Orthodontic Section


01. When would one need orthodontic treatment?
Teeth are important for chewing food properly, for good appearance and for proper speech. If any one or more of these functions of teeth are adversely affected due to irregular teeth and/or jaws one would need orthodontic treatment. When teeth of the upper and the lower jaws do not meet properly with each other grinding of food properly is impaired. This may cause indigestion and related health problems. When teeth are projecting out, lips are not closing normally, or teeth are crowded and are spoiling the smile one needs orthodontic treatment for esthetic reasons. One may need orthodontic treatment to correct discrepancies in jaw size and/or positions, which affect the facial appearance adversely. When the jaws and/or teeth do not meet properly with each other excessive forces may be transmitted to some teeth leading to wearing out of the enamel of the teeth. Excessive forces may also cause damage to the tooth supporting structures like the gums and surrounding bone. This can cause weakening and early loss of these teeth. Irregular teeth can also cause difficulty in brushing thereby leading to cavities and gum problems which may shorten the life of the affected teeth. In rare cases irregularities like spacing in the front teeth can cause speech problems and orthodontic treatment can improve the speech as well.


02. How important is orthodontic treatment?
In today's world good appearance and a good smile go a long way in making a person feel confident and comfortable with one's self. People with good looks and a pleasant smile are perceived well by others and are treated favourably by them. Good-looking children are subconsciously liked more by parents, teachers and other adults. Good-looking adults are more likely to get good jobs and better life partners. So, the value of orthodontic treatment cannot be overemphasized. It is a question of a child's or an adult's future physical and psychological well-being


03. When should a child go for an orthodontic consultation?
It is recommended that the first check up by an orthodontist should be done by 6 years of age. If a dental or jaw problem is developing it can be corrected as the child grows. If the teeth and the jaws are developing normally then a regular check up should be done every six months to monitor the development. In case the lower jaw is growing excessively it must be corrected at the earliest because this condition becomes more difficult to treat as the child grows. Some conditions can be treated later. Certain teeth irregularities can be corrected earlier thereby preventing them from becoming more severe and would need less time to treat later.


04. Up to what age can an adult be treated for orthodontic problems?
There is no upper age limit for treating an adult. Persons in their 40's and 50's and even 60's can also be treated for orthodontic problems. The deciding factors would be the condition of the teeth and the supporting structures like gums and bone. The duration of orthodontic treatment varies according to the condition of the teeth and jaws at the beginning. On an average treatment with fixed braces takes about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years in cases where all the permanent teeth have erupted and there is minimal jaw discrepancy. In growing children where jaw discrepancies have to be corrected it may take 3 to 4 years. The treatment may be split into two phases. Jaw correction is done in the first phase with one of the various growth modification appliances at the orthodontist's disposal. In the second phase, fixed braces are given to set the teeth in their proper positions


05. How much would orthodontic treatment cost?
Different orthodontic problems need different treatment modalities and different duration of treatment time. So the fees are decided according to the condition to be treated. The charges may vary from Rs. 10,000/- for minor corrections to Rs. 50,000/- for the correction of severe irregularities.


06. Is orthodontic treatment not very expensive?
It is a relative term. Orthodontic treatment costs so much because the treatment goes on for a few years. There are certain expenses incurred to maintain a high level of sterilization of equipment and asepsis of the clinic. The appliances used are expensive. Thus some amount is spent for the patient himself/herself. The fees are professional charges for the knowledge, experience and skill of the orthodontist. Considering the long term, positive, physical and psychological benefits of orthodontic treatment whatever spent on orthodontic treatment should be considered as a sound investment.


07. What is the procedure followed for starting orthodontic treatment in your clinic?
In the first consultation the patient is examined and the condition of the teeth, jaws, face and the function is assessed. History is taken to know the patient's health condition. Then the patient and the parents are explained about the treatment procedures with the help of computer animations, photographs of treated cases models etc. The patient is then sent for special x-rays needed for diagnosis and treatment planning. In the next appointment impressions are taken and the x-rays are collected to study them. The final treatment plan, expected duration of treatment, and fees etc. are discussed in the next appointment. If the patient and parents are agreeable for the treatment then appointments are fixed for starting the treatment.


08. When are permanent teeth extracted for orthodontic treatment?
One or more permanent teeth may have to be extracted in some cases to create spaces in the upper and/or the lower arches. Extractions of permanent teeth is not necessary in all the cases. When the jaw size teeth size are normal the teeth can be set in their proper positions without extractions. When the jaws are small and the teeth are large the teeth get crowded or proclined or both. In such cases extracting teeth creates the necessary spaces to move the remaining teeth in the extraction spaces. This helps in aligning and retracting teeth to more esthetic positions. When the jaws are large and teeth small, the teeth get spaced out. These teeth can be aligned and spaces can be closed by orthodontic treatment without any extractions.


09. Is orthodontic treatment very painful?
No. With better understanding of physiology of tooth movement and latest Technology, pain during orthodontic treatment is kept to the minimum. Initially when an appliance is given there is pressure on the teeth that can cause some discomfort and pain. This can be minimized by timely medication as prescribed by the orthodontist. There is NO constant pain or discomfort during the entire duration of orthodontic treatment. When the appliance is activated to exert pressure on the teeth the patient may experience pain for a couple of days. This subsides on its own and is usually bearable. If it is more, then the prescribed medicine can be taken to relieve the pain.


10. What are retainers?
Retainers are plates or wires given to prevent teeth from moving after the orthodontic treatment is completed. There are two types of retainers, removable and fixed. Removable retainers are plated which can be removed by the patient. They have to be worn all the time except while brushing and eating. The duration of wear of removable plates is gradually reduced over a period of time after first six months of full time wear. The fixed retainers are thin wires glued to the teeth on the inner surfaces so that they are not visible at all. These can be kept in the mouth as long as necessary.