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Here you can find some simple answers related to Orthodontics.

What is Orthodontics?

The process of straightening teeth, is called Orthodontics. It may be loosely defined as the science of moving teeth, straightening irregular, crowded or improperly placed teeth. Sometimes the size and position of the upper and lower jaws contribute to poorly positioned teeth. Treatment in these cases is directed at intercepting / correcting these jaw discrepancies by using certain extraoral devices called Head gears. This is called Dentofacial Orthopaedics. Orthodontists are specialist dentists who exclusively provide Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopaedic Care.

Who requires Orthodontic Treatment?

Anyone with malaligned or irregular teeth, buck teeth, crowded teeth, overlapping teeth, rabbit teeth or ones with gaps in between may require orthodontic treatment.

Why do teeth become irregular?

There are numerous reasons for malaligned or irregular teeth. Problems can arise from early or premature loss of milk teeth, abnormal growth patterns, injuries and hereditary factors. Habits such as finger and thumb sucking, mouth breathing and tongue thrusting are also recognized as contributing factors to many orthodontic problems.

What is the best age for Orthodontic Treatment?

There are no hard and fast rules for the commencement of treatment because every problem is different. However, most orthodontists would prefer to see a patient for the first time at seven or eight years of age to consider the possibilities of intercepting any problems. Commonly, children are treated once the permanent (adult) teeth have erupted or are due to erupt, if the problem is essentially overcrowding of the teeth. There are however advantages to treating problems related to habits or facial bone imbalances at an earlier time.

Treatment of Adults for orthodontic problem is markedly increasing. Adults can definitely benefit tremendously from Orthodontic Treatment. Sometimes, jaw relationships in adults may be seriously hampered to warrant Orthodontics with Surgical procedures.

Why do some patients need to extract teeth and some not?

In some cases a patient may need to get certain small teeth extracted in order to create space to move teeth backwards or inwards. Teeth are only removed after serious consideration. All the extraction spaces would be closed up by the end of the treatment. However, if the patient is under the care of a qualified orthodontist at a young age and the problem is not severe, then the entire treatment may be carried out without tooth removal. It is critical therefore to consult an Orthodontist at the earliest sign of irregular teeth.
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Is the treatment painful?

The appliances are going to feel strange at first and you have the tendency to pick the wires and bands with your fingers-this you must not do. Try to keep your mind occupied with other things and you will soon forget the appliance.

After each visit to your Orthodontist, you will have some discomfort. Your teeth may be quiet sore for a few days. This is to be expected and is an indication that the teeth are moving.

If you have a sharp spot in your appliance that is irritating your cheek, roll a little piece of beeswax into a small ball and press it over the rough spot. If no beeswax is available, immediate relief can be obtained by placing paraffin wax, chewing gum, or a small piece of cotton over the area.

What does the treatment involve?

Orthodontic treatment commonly involves fixing of braces to the teeth and aligning or straightening them out. Certain conditions may require the use of a Head gear or other growth modification appliances.

The orthodontic appliances (braces) you have just had placed or that you may soon have, are extremely delicate. They must be given the same care as a fine watch in order for them to function properly and do their job in the least amount of time. Not only must they be given enough care in order for them to do their job, but as a matter of personal health they must be kept clean.

Arch Wire –- The main wire that connects all the teeth.  Band -– The “ring” of metal that is made to fit around each individual tooth. Bracket – The piece projecting from each tooth that holds the arch wire. Buccal Tubes – Tubes on the molar bands.  Elastics – Small rubber bands Intermaxillary Hooks – Hooks in the arch wire, usually circular, in front of your teeth for engaging ‘elastics’. Ligature Wires – Small thin stainless steel wires that hold the arch wires to the brackets. Lock Pins – Small gold or silver coloured pins which hold the arch wires into the brackets. Elastomeric Modules – Small elastic rings which hold the arch wires into the slot in the newer pre-adjusted appliances. Retainer – A hard pink or clear plastic appliance that usually fits your teeth to hold them in their new position after active Orthodontic Treatment. It has one or more wires to help hold it in place. Separating Springs or Wires -– These are placed between certain of your teeth in order to separate them slightly. They are usually in place for only one to two weeks.

Remember that this is merely an “Orthodontic Dictionary” and that you do not have to wear all the items listed. If you read it carefully, you will understand more clearly what your Orthodontist is talking about at each visit.

Can I continue to eat my favourite foods? Do I have to modify my diet?

Besides protecting your teeth by the proper diet, you must protect your appliances in order that they do the job as fast as possible. The wires are very small and hard foods will break or bend them. You can continue to eat your favourite foods but they will have to be prepared specially. Your food will have to be softened, or cut into small pieces or be well-cooked before eating. Ice creams may be had as usual but corn will have to be shredded / sliced off the cob, hard fruits will need to be sliced, nuts and chikki ground and sticky chocolate must not be eaten at all.

Foods that have to be avoided are popcorn, sticky chocolates, hard nuts and fruits, with hard crusts and chewing gum. These foods can break or loosen your braces making you uncomfortable and can delay treatment.

How should I clean my teeth now?

Brushing with braces on your teeth requires a little more effort than, if you didn’t have any:

  1. Use an orthodontic toothbrush or any soft bristled toothbrush
  2. Brush twice a day in gently circular motions with special emphasis to dislodge food that is lodged between teeth and the braces. Use a mouthwash to rinse additionally.
  3. You may continue to use your regular brand of tooth paste.
  4. Never allow plaque of food to accumulate on the teeth and braces.
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What else do I have to do during treatment?

You may have to wear small elastic bands which you need to change regularly. You must wear your rubber bands all the time-except when you brush. This is the part of your treatment that depends on your co-operation. The conscientious wearing of these elastics is what separates a good patient form a poor one. Your Orthodontist will soon be able to tell whether or not you are wearing your elastics as you should be.

Always be sure you understand exactly where each elastic is hooked and that you can do it yourself. Carry a supply of the correct sizes of elastics with you at all times so that you can replace one if it breaks. Ordinarily, you must replace the elastics with new ones every alternate day, mornings, after brushing your teeth. Your Orthodontist may have special instructions concerning the changing of your elastics.

Wearing of elastics is much like rolling a ball up a hill. It takes a gentle constant effort to accomplish both jobs; but if you let up or do not wear your rubber bands for the least bit of time, you will lose all the movement you have gained in the past 24 hours. The ball will be back at the bottom of the hill.

If you find yourself low on elastics call on us and we will give you more. Never wear more elastics than instructed. Report any untoward change or damage to the braces immediately.

Never attempt to “fix” your appliances yourself. If you feel something has broken or bent, call our office for advice.

Your appointments are arranged to save you unnecessary trips to the office. Be careful to avoid any damage to your appliance so that you need not make unnecessary extra trips to our office and pay extra for breakages.


The teeth have to be held in their new position after completion of fixed appliances treatments using certain removable appliances called Retainers. This phase of treatment is called Retention. This retention phase is continued until such time as the teeth have been stabilized in the bone. The retention appliance will initially be worn full-time. After a number of months it is only necessary to wear the appliance at night. Retention differs from case to case and instructions about this will be give by your Orthodontist. It is very important to regard retention as an integral part of treatment. Should this phase be neglected, all the good work can be undone and the whole process may have to be repeated.

Does this treatment affect my performance at School / Work / Sports?

Not at all.You will only need to take reasonable care of your braces during contact sports like boxing, football, hockey, cricket etc. to prevent damage to the braces and injury to the teeth and lips. Fixed appliances will not affect your speech in any way as they are usually fixed on the outer surface of your teeth.


Recently, technically advanced and more comfortable. Fixed Orthodontic Appliance System have been introduced which have Pre-adjusted, Programmed and individualized brackets. Unlike the traditional fixed appliance systems they do not require lock pins to hold the wires in place in the bracket slot. Instead they use small elastomeric modules or rings. This makes it a much more superior appliance in terms of treatment results, comfort and sometimes shorter treatment duration as well. This appliance is called a Pre-adjusted Appliance or ‘Straight wire appliance’.

Invisible Ceramic Braces: In addition to comfort, aesthetically superior and invisible ceramic braces are fast gaining popularity. You too can have them!

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