Orthodontics is the specialty in dentistry dealing with the diagnosis, prevention, interception and treatment of the mal-relation of the teeth and face.
In Singapore, a person has to undergo a 4 years full time course to attain a BDS (Bachelor in Dental Surgery) to be qualified as a general dentist. Their scope of work mainly involves Basic dentistry like scaling, extractions, crowns and bridges, dentures and simple root canal treatment etc.
During their BDS training, dentists are not trained to do braces. However Singapore government does not restrict general dentists from doing braces. Some have elected to provide braces treatment after having done some self study or gone for some short term courses.
Most patients wearing conventional braces will experience discomfort for a few days, usually when the braces are first put on, or after tightening. Most patients get used to their braces very fast and find the discomfort bearable. If you are very sensitive, newer types of braces can further reduce the amount of discomfort.
Extractions depend on the severity of the case. With newer types of braces, the need for extractions can be reduced. Some patients may still need to have 4 teeth extracted, but all extracted spaces will be closed by the end of the treatment.
Extractions are not painful at all, as you will be given anesthetic before that, so you will be totally numb. You will be referred to a skillful dentist for the painless extractions.
You can eat anything you like as long as you are comfortable, provided you keep your teeth clean by brushing after meals. You may like to cut your food into smaller pieces. However it is recommended that soft drinks, sweet and sticky food should be reduced.
Excluding the developmental problems (see no. 16) discussed earlier, most people can start braces after 12 years old when the full set of permanent teeth erupts.
Patients with poor oral hygiene and active gum disease are not recommended to wear braces. However if they are able to achieve a good level of oral hygiene and have the gum disease under control, braces is still possible.
You are never too old for braces to help you achieve a straight set of teeth and a beautiful smile. This can be done as long as the teeth, gum and supporting bone are healthy. Personally, my oldest patient was 58 years old.
Usual treatment takes about 1.5 to 2 years, although some patients can be completed as early as one year.
It is advisable to bring your child for a consult at around 8 years old. This allows the orthodontist to assess the dental development and also the skeletal (jaws) development. Early interceptive treatment may be needed as young as 8-9 years old and may be too late by the time the full set of permanent teeth erupts (usually at around 12 years old).
Look out for:
Early detection of some problems may avoid further complication, preventing future complex treatment or even surgical treatment.
Risks are mainly related to the state of health of your gums and supporting structure before treatment. Maintaining a good oral hygiene is important for successful orthodontic treatment.
Keep to your monthly appointment, have good oral hygiene and follow your doctor’s instructions. This will ensure treatment to be completed in the fastest possible time.
Teeth have a high tendency to move back toward their original position after braces treatment. Wearing retainers will help to prevent the relapse and also allow stability to be achieved. It is recommended you wear retainers full time for a year.
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