The actual treatment, which means straightening your teeth, molars and jaws, will be done with braces. There are two types of braces: removable and fixed braces (with brackets). There are many varieties of both types. It is often necessary during a course of treatment to use various braces.
No type of braces can fix everything!
Below, you will find information about the braces we use most often in our practice. When the braces are fitted, we will of course give you a more extensive explanation.
It is very important to wear the braces well, because they will be useless if you don’t wear them well enough or don’t wear them at all, and the treatment might take longer or won’t work.
■ The activator
■ The facebow and headgear
■ The fixed braces
The activator is an appliance that consists of upper and lower braces that are attached together. It influences the growth of the upper and lower jaw. After a while, the jaws will be better aligned and the use of the mouth, teeth and jaws will improve.
To make the activator, we first need to make alginate impressions and a special wax impression. The orthodontic laboratory uses these impressions to make the activator.
The facebow and headgear
The facebow is a removable appliance that has 2 functions.
It pushes on the upper jaw and keeps it from growing further forward, while allowing the lower jaw to keep growing. It is attached to metal bands (rings) around the back molars in the upper jaw and pushes these molars back, keeping them from coming forward.
The headgear is an elastic band that goes around the neck and is attached to the facebow to keep it in place. The headgear also applies pressure to the teeth.
The fixed braces
The fixed braces can move each tooth and molar (elements) separately in all directions. A bracket is glued to each element with a special ‘tooth glue’. Sometimes, bands are also put around the back molars. A special ‘memory’ wire is threaded through these brackets and bands that will pull or push the elements in a certain direction. A new wire is put in once every four to six weeks.
It might also be necessary to wear elastic bands to help fine tune the way the teeth line up and bite together.
After your braces are initially placed, your teeth and molars will be a little sensitive for a couple of days. They will also be a bit sensitive for a while each time a new wire has been placed.
It is very important to brush your teeth well, because food can easily get caught in the brackets and that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. You will also have to adjust some of your eating and drinking habits.