Key questions and answers at a glance
Why do I need braces?
Orthodontic therapy can permanently improve the appearance, health and function of your teeth. Furthermore, well-maintained, straight teeth put their stamp on your personal charisma, self-assurance and health both at work and in your private life. The consequences of improper strain on jaw joints over many years such as tension headaches, neck tension or ear noises (tinnitus) can also be prevented by means of durable tooth straightening.
How can tooth misalignments develop?
Hardly anyone possesses a perfect dentition. Crooked teeth or misalignment of the jaws can be congenital or often due to behaviour in childhood. For example, excessive sucking on baby bottles or thumbs can give rise to crooked teeth. But also bad brushing: If your milk teeth, which keep space clear for permanent teeth, fall out too early due to poor hygiene, your molars will grow wrongly in your jaw and steal space from their future neighbours.
At what age does orthodontic therapy make sense?
Treatment is usually already begun while the teeth and jaws are still growing, i.e. from age 10 to 15. However the following principles applies: Teeth can be moved during your whole life. So orthodontic treatment is equally possible for adults, children and young people - and nowadays goes without saying.
My teeth have been crooked for many years – why should I have orthodontic treatment now?
It's never too late! Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function. And teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter the age.
Does the treatment hurt?
Don't fret: Having braces and archwires fitted doesn't hurt. In the first few days after fitting, your new braces may still feel funny, but you'll soon stop noticing it.
Do I have to change my eating habits?
A little. Best avoid all food which could damage your teeth and braces such as hard, sticky food or food containing a lot of sugar.
Can I play sports while wearing braces?
Yes. But wearing a protective mouthguard is advised while riding a bike, skating, or playing any contact sports, whether organized sports or a neighborhood game. Your orthodontist can recommend a specific mouthguard.
Is dental hygiene complicated with braces?
Not particularly complicated, but particularly important! At first brushing your teeth and braces after each meal takes some getting used to. You can get tips for optimum dental hygiene with fixed braces on this web page or directly from your orthodontist.
How long does the therapy take?
The duration of treatment is different for each patient and subject to precisely what requires straightening. Slight tooth misalignments are often repaired after just a few months, while in more complex cases treatment can take up to three years. Furthermore, after removing the braces, there follows a retention phase (stabilization phase) to prevent the teeth remigrating into their old position.
What are the chances of successful brace therapy?
The success of your treatment depends particularly on your active involvement. As long as you ensure optimum dental hygiene and keep to the regular follow-up appointments, nothing will block your new perfect smile!
Is any residue visible on my teeth when I remove the braces?
No fear: After removing the braces, some adhesive will be left on your teeth, but it is completely eliminated with various polishers by your orthodontist. So, if you have taken care to ensure proper dental hygiene, no trace of orthodontic therapy will remain on your teeth.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
The following principles apply: The duration of treatment with fixed braces differs for each individual case and depends on what exactly needs correcting. A treatment usually lasts between 1.5 and three years. But now more and more innovative brace systems are available, which can reduce your treatment duration by a few months. What many people aren't aware of: When braces are removed, treatment is not yet over. To secure the achieved result and prevent the straightened teeth from remigrating to their old position, it is important to wear retention braces. First you wear them each day, then later at ever longer intervals of time.
How do braces feel?
Most people have some discomfort after their braces are first put on or when adjusted during treatment. After the braces are on, teeth may become sore and may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. The orthodontist will advise patients and/or their parents what, if any, pain relievers to take. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients have become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.
I don't want braces that show. What are my options?
In some cases, braces may be bonded behind the teeth (lingual braces). Some of today's wires are made of "space age" materials that exert a steady, gentle pressure on the teeth, so that the tooth-moving process may be faster and more comfortable for patients. A type of clear orthodontic wire is currently in an experimental stage. Another option may be the use of a series of plastic tray aligners instead of traditional braces to correct some problems.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
Playing wind or brass instruments, such as the trumpet, will clearly require some adaptation to braces. With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of musical instruments.
I have a stud in my tongue. Will this interfere with orthodontic treatment?
Exercise caution. Tongue-piercing jewelry may contribute to breakage of appliances, and to tooth and gum damage from contact with the stud.
Your orthodontist will be pleased to discuss these and many other questions with you in detail.