As people are getting older and getting more enlightened, they will need more dental work as there continues to be a strong link between facial appearance/teeth appearance and self-confidence. Some people even when they are excited they will resist shining their teeth, or they cover their mouth with their hand. Their crooked teeth embarrass them.
As a dental surgeon practicing in the public sector, I usually come across a lot of people at the hospital and even at social events considering having their crooked teeth fixed and not sure how to go about it with lots of questions about dental braces.
Dental Braces are devices fixed on teeth used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite, while also working to improve dental health. No they are not for fashion.
About 25% of orthodontic patients today are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children, and can now experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to correct longstanding cosmetic or bite problems or to remedy the effects of tooth loss you are not alone and you are not too old. Remember In 2002 Tom Cruise surprised us all when, at 40 years old, he appeared in public with braces. Mission Possible!
So here are 10 Frequently asked questions with answers:
Who should I see to straighten my teeth? See an expert:
We are talking about your future Denzel Washington and Halle Berry smile this is no time to leave your teeth or jaws in the hands of quacks. See an Orthodontist one who specializes in straightening things out. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified dentists with advanced training in making teeth move. They examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies.
They design and fabricate appliances which apply pressure to realign crooked teeth into a straight, healthy smile and improve your bite by correcting how your teeth fit together and how your jaws line up to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
What to expect at the initial appointment with an orthodontist?
The first step is to determine whether dental braces are suitable for you. The orthodontist consults and inspects the teeth and jaws. Takes X-rays of the jaws and skulls, take impressions of your mouth to make a mold as a study model. These records are analyzed to determine the problems and proper course of treatment.
After the assessment is done, the orthodontist will decide on a treatment plan. If braces are appropriate you will be informed.
How will my teeth be corrected?
This is not swallow-a-pill-kinda-treatment, it is daily-wearing-of-an-appliance-kinda-treatment.
There are two types of orthodontic appliances: fixed and removable ones. Fixed doesn’t mean permanent, it just means you can’t remove it, only the orthodontist can remove it. Removable means you can remove it easily. The orthodontist will decide what best suits your treatment plan.
How long will an orthodontic treatment take?
This is not a one day transformation treatment. The time needed to undergo orthodontic treatment will vary for each patient, and always depends on how much your jaw needs to change and how far your teeth must move.
The standard treatment phase is two years. The duration of treatment varies based on age, how closely the treatment plan is followed (Don’t skip appointments) and the extensiveness of the procedure (The bones of adults have stopped growing, so some structural changes cannot be accomplished without surgery. Some people may require jaw surgeries, maxillary expanders, extra force with headgears and facebows). The entire process may take longer for you than for a child or adolescent. After the consultation you will get an estimate of treatment length and goals.
As a working class citizen, how often will I have follow up appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in dental braces will be seen every six to eight weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments will be scheduled accordingly
How much will the treatment cost?
Costs vary depending on the type of treatment. Dental Braces aren’t cheap. You will not be expected to pay it all at once. When treatment begins, you make a down payment. The balance is usually put on a payment plan. But an average range is GHC5,000 to GHC7,500. Health insurance plans don’t usually offer coverage for orthodontic services.
I can’t afford orthodontic treatment. What can I do?
Little drops of water. Start saving up but remember even the price of pure water is rising. Some dental schools offer service to the public at a minimal cost but be ready to join a long queue. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. In Ghana, there are few orthodontists (less than 10) in the country.
Are people going to think I look weird with braces on my teeth?
Most people will be indifferent instead you might be a source of encouragement and whenever you become self-conscious about your braces, think about how great you will look after they come off! Remember In 2002 Tom Cruise surprised us all when, at 40 years old, he appeared in public with braces.
Why do some dental braces have colors?
The colors are the elastic band that hold the wire unto the brackets they come in different colors and we have some that glows. It’s a fashionable way to make your braces look cool and sexy. Although more innovations are in the market that don’t need elastics to hold the wire.
Ultimate question IS IT WORTH IT?
In my opinion, Yes! if you require an orthodontic treatment after consulting an orthodontist. Go for it! Everything has risks. Investment in your oral health.
Thanks for reading stay tuned next week for more teethlicious updates. If you found this helpful, feel free to share and leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you. Till then stay gorgeous and stay professional