Braces and Other Orthodontic Devices
Traditional orthodontics refers to the well-established methods of straightening the teeth and jaw. It focuses most specifically on the use of dental braces.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces move the teeth using wires that are connected to each tooth. When the wire is pulled tight, it slowly puts pressure on the teeth. This pressure creates a very slow and continuous movement.
Types of Braces
Although many braces are made with metal brackets and wire fitted around the outside of the teeth, braces can also be made from other dental materials and fitted differently in the mouth. The type of braces your doctor recommends will be based on your treatment plan, goals, cosmetic concerns, and the cost of the treatment.
Metal and Wire Braces
When you think about braces, what comes to mind is most likely traditional metal braces. These have three main components: Metal brackets adhered to the teeth, arch wire connecting the brackets, and, in some cases, small rubber bands that wrap around the brackets to add pressure to the braces. Over time, metal braces have become smaller and less conspicuous.
Ceramic braces are made from a composite material that can be created with various levels of transparency. This means that they can look “tooth-coloured,” blending in with the teeth and making the braces less noticeable and less prominent in the mouth.
Lingual braces are made from metal but are constructed on the inward-facing (lingual) sides of the teeth so that they are not noticeable from the outside of the mouth. Lingual braces are often more costly than traditional braces.
Another option for people who are considering braces is clear plastic aligners or Invisalign, which are removable plastic trays that can be easily taken off the teeth.
Traditional Orthodontics FAQs
Am I a candidate for braces?
There are several factors that may determine whether you are a candidate for braces. If you have other oral conditions, such as tooth decay or gum disease, your doctor may recommend a different solution in your treatment plan. The severity of your malocclusion (or misalignment) will also be a determining factor.
The teeth are easier to shift during their development stages, which is why many traditional orthodontic patients are children. However, teens and adults can also be good candidates for braces.
How long do I have to wear them?
Treatments plans for individuals often determine the length of the treatment timeline. Many patients have to wear braces for 1-3 years, after which, they may be given a device called a retainer to keep the teeth in their new positions. Your doctor will likely recommend that you wear your retainer day and night for a specific period of time, and after that time period, only at night.
Is getting braces painful?
Braces typically become comfortable for patients once they have time to adjust to the feeling of the braces in their mouth and the pressure. However, there may be some pain or discomfort after the initial appointment when the braces are applied or at follow-up appointments to have them tightened. If this occurs, over the counter pain relievers are usually recommended to ease the pain.
How do I clean my braces properly?
Keeping your braces clean is important to your overall oral health. It can be more challenging to take care of your teeth when you have braces, but there are some tools and techniques your doctor may recommend to simplify the process, including”
- Brushing under your braces with a toothbrush with long bristles.
- Using a water flosser to get between your teeth without winding floss between your braces.
- Using mouthwash to kill any bacteria that you couldn’t reach while brushing (try to find one that has fluoride in it).
- Staying away from sticky foods or foods that can break apart into hard pieces and become stuck between your braces (such as popcorn or chips).
Find an Orthodontic Provider Near You
Many dentists and orthodontists in the 123Dentist network offer traditional orthodontics and braces as a treatment option. If you’re looking for a recommended dentist near you, search the 123Dentist network to find a dental clinic in your area.