Braces are devices used in orthodontics to help align and straighten teeth. This helps develop a healthy, attractive smile and functional bite. Comprised of bondable tubes, brackets and wires, they are the most efficient and accurate way of moving teeth. Braces remain on the teeth for the entire duration of treatment, which typically range from 12-24 months.
- Standard braces often use elastics O-rings to hold the wire onto your braces. Children like to have fun with their braces and do so by choosing brightly coloured braces. Not only can they choose from colours called “Extreme Green” and “Screaming Pink” but can also choose new ones each time they have their braces adjusted.
- Self-Ligating braces. Advancements in technology now use a special clip or moveable gate to hold the wire in the bracket. Called self-ligating braces, or smart brackets, this clever system helps keep orthodontic appointments to a minimum.
- Ceramic or clear aesthetic braces offer the same benefits as conventional braces but with the added bonus of being less noticeable. Unlike metal braces, the bands cemented around each tooth are virtually invisible. Dr Sasha Mirkovic uses Damon Clear braces, by far our most popular braces.
The process of having braces:
1. Your first visit / consultation
A full examination and discussion with Dr Mirkovic regarding possible treatment and your options. Please see Your First Appointment.
2. Placement of the braces
This is when we attach the braces to your teeth.
This visit takes approximately an hour, in which we take some moulds of your teeth, fit the braces and give you detailed instructions on how to care for your braces and clean your teeth while your braces are in place.
There is no pain or discomfort at this appointment, we simply painting on some dental glue, place the brackets and set them with a bright light, it has been likened to the same feeling as painting your nails!
Initially the braces will fell quite bulky to your lips and cheeks but soon enough you will adjust to this feeling and not even notice them.
Any discomfort from the braces is usually noticed 3-4 hours after this appointment. It is not an agonising pain, more a tenderness when you bite. You may need to take some painkillers and eat soft foods for a day or two, but this will pass relatively quickly. This tenderness is due to the fact your teeth are not used to having forces applied to them by the braces.
3. Adjustments approximately every 4-10 weeks
Braces usually need to be adjusted every 4-10 weeks. These adjustments vary in length, approximately 10-30 mins.
It is very important these appointments are kept to ensure the treatment progresses as efficiently as possible.
At these appointments Dr Mirkovic may change your archwires, your colours (if you have conventional braces), place elastics and much more to ensure treatment is progressing correctly.
4. Everyone’s favourite appointment the removal of your braces.
Once you and Dr Mirkovic are happy with the alignment of your teeth and bite, its time for the braces to be removed and retainers fitted.
We remove the braces quite easily and quickly and polish off all the remaining glue. There is no pain involved but some people may experience slight discomfort.
Then retainers are fitted, for more details on types of retainers please see Retainers.
This is a vital part of your treatment. Retainers are designed to maintain and hold your teeth on the corrected position and prevent and relapse of the original orthodontic problem.
It is very important retainers are worn exactly as instructed by Dr Mirkovic.
For more information please see Retainers.
6. Long term changes and movement
Because you have completed a course of full comprehensive orthodontic treatment this does not ensure a lifetime of perfectly straight teeth.
Once retainers are no longer being worn teeth will be as stable as can be expected. Minor changes after that time
are due to natural maturing and the ageing process.
Elastics are used during orthodontic treatment to help correct the bite. They engage both arches, connecting by a little hook from the upper arch to the lower arch. These may be worn 24 hours a day right down to six hours a day – it is all dependant on your specific orthodontic needs. Not all patients require elastics. But when needed they are very effective, easy to wear and in some cases can even speed up treatment time.
Forsus work in a very similar way to elastics, differences being they are fixed and provide continually force.
The forsus appliance works on the upper and lower jaws at the same time. It works by pulling the top teeth back and the bottom teeth forward so that your bite meets correctly.
Forsus springs encourage growth of the lower jaw, positioning it correctly in relation to the upper jaw.
Forsus is not used in all cases but when Dr Mirlovic thinks that normal elastics may not be enough to correct the bite or quick enough, Forsus are a great solution.
Getting to know your braces
Orthodontic terms/ names so you feel more comfortable with what’s in your mouth!
6. Arch wire
8. Coil Spring
Living with Braces
Although you may feel your life has changed dramatically, life with braces is relatively easy and pain free… and believe it or not quite fun!
A few little things you need to know…
Eating with braces:
The main thing when it comes to eating with braces is avoiding very hard foods, and sticky foods. For example toffees, muesli bars, ice, nuts, Minties, Fantales, lollipops etc. These foods can break brackets or appliances and distort wires, which not only can affect the way your teeth move but also prolong your treatment.
You also need to be careful with things like apples and carrots, cutting them up into bite size pieces not biting them whole, as a matter of fact all your food should be cut up it will make it a lot easier for you.
Sugary foods must also be kept to a minimum, as we want to avoid any tooth decay during treatment.
We cannot list all the food and drinks you should avoid, but common sense prevails, it looks too hard or sticky just avoid it.
Remember breakages WILL prolong your treatment, the less you break the faster the treatment time is MEANING you can have your braces off sooner.
Cleaning with braces:
Remember 3! 3 times a day, 3 different angles for 3 minutes it’s that easy.
Instead of your teeth being one flat surface with braces your brushing needs to be split up into 3 techniques, above the bracket below the brackets and directly across the brackets. This makes sure you clean around the entire bracket under the wire and tooth surface.
It is very important to brush your teeth after every meal to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
You can use a standard manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush; it is more about the way you use it that counts.
You are still able to floss with braces on, once a day should be sufficient.
When you get your braces on with Dr Mirkovic we provide you with a cleaning kit to help you, along with instructions and demonstrations to care for your braces, teeth and gums during treatment.
Dr Mirkovic highly recommends you continue your regular dental check up and clean appointments with your general demist throughout treatment.
Sport with braces
If you participate in a sport that required a mouthguard before you had braces you would defiantly need a mouthguard now. Best option as your teeth are constantly moving is to purchase one from the pharmacy and mould it to your teeth weekly reheating it and moulding it. If you have any concerns or are hesitant doing this please call us and Dr Mirkovic will assist you.