Dental braces (also known as braces, orthodontic cases, or cases) are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite, while also working to improve dental health.
A dentist usually recommends braces to improve a patient’s “orofacial” appearance. Through orthodontic treatment, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joints are corrected. If left untreated, these problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
Patients with orthodontic problems can benefit from treatment at nearly any age. An ideal time for placement of braces is between 10 and 14 years of age, while the head and mouth are still growing and teeth are more accessible to straightening. However, because any adjustments in facial appearance can be traumatic to a child during these sensitive years, parents should discuss the matter with their children before braces are applied.
And braces aren’t just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.
The duration of the treatment varies from one patient to another. The more complicated your spacing or bite problem is, and the older you are, the longer the period of treatment. Most patients can count on wearing full braces between 12 and 36 months and some may even last for 48 months (case to case basis). This is followed by wearing a retainer to set the teeth in place and prevent possible relapse.
All appliances may feel strange at first, and can cause discomfort. If the problem doesn’t go away, the orthodontist may be able to carry out adjustments to help. Teeth are usually uncomfortable immediately after a brace has been adjusted, but this will settle.
It is important to keep having your teeth checked by your dental team while you are having orthodontic treatment. You also need to take extra care of your teeth and mouth:
- Clean your teeth carefully every day, including between your teeth where you can. Braces are delicate and you need to make sure you clean them carefully so that they do not break. Your dental team will be able to show you the special techniques to use depending on the appliance you are wearing.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Avoid snacks and drinks containing sugars, and fizzy drinks. Also, sticky and hard foods may damage your brace.
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Use a mouthwash if you need to. Your dental team may recommend a stronger fluoride toothpaste, or perhaps a fluoride gel or mouthrinse, for you to use.
These are the metal brackets and wires that most people picture when they hear the word “braces.” However, modern brackets are smaller and less noticeable than the notorious “metal-mouth” braces than many adults remember. Plus, new heat-activated archwires use your body heat to help teeth move more quickly and less painfully than in the past.
Metal braces is also the most affordable among all the options.
Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, except that they have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend in to teeth. Some even use tooth-colored wires to be even less noticeable. Most of the artists and celebrities get this type of braces. However this is more expensive compared to metallic braces.
Maintain a good oral hygiene and care for your brackets as this could cause staining of the ceramic brackets.
Invisalign consists of a series of 18 to 30 custom-made, mouth guard-like clear plastic aligners. The aligners are removable and are replaced every 2 weeks with the next set of aligners. It is almost invisible and many people won’t be able to notice that you are under treatment. You may also eat and drink whatever you want with this type of braces.
However, this type of braces is the most expensive and not intended also for severe cases.