What are Braces?
Braces are orthodontic appliances bonded to teeth that are used to correct misaligned teeth and bite-related issues. Braces are indicated for crowding, open bite, excessive overjet, and other conditions.
Are Braces Right for Me?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends a consultation with an orthodontist starting at age 7. All consults at our office incur no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
Growth, development, and dental alignment will be evaluated and braces may be prescribed if needed. The doctor will check for missing teeth, baby teeth that are not falling out, or teeth that may be stuck. In recent decades, braces have grown more popular with adults due to more discreet designs and a shrinking social stigma.
What Issues do Braces Solve?
Braces are particularly effective at treating simple and complex cases. While clear aligners are able to address minor cosmetic issues, they are ill-equipped to tackle significant tooth corrections, as they cannot exert the same force and reposition teeth with the same effectiveness as braces.
Because of their mechanics, braces can successfully rotate and pull teeth into position, allowing them to fix complicated issues like crossbites.
How do I Keep my Braces in Shape?
Braces should be treated as an extension of your teeth and require regular maintenance to ensure effectiveness. To preserve the structural integrity of your braces, it’s important to:
Brush and Floss Regularly
When undergoing treatment with braces, it’s important to clean your teeth after every meal to prevent plaque buildup. In addition to increased frequency, the way you brush needs to change. To properly care for your braces, invest in a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Brush at a 45-degree angle and use circular motions, cleaning wires and brackets from top to bottom. When you floss, be sure to clean both between the teeth and under the wires using slow, gentle motions. Flossing aggressively can strain the wires and potentially damage your braces.
Avoid Certain Foods
Sticky foods, like gummy bears or caramel, should be avoided at all costs, as they can become lodged between wires and adhere to brackets. Crunchy snacks like chips are also problematic, as they can cause wires to snap.
If you’re craving crunchy foods, consider cutting them into small, bite-size pieces to limit the strain on your wiring.
Protect Against Hard Contact
Hard contact can cause pieces of your lips, cheeks, or gums to become lodged in between brackets, causing injury. This is of particular concern for athletes, who are constantly exposed to dangerous conditions.
People who play physical sports can still participate but it’s important to take precautions. Instead of wearing a generic mouth guard, make an appointment with your orthodontist to be fitted for a custom mouth guard that you can wear on both your bottom and top teeth.
What are some Benefits of Undergoing Braces Treatment?
Braces improve the functionality of your teeth and jaw, correcting existing issues and preventing future complications from taking hold. The benefits of undergoing an alignment with braces include:
- Less difficulty chewing and speaking
- Reduced risk of gum disease, TMJ, and arthritis
- Elimination of bad breath
- Improved digestion
- Reduced wear and tear on teeth
- Weight loss
- Cosmetic improvement and self-confidence improvement
- Decreased crowding, allowing for improved hygiene
What does the Braces Placement and Fitting Process Entail?
After extensive cleaning, your orthodontist will begin the fitting procedure by placing a special adhesive on your teeth. Once the glue is applied, your brackets will be placed on top, affixing them to the teeth.
After each bracket has been positioned, your back molars may be fitted with metal bands to properly anchor the braces if necessary. These bands will be attached in a similar manner as the brackets and may require some additional manipulating to achieve the proper fit.
Finally, your orthodontist will attach an archwire to your brackets, using rubber bands, or ligatures, to hold the braces in place. The process should take 1-2 hours and may result in minor soreness over the next few days.