Getting braces is an investment – both financially and in your physical look. But with so many questions, it can be difficult to know if they are the right choice for you. Read on to find out all of the answers you need to make sure that getting braces is the right decision for you!
What Are Braces and How Do They Work?
Braces are a form of dental treatment that corrects crooked teeth and misaligned bite patterns by applying continuous pressure over time to gradually move teeth into their desired position. Braces consist of brackets, wires and bands. Brackets are bonded to the front side of each tooth, while the archwires thread through the brackets, connecting them together. The tension created by the archwires works to move teeth into alignment. Rubber bands or springs connect to the brackets and act as force multipliers, helping guide and hold teeth in place once they reach their desired position.
Braces need regular adjustments to make sure that everything is working correctly as your teeth move into alignment. Adjustments tighten the wires in your braces so they can continue doing their job – moving your teeth into an improved position over time. Without regular adjustments, your braces will not be able to work properly at all! These important appointments help ensure that your orthodontic treatment gets completed in a timely fashion and that you get beautiful results you’ll love for years to come!
What Are the Different Types of Braces?
When considering braces, many people want to know what types of braces are available and which one might be the best for their individual needs. Below is an overview of the different types of braces that are commonly used today.
- Metal Braces: Metal braces are the most common type, and they consist of metal brackets bonded to your teeth connected by tightly-wound metal wires. These wires will be adjusted over time to apply gentle pressure to your teeth and move them into the desired position.
- Ceramic (Clear) Braces: Clear ceramic braces are an aesthetic alternative to metal braces; they use brackets made from ceramic or composite materials that match or blend with tooth color, making them virtually invisible. They work just like regular metal braces except for one exception–they’re less noticeable in the mouth.
- Lingual Braces: Lingual braces are similar in design to conventional metal braces but instead of attaching them to the front of the teeth, they are attached behind your teeth, making them nearly invisible from casual observation. They work in much the same way as traditional metal and clear ceramic braces do, but due to their unique positioning, they do not require any changes in oral hygiene habits and can be cleaned like regular teeth without any extra effort or time.
- Invisalign: Invisalign is a modern alternative to traditional orthodontic treatments; instead of metal brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners which act like trays that fit snugly over your teeth; as you wear each aligner every couple weeks you’ll gradually move closer towards your desired smile! Unlike other types of braces Invisalign retainers can be removed while eating or brushing so you’ll never have to change your dietary habits or oral hygiene methods during treatment!
What Is the Average Cost of Braces?
The average cost of having braces depends on how complex your orthodontic treatment is and the type of braces you choose. Generally, metal braces range in cost from about $3,500 to $7,500 and may be covered in part or in full by select health insurance plans.
More expensive types of braces, such as lingual braces or ceramic ones that attach to the back of the teeth and can blend in with the natural tooth color, can be more expensive. Invisalign® is another popular option, but it can cost a few thousand more than metal braces.
The best way to determine your exact out-of-pocket costs is to visit a qualified orthodontist for an initial consultation which typically costs between $80–$200. They’ll be able to diagnose your specific needs and provide you with an estimate of what kind of treatment you’ll need and associated costs before any work begins.
What Are the Risks and Benefits of Braces?
The decision of whether or not to get braces is a big one and it can have a long-term effect on your smile. The risks and benefits must be taken into account to ensure you make the right choice for your mouth. While most people who do choose to get braces benefit from them, some may experience serious complications.
Benefits of Braces:
- Straightening crooked teeth, creating proper bite alignment,
- Increasing ability to chew and digest food properly,
- Improving a person’s appearance and boosting their confidence,
- Making it easier to floss and brush teeth by eliminating hidden spaces between crooked teeth that can harbor bacteria,
- Aiding in jaw function and offsetting the wear of tooth grinding habits.
Risks of Braces:
- Discomfort from the metal wiring inside the mouth,
- Increased chance of cavities due to difficulty cleaning around brackets and wires,
- Teeth may be weakened due to enamel loosened by the braces rubbing against them for long periods of time,
- The possibility that some patients may need additional treatment if their jaws don’t move into place as expected during orthodontic care.
It is important to research the risks versus benefits before undergoing any form of orthodontic treatment or braces so that you can be sure that it is a decision made with full knowledge of any potential complications. Talking with your dentist or an orthodontist prior to beginning treatment can help ensure you make the right decision for your health.
How Long Does It Take to Get Braces?
The length of treatment with braces varies from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the misalignment and the type of braces applied. In general, children and teens benefit from faster treatment than adults; however, it may still take up to two years for the entire procedure to be complete.
The typical routine for braces involves:
- Seeing your orthodontist every four to six weeks for regular adjustments or check-ups.
- During these appointments, screws and bands may be adjusted or tightened in order to gradually create a proper alignment within your mouth.
Your orthodontist will provide you with a detailed timeline of expected treatment duration early on in the process. As well, if any unforeseen issues arise during your course of treatment, this timeline may be extended accordingly. It’s important to maintain open communication with your orthodontist throughout your journey so that they can create a plan tailored appropriately for you.
What Are the Common Side Effects of Wearing Braces?
When you first get braces, it’s not unusual to experience some physical side effects. The most common are:
- Soreness: As your teeth and jaws adjust to the pressure of braces, you may have some soreness around the brackets and wires. This soreness can last for several days after an adjustment.
- Difficulty speaking: Speaking with braces may take a bit more practice initially. With time, however, you should be able to speak uniformly and effortlessly as normal.
- Headache/discomfort in jaw area: Braces can cause tension on the teeth which can lead to headaches or pain in the jaw area. An Orthodontist will advise if this strain requires treatment.
- Increased saliva flow: As braces put pressure on your teeth, it is quite normal for saliva production to increase temporarily as the body adjusts to the new position of your teeth and jaws. This should reduce within a couple of days and is rarely cause for alarm.
It is important to talk to your Orthodontist about any side effects or concerns that you may have about wearing braces and seek medical advice immediately if any problems worsen or persist for more than a few days following an adjustment.
What Are the Different Types of Retainers After Braces?
After your braces come off, it is essential to maintain your teeth in the correct position with a retainer. The types of retainers offered vary depending on your orthodontist, but typically include Hawley retainers and clear removable retainers.
- Hawley Retainers: These are one of the most common types of retainers. It is made from an acrylic arch that sits at the roof of the mouth and wires that extend over the top front teeth and around them to keep them in place. They are very durable, so they can withstand regular wear over time, but they can also be adjusted to fit your changing dental needs.
- Clear Removable Retainers: These look similar to Invisalign trays as they’re made from a clear plastic material moulded exactly to your teeth’s shape. You can remove them when you eat or brush your teeth, then put them back in when you’re done. Clear removable retainers are comfortable, easy to keep clean and often less intrusive than other types of orthodontic devices.
- Permanent Bonded Retainers: These permanent forms of retainers stay fixed on the back part of your lower front teeth or behind each side of upper first molars for a lifetime when used correctly due to placement that is not easily accessible by oral brushing/flossing habits. Patients who opt for permanent bonded retainers must be diligent about keeping up with oral hygiene routine in order to prevent oral cavities and dental infections caused by bacterial buildup near the retainer-attached areas.
Your orthodontist may provide other recommendations for maintaining proper tooth alignment after braces treatment ends depending on their diagnosis and findings from previous treatments using x-ray images taken during appointments.
How Can I Care for My Teeth After Braces?
After braces are removed, taking care of your newly-straightened teeth is essential. The best way to ensure your teeth remain healthy is to practice proper oral hygiene– brushing, flossing and attending regular dental check-ups– along with any additional recommended care.
While food can still accumulate in the areas between the braces, it’s important to take extra care in cleaning them periodically. This helps avoid cavities and plaque buildup that may lead to discoloration or gum disease. Soft bristled toothbrushes were specifically made for thorough cleaning around braces. You can also use a special orthodontic brush that fits over the brackets of your braces to reach those hard-to-reach areas.
It’s important to floss at least twice a day to address areas that might have been hidden by the brackets earlier on in the treatment process. Water picks and floss threaders help make this job easier and more efficient when used correctly. If brushing and flossing is not done properly, you may be more prone to cavities due to broken down enamel which was once covered by the brackets and wires.
Your orthodontist may recommend special fluoride treatments after your braces come off as an added measure of protection for weaker spots created by bacteria and acid during treatment. Additionally, avoiding staining food or drinks such as coffee or tea can help keep those pearly whites straight and bright!