Bracing Up Your Dental Facts

Mumbai’s leading orthodontist, Dr. Nilofer M Currawalla, has a Masters in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics and was recently selected for the Invisalign Elite Program, which trains only the top 3 Orthodontists in metropolitan cities. She practices at the dental clinic located at Breach Candy Hospital and is one of the only 6 Invisalign Elite Providers in Mumbai. Back by popular demand, Dr. Nilofer answers queries posed by PT readers…

Q: What is the ideal age for wearing braces?
A: There is no ideal age. Sometimes the upper teeth are normal in position, but the lower jaw is small, giving the appearance of protruding upper teeth. If such cases are taken care of in the initial stages, then one can benefit from repositioning the jaw forward and reducing the appearance of a big upper jaw, as it also increases the airway space improving one’s breathing efficiency. If not seen at the right time, the alternatives are extractions and in severe cases, surgery would be the only way to correct the jaw length, only once the growth the patient stops. Hence, catching this issue at a young age saves a lot of pain and complicated procedures. Also, the advantage of younger age is that, as you grow, the tissues adapt easily.

Q: Is Orthodontic treatment good for Oral hygiene?
A: Sometimes, teeth are positioned in a way that cannot be kept as clean as required. Mostly in the cases of crowding, cleaning becomes difficult, leading to cavities and loss of teeth. Getting the teeth in one straight line also helps you to keep teeth clean. Poor oral hygiene can lead to systemic  diseases, including bacterial endocarditis (heart condition); oral malodour; and sometimes it is also known to precipitate premature deliveries in pregnant women.

Q: Are braces very painful to wear?
A: The older system of braces was keeping them very tight, causing pain. But now, we have advanced systems such as self-ligating braces, which cause close to no pain. In the older type of braces, the wire was tied to the bracket with a super small rubber band. In self-ligating bracket systems, we have a door /clip built into the bracket. So the wire is held in a loose fashion to the bracket. No tightness means no pain and less friction, which also means lesser treatment time and faster treatment!

Q: Why are braces expensive?
A: Traditionally, braces were made of gold wires and platinum alloys. This naturally made the costs shoot up. Nowadays, we may not have gold and platinum, but we are paying for the technology and the science that goes behind it. For plates and appliances which are made locally, the rates are extremely low. However, most braces used by reputed orthodontist are generally from abroad, as the finish is smoother, leading to lesser discomfort. People also need to understand that an orthodontist works on ALL your teeth, for 1-1.5years, giving you the perfect smile and proper biting function for life! In the long run, with crooked teeth and lack of oral hygiene, you could easily land up paying double for eventual fillings, root canals, cleaning, crowns, and eventual replacement of teeth.


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