If you or your child has been advised to get braces but you’re not sure what to expect, you’re not alone. The process may seem intimidating at first, but rest assured it’s a straightforward, painless procedure that is quite common among children and adults alike. Before you dive into it though, it’s important to be aware of the basics of braces.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the positioning of teeth and jaws.
Braces are devices that are used to straighten teeth, close gaps, align jaws, and improve overall dental health and aesthetics.
Braces consist of brackets, wires, and bands that are used to move teeth over a period of months or years.
The brackets are attached to individual teeth, and the wires are threaded through them, applying gentle pressure to move the teeth into the desired positions.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s dive into the details of what to expect when getting braces.
The Process of Getting Braces
The process of getting braces typically involves multiple steps that will span several months, or even years depending on the individual’s specific dental needs.
The first stage is a consultation with an orthodontist, who will evaluate your teeth and jaws, and determine if you are a good candidate for braces. He or she will also explain the treatment options available and answer any questions you may have.
Once you decide to proceed with braces, x-rays, photographs, and impressions will be taken of your teeth and jaws. These will be used to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
The next step is the actual placement of the braces. Your orthodontist will clean and prepare your teeth, and then bond the brackets onto them. The wires will then be threaded through the brackets.
After the braces are placed, you will need to visit your orthodontist on a regular basis, typically every 4-6 weeks, for adjustments and follow-up visits. During these visits, your orthodontist will tighten the wires and adjust the brackets as needed to ensure steady progress towards your desired results.
Once the course of treatment is complete, the braces will be removed, and you will be given a retainer to wear to help maintain the new position of your teeth.
While the process may seem long and daunting, it’s important to remember that the end result will be well worth it – a confident, healthy smile that will last a lifetime.
Taking Care of Your Braces
While you have braces, it’s important to take extra care of your teeth and braces to ensure the most effective and efficient treatment possible.
Brush your teeth and braces thoroughly after each meal and before bed, using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
Floss between your teeth and braces at least once a day, using a floss threader if necessary to get the floss under the wires.
Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can damage your braces. Instead, opt for soft, healthy foods that are easy to chew and won’t get stuck in your braces.
Wear a mouthguard if you play sports to protect your teeth and braces from injury.
If a bracket or wire becomes loose, contact your orthodontist immediately to have it repaired.
By following these tips, you can help ensure the most successful outcome for your braces treatment.
The Future of Braces
While traditional metal braces are still the most common type of braces used today, there are a variety of other options available for those who desire a more discreet and comfortable braces experience.
Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets that are less noticeable than metal ones.
Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth instead of the front, making them virtually invisible from the outside.
Invisalign is a series of clear, removable aligners that fit over your teeth and gradually shift them into place. While not suitable for all types of orthodontic issues, Invisalign is a popular choice for those seeking a more comfortable and discreet braces experience.
No matter which type of braces you choose, the overall goal remains the same – to achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.