Although treatment plans are customised for each patient, most wear their braces from one to three years, depending on the issues that need correcting. This is usually followed by a period of wearing a retainer which holds teeth in their new positions. Although a little discomfort is expected during treatment, today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before.
A palatal expander may be used to expand the upper dental arch so there is more room for the teeth which can reduce crowding in the mouth. Palatal expander appliances usually consist of a plastic appliance an expansion screw that is worn on the upper dental arch. When the expansion screw is turned, the device gradually widens the jaw and makes more room. Once the arch is expanded, there is a better chance that the adult teeth will align into a better position.
Space maintainers are another example of an early intervention technique. When a child loses a tooth early, as a result of decay or injury, the surrounding teeth can shift to fill the empty space. As a preventive measure, a dentist can place a space maintainer to hold the space until the permanent tooth comes in. Space maintainers usually consist of a band placed around a neighbouring tooth with a metal loop that holds the space open. When the permanent tooth is ready to emerge, the dentist removes the space maintainer. This procedure may eliminate the need for further or more intensive orthodontics in the future.