So, the braces are installed, and you have to wait until they do their job and your smile will acquire impeccable beauty. However, to your surprise, the orthodontist appoints you a return visit after only a month to activate the braces. What kind of procedure is this? What is it needed for and can it be done without it?
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What is braces activation?
The easiest way to activate braces can be described as tuning or “pulling up” orthodontic equipment.
- A traditional bracket system consists of three elements:
- braces themselves (locks), which are attached to each tooth;
- steel arc, which is responsible for the force, that is, the directing effect;
- ligatures – metal or elastic elements that attach the arc to the locks.
Orthodontic correction usually takes 12–36 months, therefore, due to the design features of the bracket system, its elements must be updated over time. So, braces activation is necessary for:
Change ligatures. These devices are usually elastic bands at the junction of the bracket and the arc, which can be transparent or have a silver color (sometimes colored ligatures are made for children). Over time, the elastic elements stretch, due to which the pressure on the teeth decreases, and the process of correction of the dentition slows down. When activated, the orthodontist replaces the ligatures with new ones, so that the braces regain their effectiveness.
Ligatures also need to be changed from time to time in order to prevent the development of caries on that part of the tooth surface to which the element has been adjacent for a long time.
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Replaces the orthodontic arch. As the teeth change their position, the geometry of the dentition changes. As a result of this, the curve of the arc becomes smaller, its corrective function weakens, and the ends of the arc begin to protrude, causing the patient discomfort. To update the treatment, the orthodontist replaces the arch with a new one, the characteristics of which correspond to the next stage of treatment. Replacing the orthodontic arch is less necessary than changing the ligatures, therefore, not every visit to the orthodontist is carried out.
Substitution braces. In some cases, the locks themselves are damaged or detached from the surface of the teeth, which inevitably affects the effectiveness of the entire structure. For the system to work correctly, the orthodontist needs to re-stick them or replace them.
Monitoring the progress of treatment. Although the orthodontic correction scheme is being developed at the time of braces, the orthodontist needs to make sure from time to time that your teeth move exactly as planned.
Hygienic procedures. After the orthodontist removes the ligatures and the arch, you have the opportunity to thoroughly brush your teeth and use dental floss without the braces. Recall that after installing braces, it becomes more difficult to take care of the teeth , and due to insufficient hygiene, unwanted deposits or demineralization spots may accumulate around the clasps. If the doctor notices that you need professional brushing or if dental caries begins to develop under the braces, he will refer you to a specialist.
During the activation of braces, the doctor will make sure that you are not at risk of caries and other diseases
The activation of the braces ensures that the orthodontic correction is effective and on time
Is it possible not to attend bracket activation sessions if nothing bothers you?
The schedule of repeated visits is determined by the doctor, not the patient, and this is true – because you can not independently evaluate the clinical picture or replace the weakened elements of the braces. We strongly recommend that you take the activation of braces very seriously and not miss a visit to the doctor. Expert supervision ensures that:
- the planned result will be achieved as soon as possible;
- You will prevent the formation of caries and the occurrence of other problems in the oral cavity;
- You will avoid the unpleasant sensations and injuries of the mucous membrane that can occur where spilled and protruding braces come into contact with soft tissues.
Today, the market offers unmatched Damon braces (with self-ligation system) . The arc is fixed to such brackets movably, through a special mechanism of clamps and clips. Since there are no ligatures in this system, you have the opportunity to visit the orthodontist only to replace the arches, that is, somewhat less often – approximately once every 1-2 months. However, regular monitoring by a specialist is also necessary in this case.
How are braces activated?
Repeated visits to the orthodontist to replace ligatures are usually prescribed at intervals of 4-6 weeks, depending on the clinical picture and model of braces. Correction of arcs is needed a little less often: it usually takes place every two to three months.
The activation procedure is quite simple and almost never takes longer than twenty to thirty minutes.
An orthodontist removes elastic ligatures and an orthodontic arch.
If necessary, hygiene procedures are carried out.
Inspection of the structure and monitoring of the course of treatment.
A new arc is being installed.
New ligatures are installed and, if necessary, other structural elements – for example, rings or springs.
Discomfort after braces activation
Quite often, after activating braces, you may experience some discomfort comparable to the sensations after installing them. If your teeth ache a little or hurt during the first days after the procedure, this is a completely normal phenomenon, which indicates that the system is functioning efficiently.
However, as the orthodontic correction progresses, each activation of the braces will bring you less and less discomfort. Approximately six months after the start of treatment, activation will only cause a feeling of a little tightness, and in the future you will cease to feel any unpleasant symptoms.
Important: if after activating the braces you feel that the metal structures are piercing or injuring the mucous membrane of the lips or cheeks, you should immediately contact the orthodontist to check the integrity of the system or cut off the excess part of the arc.
Damon braces do not have ligatures, so repeated visits to the orthodontist will be much rarer
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How to get rid of discomfort after braces activation?
The response to braces is individual. If necessary, you can take conventional painkillers based on paracetamol or ibuprofen. In addition, you can use other methods to reduce pain:
For a couple of days after the activation of the braces, eat soft food, which requires minimal chewing efforts and, therefore, does not create additional stress on the teeth. You can eat soups, mashed potatoes, puddings and other similar dishes.
- Use cold compresses or eat cold food – cold reduces sensitivity and reduces inflammation.
- Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to reduce tooth sensitivity.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water.
- Apply anesthetic gel, such as anbesol, to the gums.
Remember that unpleasant sensations after activation or installation of braces will last no more than 24–48 hours, while a beautiful smile will remain with you for life. You will no longer need, smiling, to cover your mouth with your hand and be shy of your pictures – and this, of course, is worth a little discomfort!
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Using the installment plan, you can set up suitable orthodontic systems, for example, alloyless ones, and you will make visits to the orthodontist much less often. Sign up for a free consultation and we will help make your smile perfect.
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