Dental Expert Advises On Braces

Braces are for dental health as well as cosmetics

Dr. Abdulmueen al-Qahtani, orthodontist and consultant at Rumailah Hospital, says that braces are not used by dentists only for cosmetic reasons; they also improve dental health. Braces use gentle pressure to straighten teeth and are custom-made to correct a person’s bite. “Braces can correct crooked or crowded teeth, overbites and underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorders,” al-Qahtani said. “If left untreated, these problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.”

The optimum age to obtain braces is between 9 and 11 years of age. Most permanent teeth have developed by this age, except for the wisdom teeth. “At this age, children usually reach the final shape of their bites and that is why this is considered the right time to proceed with orthodontic treatment as it gives faster results at this age,” Dr al-Qahtani said. However, adults can also benefit from this type of orthodontic intervention. The treatment may take longer, since adults are no longer growing. He said, “The most common treatment for adult orthodontic patients is fixed braces which stay in place for between 12 to 18 months.”

Braces come in several forms including the typical metal braces but also ceramic or clear braces that blend more closely with the natural color of teeth. Fixed braces can also be custom made to bond to the back of the teeth so they are not visible. Dr al-Qahtani says hard foods should be avoided during the period braces are in place. “These foods can get stuck between teeth and gums or potentially bend the wires and damage the braces,” he cautioned. “Regular brushing is crucial to sustaining healthy teeth and gums and helping to prevent dental cavities that may be caused due to the buildup of dental plaque on the teeth and on the wires of the braces.”

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