Dental braces are wire-based appliances orthodontists use to correct crowded and misaligned teeth or jaws.
Aidah Kirabo, 30, had never imagined herself wearing braces until last year when she visited an orthodontist (a dentist who specialises in correcting irregularities of the teeth). Kirabo says her problem started in 2016 at the age of 25.
“I developed the third molars (wisdom teeth) and the extra set of molars pushed my other teeth out of position, thus becoming crooked. I started feeling like my mouth was crowded, which made it very hard to fully close my mouth,” she says.
After sometime Kirabo also found it difficult to smile and when she did, she would cover her mouth with a handkerchief.
Seeing a doctor
In October, 2019, Kirabo visited an orthodontist at Mulago National Referral Hospital who said her jaws and mouth were too small to contain the number of teeth in her mouth.
“He said that in order to correct my teeth, he had to remove some of the premolars and one of the canines in the upper jaw to create space for the other teeth. After the process, braces were installed to help move underlying teeth to cover up spaces and align the crooked teeth,” she explains.
Why you may need braces
Robert Kironde, an orthodontist at Dino Dental Clinic, says different people wear braces for different reasons. Among the reasons is overcrowding of teeth. Some people do not have enough space in their mouth for the growth of permanent teeth thus a misalignment. When teeth are misaligned, it interferes with proper chewing of food.
“Other problems include space between teeth and overlapping of either the upper or lower front teeth,” Kironde explains.
Types of braces
Kironde says once you have discovered what your dental problem is, you must decide on the type of braces you want to wear following an explanation from your doctor “There are a number of braces, but the most common ones are the conventional braces. These consist of metal brackets and an arch wire that is fixed to the front of the teeth.
The brackets are attached to the teeth using a special dental glue,” he explains.
Kironde says lingual braces are also made of metal and are attached to your teeth from the inside (back surfaces of your teeth). “In most cases, patients that opt for lingual braces want their braces to be hidden,” he says.
The third type is the Porcelain veneers, which are thin, tooth-coloured shells that are attached to the front surface of your teeth. However, before wearing them, your dentist reshapes your teeth surface to be equal to the thickness of the porcelain veneer that has to be added to the teeth.
According to Denis Ssemakula, an orthodontist at Zone Dental Clinic Kitebi, the cost of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the type of braces you choose to wear and where you go for treatment. “Conventional Braces will cost between Shs3m to 4m, lingual braces between Shs5m to 6m and the porcelain is charged between Shs8 to Shs9m,” Ssemakula explains.
Ssemakula says braces do not cause stains, but insufficient teeth cleaning while wearing them can lead to stains on the teeth or even tooth decay. He advises that you brush your teeth after every meal. “In case you are at work and have no toothbrush, rinse your mouth with a solution of salt and water after eating,” he advises.