the start.
Teeth that are twisted or in a bad position are difficult to clean and maintain in good health. This can lead to the appearance of tooth decay, gum conditions and the loss of teeth. Other unresolved orthodontic problems can lead to the surfaces of the teeth being in poor condition, inefficient chewing, heightened stress on the gum tissue and bones that hold the teeth, poor alignment of the jaw and its joints which can cause chronic headaches or pains in the face or the neck.
If orthodontic problems are not treated, they can worsen. Treatment provided by a specialist to correct them costs less than what it would cost to resolve the unresolved and even worsened problems due to the lack of orthodontic treatment.
The value of a good smile should not be underestimated. A healthy appearance is essential for self-esteem. This improves as the orthodontic treatment aligns teeth, lips and the face into their corresponding locations and to their correct proportions. In this sense, orthodontic treatments can also benefit people socially and professionally, as well as improve the person’s attitude towards life.
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The cost of a treatment depends on many factors, from the difficulty of the patient’s problem to the type of technique chosen to resolve it. It is a matter that is resolved after performing the corresponding diagnosis before beginning the treatment. The majority of the orthodontists tend to offer payment plans that meet the needs of each person and make the cost of the treatment affordable.
In general, the duration of the active period of an orthodontic treatment can last from 12 months to three years. Interceptive treatments or early treatments can even last less. The duration depends on the type of problem the patient has and the cooperation shown by the patient throughout the treatment.
Compared to the benefits of such, an orthodontic treatment takes a very small part of our time. Healthy teeth and a lovely smile will last us our whole lives. Correctly aligned teeth look better, work better, contribute to overall physical wellbeing and improve self-confidence.
Many people notice some discomfort at the beginning of the treatment, when the first brace is positioned. Once positioned, the teeth can become sensitive and experience pressure for four or five days. The patient can overcome these sensations with a simple painkiller such as that taken for a headache. The orthodontist can recommend the best solution for these symptoms that appear at the beginning. The lips, cheeks and the tongue can also become irritated in the first and second week of treatment until the patient gets used to the braces.
Patients with braces should avoid eating hard or sticky food. They should not bite pens or pencils because biting hard items can damage the braces. If the braces become damaged, it can lead to longer treatment and extra visits to the orthodontist.
Keeping teeth and the braces clean requires more time and a more precise brushing of the teeth, and must be performed on a daily basis to keep teeth and gums healthy during the treatment. Not cleaning teeth properly can result in more visits to the professional to perform a deep clean.
The orthodontists and their assistants tend to teach patients how to care for their teeth, gums and braces during the treatment. They will explain to the patient and their family how often they need to brush their teeth, how to use additional items to maintain hygiene (dental floss, interproximal brushes, dental mouthwashes, dental showers and so on) and any other care that they must take to maintain excellent oral health.
A successful orthodontic treatment is a two-way street that requires the cooperation and effort of the orthodontist and the patient. To complete the treatment plan successfully, the patient must keep meticulous oral hygiene, use the devices that the specialist recommends and arrive for appointments on time. Broken braces or braces in poor condition can extend the period of treatment and have undesired effects for such. Teeth can only be moved to their location using forces applied correctly by the prescribed braces.
The patient should continue to visit the normal dentist regularly for the duration of the orthodontic treatment. In the case of adult patients with periodontal problems it may also be necessary to follow correct treatment with a periodontist.