The loose braces
More and more people want straight teeth and a beautiful smile. Unfortunately, most patients do not naturally have this, so they have the option of having one orthodontic treatment to take advantage of and have crooked teeth straightened.
The braces are a device that is used in dentistry to correct jaw and tooth misalignments and thus to improve the aesthetics and above all the functionality of the jaw.
Loose braces are dental appliances that are used to straighten the jaw and teeth and, in contrast to fixed braces, can be removed and reinserted by the patient by hand. This is why loose braces are often called removable clips designated.
Loose, removable braces are made in the dental laboratory using a jaw and tooth model. Before the devices are made, a so-called dental impression (actually impression) of the upper and lower jaw. On the basis of these impressions, a plaster model can then be poured in the laboratory and the braces can be manufactured to fit exactly.
One distinguishes active panels for the upper and lower jaw of forthodontic appliances (short: FKO devices). Active plates are particularly suitable for children between the ages of 9 and 14, as the young patients are still changing their teeth at precisely this time and the jaw can be shaped while it is growing.
With the help of these removable braces, sufficient space in the jaw can be created before the teeth erupt and gaps in the teeth that are too narrow can be expanded. Functional orthodontic devices (FKO devices), on the other hand, are used to influence the growth of the jaw so that a normal bite position is created (neutral occlusion).
They are used to correct so-called deep bites (Teeth lie too deeply on top of one another; the incisors of the lower jaw are usually no longer visible when biting) or open bites.
Use of loose braces
Once such loose, removable braces are used, it is of the utmost importance that patients adhere closely to the treatment plan. The exact wearing time per day and every check-up appointment should be strictly adhered to, because This is the only way to guarantee the success of the treatment and keep the wearing time as short as possible.
This also applies if the child is in pain, especially at the beginning. These usually pass after a few days.
In addition to the usual loose braces, so-called clear aligners are becoming increasingly popular with adult patients. These are transparent plastic splints that are fairly inconspicuous and can therefore be worn all day without restrictions.
During orthodontic therapy with Clear Aligners, the misalignment of teeth and jaws is corrected in several steps by wearing different splints one after the other with increasing pressure.
Corresponding follow-up treatment is necessary after every orthodontic therapy in order to maintain the long-term success of the treatment with the loose braces.
Since the shape of the jaw can change for a lifetime, a successfully completed tooth correction is no guarantee that the teeth will remain permanently straight.
For this reason, the active treatment phase (while the devices are in the mouth), a so-called retention phase, follows.
During the first 1-2 years after removal of the braces, patients should wear retention braces at least during the night. Retention braces are removable, loose braces that no longer move or displace the teeth, but merely hold them in the position determined during the active phase. In a sense, these braces fix the end result of the therapy.
In addition, thin wires (Retainer) permanently attached to the tooth side facing the tongue.
Indication for loose braces in children
In principle, orthodontic treatment with loose braces between the ages of 9 and 14 is worth striving for, since the best and fastest results can be achieved here through the existing growth of the jaw. The therapy can also be started with the deciduous teeth that are still present, since in most cases these are not bothersome.
In order to provide a correct indication, the treating orthodontist should take a close look at the situation in the mouth and ideally produce plaster models to guarantee optimal planning. If specific aesthetic or functional problems are found, the treatment is often carried out with loose braces, a distinction being made between different types of loose braces, which are specially selected depending on the treatment goal.
The therapy often has to be continued with fixed braces to ensure optimal success.
Indication for loose braces in adults
Since the jaw growth is complete in adults, there is very rarely an indication for loose braces in adults. The removable braces are therapeutic limits that are quickly reached by adults, which is why it is difficult to achieve success with this type of apparatus. Instead, therapy with fixed braces is recommended, which also contributes to a visible improvement in aesthetics and functionality in fully-grown jaws. If you want to do without fixed braces for certain reasons, there are so-called aligner splints as an alternative. This is a transparent splint that is made of plastic and is used to treat slight misaligned teeth. The disadvantage of such splint therapy is that it has to be worn almost the entire time. 22 hours a day are crucial for success. Another alternative is the Crozat apparatus, which is made from stainless steel alloys and is extremely complex, which is why it is only used in rare cases.
What can you do about pain with loose braces?
Pain when wearing loose braces is common - mostly in the first few days after receiving new braces. At first, there is no need to worry, as the appliance has to build up a certain amount of pressure on the teeth in order to then move them in the desired direction. Therefore it can happen that it hurts when wearing the braces at the beginning of the treatment. In most cases, the pain subsides after a few days and you get used to the feeling of pressure. However, if there is no improvement in the following days, the orthodontist should be seen before the next check-up appointment so that he can fix the problem. Most of the time, it's because the wire is pressing too hard on the teeth, which then causes the pain. With small corrections, the doctor can reduce the pressure on the teeth and thus provide a remedy. Under no circumstances should you try to bend the wire elements yourself, as this ends in almost all cases with a loss of function of the braces.
In the short term, putting cold water in your mouth and keeping it in your mouth a little longer can help. This has a pain-relieving and pleasant effect on the teeth.
Find out more here: Pain from braces
What to do if the loose braces don't fit
Every now and then it happens that the loose braces no longer fit. In such a situation you shouldn't try to use force. You should also absolutely refrain from bending the wire elements, as this will cause the braces to lose their function or even push the teeth in a different direction than originally intended.
A visit to the orthodontist is necessary. In many cases, he or she can readjust the screw or correct the brace wire so that you can use your loose braces again without any problems.
Duration of treatment
The duration of treatment with loose braces varies from case to case. A period of one to two years should be expected. Orthodontic treatment often takes longer because the loose braces are then replaced by a fixed one. Many factors play a crucial role in determining the length of treatment. This includes, on the one hand, the individual situation of the teeth and what should be achieved through orthodontic therapy, the age of the patient also influences the duration. Thanks to the growth spurts, young patients are subject to major changes in the area of the jaw. Orthodontists like to use these to achieve quicker success. But the patient himself also has a major influence on the duration of treatment. The desired results can be achieved more quickly through consistent and disciplined wearing of the loose braces. This progress can only be guaranteed in the mouth, but the braces are useless in the drawer. However, in order to get more precise information about the duration of the treatment, one has to contact the orthodontist, as only he can provide a more precise estimate.
Advantages / disadvantages loose vs. fixed braces
A big advantage of the loose braces is that the therapy can be started very early and the young patients participate much better at that age than later in puberty. Another plus point is the fact that the equipment can always be removed, which is an advantage in certain everyday situations. Oral hygiene is also easier with it, as teeth and braces are brushed separately. With the removable braces, jaw misalignments can also be treated much better. The ability to take out the braces is also a disadvantage, as it requires good cooperation from the patient and in many cases simply collects dust on the bedside table.
The fixed braces on the other hand, it cannot be excluded why the cooperation factor does not play such a major role here. When it comes to hygiene, things look very different again. The brackets and wires create excellent niches in which food debris can collect and tooth decay can develop more quickly. Therefore, frequent and precise tooth brushing is necessary, which can be very tedious in the long run. In contrast to loose braces, fixed braces are the method of choice when it comes to correcting misaligned teeth.
As you can see, both devices have their advantages and disadvantages and often have to be used in combination to achieve the desired result.
Care of the loose braces
What is the best way to clean loose braces?
Cleaning the loose braces is an important aspect, as neglected hygiene of the braces leads to the formation of a microbiological film on the surface that is harmful to the teeth. When cleaning correctly, one should make sure that the braces are cleaned at least twice a day. This is best combined with brushing your teeth. The normal toothbrush and toothpaste with which you normally clean the braces are suitable for this. Then you should rinse them off with lukewarm water and dry them.
Care should be taken not to exert too much force on the wire elements, otherwise they can bend and, in the worst case, the braces no longer fit.
Under no circumstances should it be cleaned with boiling water, otherwise the plastic base will melt. In addition, weekly cleaning in vinegar water is recommended. To do this, take a 1: 1 mixture of vinegar and water and insert the braces for half an hour. Then it is cleaned off with a brush and lukewarm water. With the application of this advice, optimal care of the braces is ensured.
What to do if the braces stink?
If the braces start to stink, it may be because they are not cleaned regularly. This causes bacteria to accumulate on the surface and cause the unpleasant smell. It is therefore advisable to brush the appliance twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Learn more at: Clean braces
Another reason may be that the wearer suffers from bad breath. The bad-smelling fragrances stick to the braces and cause them to smell unpleasant too. In this case, oral hygiene should be improved. Often times, using mouthwashes and a tongue cleaner will help.
Coverage of the loose braces
Up to the age of eighteen, orthodontic treatment with loose braces is generally paid for by statutory and / or private health insurances, the patient must initially pay around 30% of the costs, but will be reimbursed after the treatment has been successfully completed.
Basically, one can say that loose braces can be used at any age, but since the orthodontist can make use of the natural growth spurts of their young patients between the ages of nine and fourteen, this is the ideal time to perform orthodontic treatment .
Loose braces are very often used for less pronounced misalignments or when starting treatment in young patients.
Read more on the topic: Cost of braces
Who pays if you've lost the brace?
It happens again and again that someone misplaces their loose braces and then simply cannot find them anymore. This is of course very annoying because a new one has to be found quickly in order to be able to continue the therapy. The question of the assumption of costs also quickly arises, since the costs can amount to several hundred euros. Unfortunately, there is no general answer to this question. Many factors play a role in the question of cost. This includes, for example, whether you still have to go for follow-up checks, which insurance you are with and how old you are. If braces are actually lost, it is advisable to call your health insurance company and tell them about the case. Often they can provide quick information. One should not worry immediately, however, as a solution can often be found without having to pay large additional amounts.
Duration of treatment after fixed braces
After therapy with fixed braces, follow-up treatment is often necessary so that the teeth do not move back into their original position. One possibility of this follow-up treatment is the use of retention braces, which then have to be worn overnight. This then prevents the teeth from drifting away. This type of follow-up treatment usually takes about 1-2 years, as this is the time when most of the teeth shift. In some cases, however, the orthodontist may prescribe a different duration of treatment.
What can you do against the gag reflex with loose braces?
Since the loose braces are foreign objects to the mouth and the mouth can be extremely sensitive, it is not uncommon for patients to develop a gag reflex. In these cases you should give the body a period to get used to and use the braces every now and then. This method can increase the wearing time. Another tip is to breathe through your nose, which will reduce gag reflexes. If the situation does not improve, the orthodontist can grind the plastic parts of the braces so that the palate is less irritated.
What colors are there?
There are actually no restrictions on the choice of color, so that every young patient can choose his or her own favorite color for the braces. The loose braces can be further customized by using different colors and patterns. So if it is decided that you will get a loose clasp, you can express your wishes regarding the color, which can also be implemented in most cases. Of course, the choice of color depends on whether the laboratory in which the orthodontic appliance is to be manufactured also offers such a wide range of colors or only has a palette of a few.