your teeth are crooked? Well, that probably means you’re
going to have to take a trip to the orthodontist. If you’re
not sure whether or not you need to see an orthodontist about your
teeth, ask your dentist. He or she will be able to recommend an
orthodontist for you. The orthodontist specializes in the way your
teeth are lined up. So, if you go to the orthodontist, expect him
or her to examine your teeth, mouth and jaws. You’ll get
an x-ray, and you’ll also probably have a mould taken of
your teeth. This is done by clamping your teeth down in a tray
of clay-like stuff in order to create an exact replica of your
mouth. The x-rays and the mould will help your orthodontist determine
if you need braces or a retainer, or nothing at all.
You’ve seen braces probably on kids in
your school or on TV and all around you. You’ve probably
heard people called names like “metal mouth” or “railroad
track face.” There is really nothing to freak out about if
you need braces. So many girls your age wear braces that it’s
totally normal. Plus, think about the long run. When you get those
braces removed, your teeth will be perfectly straight and beautiful … you
might not even recognize yourself. Do you want to know how braces
make your teeth straight? Well, they put constant pressure on your
teeth over a long period of time, which forces them to get
into the right position. When you have braces, you’ll need
to go to the orthodontist a lot for regular check-ups. This is
to make sure the braces are doing their job and staying in place.
Sometimes, you’ll have your “wires tightened,” which
means the orthodontist will tighten up the braces and give you
rubber bands. These rubber bands are added to your braces to help
the process along. The cool thing about rubber bands is that you
can get lots of different colors, to match your outfit, to cheer
for your favorite team, to show your patriotism or to celebrate
a holiday. There are also new, nearly invisible braces that you
can ask your orthodontist about. With braces, there will be certain
things you can’t eat or drink. Chewing hard foods like bagels
and pretzels will be difficult. Also, you won’t be able to
chew gum or eat lots of candy or drink much soda. Your orthodontist
will give you a list of foods to stay away from so that you won’t
have complications or get cavities and other tooth problems while
you have the braces on. If you do happen to get a cavity while you have your
braces on, it can be difficult and painful to fix. So, be careful
and listen to your orthodontist for sure.
At night, some people with braces have to wear head gear. This
is to continue the tooth-fixing process while you sleep. Head gear
is a funny-looking contraption, but it is safe, fixed to your mouth
and won’t move while you sleep. At first, head gear isuncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it after a while.
Also, it can be embarrassing to wear such a big, silly
wire-thing on your face. Remember that nobody is going to see you
while you’re sleeping, so there’s no need to be embarrassed.
Also remember that the more you wear your head gear, the faster
your teeth will be fixed and you won’t have to worry about
any contraptions any more.
The other reason you may go to the orthodontist is for a retainer.
A retainer is kind of like a mouth guard that you wear in field
hockey and other sports—except it’s made of wire and
plastic, and it’s more comfortable. Retainers are usually
made and worn once teeth are moved into position, so that they
will RETAIN their position. You are supposed to wear the retainer
all day long. But you have to take it out when you eat and when
you go to sleep. That’s why you should carry a little case
around with you. You need to keep your retainer safe and clean
when it’s not in your mouth. It’s important that you
don’t lose or forget about your retainer because it’s
really expensive and hard to replace. The major difference between
braces and retainers is that you have to remember to wear your
retainer. So, it’s up to you to be a part of the tooth-fixing
process. If you goof around or skip days with your retainer, you’ll
only complicate the problem and end up wearing it longer. It’s
also important to keep your retainer really clean. It sits around
in your mouth all day, where lots of bacteria and germs fester.
At night, when you brush your teeth, brush your retainer too. That
should help to keep it clean and to kill the germs. Some people
choose to soak their retainers in mouthwash or in other cleaning
solutions. Talk to your orthodontist about the best care solution
for you and your mouthpiece.