Amy’s Teeth Straightening Journey
article by Raha Sepehrara
Our nurse Amy has just had metal six-month braces fitted to both her upper and lower teeth. The metal braces were chosen over ceramic braces as they are more cost-effective and perfect for those who are considering braces treatment on a budget but still want perfect results.
The reason that Amy decided to opt for braces treatment was that she had experienced something called post-orthodontic adult relapse. Amy had worn braces to straighten her teeth when she was younger, however because she didn't wear her retainers every day her teeth started to move back to their original position.
The majority of adult patients that we treat have previously had braces treatment and come to see us because their teeth have started to move again (relapse). More often than not the relapse has occurred because retainers were not worn following their treatment every day. There are two types of retainers: a fixed retainer which is a thin wire that is fitted to the back of your teeth, and a removable retainer which looks like a clear gum shield that fits tightly over your newly straightened teeth.
If you are considering teeth straightening treatment of any sort, be sure to ask your dentist if they will be fitting you with both fixed and removable retainers following treatment.
Relapse is something that we see a lot in our clinic for many reasons:
- The importance of retention may not have been explained at the time of removing the braces.
- You may have thought that once you have worn your retainers for a short period of time you wouldn't need them any more.
- The relapse movement of teeth is very slow so initially you won't notice it and then gradually the teeth will move until they are crooked again.
- Once teeth have moved just a small amount your retainers will no longer fit.
Some clinics only provide removable retainers, which means if you forget to wear them your teeth will start to move. At our practice, we fit both fixed and removable retainers and emphasise the importance of wearing your retainers for the rest of your life if you want to keep your teeth straight. The removable retainers are only to be worn at night time.
You will also notice from Amy's video that she has had some “bite blocks” fitted in order to stop her teeth meeting in the middle and knocking her braces as she chews food. A bite block is simply a small amount of filling material that is placed on your back teeth to stop them meeting together and hold your mouth open a few millimetres. By holding your teeth apart the blocks also help your teeth move easier.
If you are considering having fixed braces fitted be sure to ask your dentist what they will do to prevent your teeth from knocking your braces. Placing bite blocks is a very simple procedure but it is not done by all dentists.
Amy didn't experience any pain or discomfort from having the braces fitted. The most difficult part for her so far seems to have been adjusting to her new bite, which can seem a bit strange at the beginning but she will quickly get used to this.
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