Brace yourself beautifully

Published: 05th September 2012 12:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2012 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

Keralites are under the grip of braces, literally. Throughout school life Preeti Venkat avoided wearing braces. The fear of pain made her reluctant. Moreever, she felt the problem didn’t need immediate fixing. Then in college, she got slimmer and this changed her facial features. “Suddenly I wasn’t happy seeing my pictures. My teeth was protruding in many of them. I was not able to close my mouth properly. That’s when I decided to go in for braces,” says Preeti, who works with a publishing house in Kochi. Her parents were initially not too pleased with the idea, as they had already registered her name on a few matrimonial sites. “They felt this would unnecessarily interfere with the process. But I kept on insisting and finally three months ago I got the braces done,” she Preeti,

who also observes that the process was somewhat painful (a couple of teeth were extracted), and does bring a little change to your speech. “Like I cannot pronounce certain words correctly. Many people wearing braces

cannot pronounce the word ‘s’ properly’” But Preeti doesn’t mind the year’s wait, till the braces come off, and she can proudly flash her pearly whites. “Also I think a year with braces keeps the proposals at bay. So for one more year I get to enjoy my single life,” she smiles. Many like Preeti are going in for braces. The city dentists vouch that there has been a massive rise in clients going in for orthodontic treatments, and especially braces.

While metal braces remain the most popular, a range of other varieties have also started finding takers. Metal braces - though the most economical - need regular tightening and monthly visits to the dentist. And of course, the metal stars are visible, which interfere somewhat with one’s looks. This may not be a problem for many, but those conscious of it, now have a range of braces to choose from. The next most popular option is ceramic braces that are tooth-coloured. Their brackets are of the same size and shape of metal ones but they are aesthetically better as they blend with the tooth colour. This would cost you upwards of Rs  35,000, where as the standard cost for metal braces is Rs  14,000. Normally, 50 per cent payment is done up front, and then the client pays a fixed, smaller amount each month till the braces are removed. This takes at least ten months. The other three varieties of brases are lingual braces, invisalign and smart bracket. Lingual braces can costs upwards

of 65 thousand. “These are braces that are fitted to the backside of the teeth. These can be incredibly expensive but that is usually dealt with happily since they aren’t typically visible to other people. Unfortunately it is very hard to adjust to lingual braces and, because they get in the way of a tongue’s natural movements, they can cause speech problems as well as do damage to the tongue itself,” says Kochi-based Sanil George, consultant periodontist and Implantologist. Clear braces(invisalign) are another preferred variety, though expensive at over a lakh. “These braces are great for people whose orthodontic problems aren’t that complicated. They are almost entirely invisible (hence the name) and they not easily noticed. These also offer the wearer superior oral hygiene because it’s easy to remove them for brushing and flossing or while you eat,” says Dr Sanil. The most recent development in orthodontia is something 

called the smart bracket. Smart

brackets have microchips in

them. These microchips measure

how much force is needed to act

on the bracket and the interface

of the tooth. The main aim here

is to reduce the amount of time,

expense and discomfort a patient

will experience while undergoing

orthodontic treatment.

Each of these varieties of braces

have been around for more

than a decade now, but it is

only now that clients are asking

for them, says Dr Dr Thomas

Nechupadam. “It is obviously to

do with awareness and their desire

to look good all the time,” he


Though any bracket would

need approximately a year to

work on the teeth, a few of

the more expensive varieties

allow the client to fix

or remove the bracket by

themselves and do not require

as many visits to the


So is ceramic and other

varieties looking to replace

metal braces? “Not really,”

says T’Puram based Dr Sundheep

Elias. “It’s not like say a metal

versus ceramic filling for your

cavities, because there it is permanent.

In the case of braces, one

knows it is temporary, and most

don’t see the point of spending

large amounts on it.”

The ideal age to put braces,

say the dentists is 13-

14, when the bones can be

moulded more effectively.

As one crosses teenage, this

becomes more difficult and

time-consuming. However,

this isn’t dissuading anyone and

the doctors state that increasingly

people over 30, 40 and even 50

are going in for braces.


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