A correct teeth alignment is something that most people have struggled with for quite a while. However, the solution to this problem has also been around for many decades in contemporary dentistry history with the implementation of special attachments called braces.
We will be reviewing what they are, braces types that are still widely used, and their indications.
What are braces?
Braces are special devices temporally attached to the teeth to move and align them in the correct position. They are made out of different parts such as:
- The brackets, which are commonly made of metal and are directly cemented to the teeth,
- The wire that goes across them,
- And the rubber bands that help with the movement.
Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth. This pressure changes the jaw bone, allowing teeth to move safely into the desired position. However, before patients can get braces, they need to achieve certain conditions like healthy gums.
When and why should I get braces?
Although aesthetics is usually the main concern that drives a patient to get braces, it is essential to know that there’s more to it than just the looks. Like every other treatment that dentists perform, there’s a crucial medical reason behind it.
Straightening your teeth with braces might be the solution you need if you have one of the following:
- Overcrowded teeth hindering you from cleaning them properly and causing gum disease
- Over-spacing between your teeth
- Open bite making it hard to chew on food
- Deep overbite injuring the palate gums
- Increased overjet or frontal teeth projection
Having straight teeth will not only improve your looks and aesthetics but also ease your oral care, helping you to prevent gums disease and cavities. Also, it makes eating more comfortable while avoiding jaw pain and giving you better oral health and hygiene.
What are the types of braces?
When it comes to traditional orthodontics, three main types of braces vary from materials they’re made of, the needs of the patient, and the cost.
The main feature of these braces is their metal brackets. They are attached to your teeth’ front surface and are connected by an archwire that helps guide the movement.
These braces can also have a molar band. This band is a ring made from metal that goes around your last molars. Most times, it comes with a hook designed to attach rubber bands that help to apply more pressure and, therefore, enhance the movement.
Ceramic braces work the same way as their traditional counterpart, with the only difference being the material they are made of.
The metal brackets are replaced by one made of ceramic to mimic the color of the teeth and obtain a more natural and aesthetic result.
As its name suggests, these braces get attached to the back part of your teeth instead of the front. Since they are hidden behind your teeth, it is harder for others to spot them, providing a better aesthetic result while wearing them.
However, not every patient can be a candidate for these braces, and only your dentist can tell if you’re suitable for them or not. They also tend to give more discomfort than other types due to their location, and the treatment can take longer.
How long do I have to wear braces?
Every case is different. If you believe you need braces, the first thing to do is appoint a date with your dentist. He will do a complete examination, take some x-rays, and design the best treatment plan possible according to your situation and needs.
The amount of time you will have to spend wearing braces is directly related to your case severity. Moreover, you must attend to the regular visits that your dentist will arrange to allow him to make the required adjustments and get the desired results.
While wearing braces, there are some particular measures and needs that you have to take care of.
Braces are not harmful to your teeth. However, not taking the appropriate care that they require can lead to gum disease and cavities. This can be prevented using the following methods:
- Brush your teeth after every meal to eliminate every food residue that could get stuck to the braces
- Use orthodontic floss to ease the leftovers between teeth and under the wire
- Use an interdental brush, if you have space between your teeth
- Use a water irrigator to eliminate plaque in those areas where you can’t use the other methods properly
After your orthodontic treatment is finished, you might need to use retainers for some time to prevent the teeth from moving back into another position.
These retainers can be permanent or removable. Fixed retainers consist of a thin metal wire that gets bonded to the back of your teeth. On the other hand, removable ones allow you to take them off while eating and ease the cleaning process afterward. Either way, your dentist will discuss every option with you, customizing and adapting your treatment to your needs.
Although orthodontic treatments are commonly used during early youth since the bone is still growing, that doesn’t mean an adult can’t get braces. Even though younger bone makes it easier and faster for the teeth to move, older people can also benefit from the advantages of orthodontic therapy.
Finally, remember that excellent oral health is essential for everyone. Thereby, keep a beautiful and healthy smile with orthodontic treatment.