Orthodontic Treatment - an overview
Understanding the Entire Procedure
Let us assume that your child is having problems with the alignment of the teeth and has been referred to a specialist known as an orthodontist who will help bring your child’s teeth to normal positioning. But before you set in to the orthodontist’s office, there are certain things that you should know regarding the specialty so that you are prepared for what is to come.
Let us now review what you can expect when you set foot to the orthodontist’s office so that you are prepared well in hand.
The Initial Visit
When you first take your child to the clinic, the doctor will run an assessment of the problem and will undertake certain tests to formulate a treatment plan prior to actually beginning your child’s treatment.
So, during the initial visit you can expect the doctor to take measurements of your child’s upper and lower teeth to prepare study models to study the type of correction that is required. Also, several types of X-rays will be taken by the doctor to study the various relationships like the upper teeth to the lower teeth, the teeth in relation to the jaw bones, the size of the teeth, the size of the roots, etc.
Follow Up Visit
Based on the observations from the tests and the radiographs taken in the initial visit, the orthodontist would have formulated a treatment plan to bring about the necessary correction. This treatment plan might involve removal of some permanent teeth too to create space for correct alignment of the remaining teeth. So, you need to be prepared if your doctor advises this to your child.
Once the initial assessment and the follow up visits are completed, the orthodontist will begin with the actual treatment procedure. This will involve providing a removable or a fixed appliance commonly known as braces to help provide the necessary force to bring your child’s teeth into alignment. Sometimes, the doctor might even advice an interim procedure wherein an appliance known as functional appliance might be provided to help bring about some corrections.
Once the actual appliance is placed, you will be provided with specific instructions to help maintain the appliance without causing it any damage and in the maintenance of hygiene as this is very important for the success of the treatment.
Some amount of pain might be seen during the procedure, especially during the initial phases of treatment. You can check with the doctor to provide some medications to help keep the pain in control if and when it arises.
Also, follow-up visits once in every few weeks will be advised to make periodic corrections and adjustments to the appliance as and when necessary. These visits will also help the doctor to assess the progress of the treatment and make necessary adjustments to the process, if essential.
As orthodontic treatment involves changes in the supporting bone around the teeth, placing a removable appliance called the retainer becomes of utmost importance at the ending of the treatment. This is to prevent the bounce back of the teeth to the old position (something like an elastic rebound) and to allow for adequate bone healing in the new position so that the teeth do not move back to its old state.
Orthodontic treatment is a corrective treatment of the teeth that will help provide a better appearance to the smile as well as to the face. But, this procedure is definitely a slow process that takes about 18-24 months to complete. So, you should be ready for frequent visits to the dentist’s office as and when your appointments are scheduled. But, the results you see are definitely worth the wait.