What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Crowded teeth, thumb sucking, tongue
thrusting, premature loss of baby teeth, a poor breathing airway
caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils can all contribute to poor
tooth positioning. And then there are the hereditary factors. Extra
teeth, large teeth, missing teeth, wide spacing, small jaws - all can
be causes of crowded teeth.
How Do Teeth Move?
Tooth movement is a natural response to
light pressure over a period of time. Pressure is applied by using a
variety of orthodontic hardware (appliances), the most common being a
brace or bracket attached to the teeth and connected by an arch wire.
Periodic changing of these arch wires puts pressure on the teeth. At
different stages of treatment your child may wear a headgear,
elastics, a positioner or a retainer. Most orthodontic appointments
are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move.
Will It Hurt?
When teeth are first moved, discomfort
may result. This usually lasts about 24 to 72 hours. Patients report
a lessening of pain as the treatment progresses. Pain medicines such
as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) usually help relieve
Arch Wire / Brackets
/ Elastics (Rubber Bands)
The part of your braces which actually
moves the teeth. The arch wire is attached to the brackets by small
elastic donuts or ligature wires. Arch Wires are changed throughout
the treatment. Each change brings you closer to the ideal tooth
Brackets are the “Braces” or small attachments that are bonded directly to the tooth surface. The brackets are the part of your braces to which the dentist or assistant attaches the arch wire.
Occasionally, a bracket may come loose
and become an irritation to your mouth. You can remove the loose
bracket and save it in an envelope to bring to the office. Call the
office as soon as possible and make an appointment to re-glue the
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
At some time during treatment, it will
be necessary to wear elastics to coordinate the upper and lower teeth
and perfect the bite. Once teeth begin to move in response to
elastics, they move rapidly and comfortably. If elastics (rubber
bands) are worn intermittently, they will continually "shock"
the teeth and cause more soreness. When elastics are worn one day and
left off the next, treatment slows to a standstill or stops. Sore
teeth between appointments usually indicate improper wear of headgear
or elastics or inadequate hygiene. Wear your elastics correctly,
attaching them as you were told. Wear elastics all the time, unless
otherwise directed. Take your elastics off while brushing. Change
elastics as directed, usually once or twice a day.
These are used to help modify the
growth of the jaws in children. The theory behind their action is
that if you hold a jaw in a specific position long enough, that it
will grow into that position. What you usually get is a combination
of a little jaw growth with a lot of tooth movement. These are not
universally accepted, as they do not always work.
Often called a “night brace”. The
headgear is used to correct a protrusion of the upper or lower jaw.
It works by inhibiting the upper jaw from growing forward, or the
downward growth of the upper jaw or even by encouraging teeth to move
forward, if that is the case.
Lower Lingual Arch (LLA)
A lower lingual arch is a space maintainer for the lower teeth. It maintains the molars where they are, it does not move them. This is fabricated by placing bands on the molars and connecting them to a wire that fits up against the inside of the lower teeth. It keeps the molars from migrating forward and prevents them from blocking off the space of teeth that develop later. This is used when you have the early loss of baby teeth or when you have lower teeth that are slightly crowded in a growing child and you do not want to remove any permanent teeth to correct the crowding.