Braces: Types, Care, and What To Expect
The desire for straight teeth can be traced all the way back to Ancient Egypt.
Did you know some mummies in Egypt were found with makeshift “braces”?
However, as reported by American Association of Orthodontics, in today’s world, there are four million people having braces at this very moment.
Moreover, there are more than 10 different types of braces at present.
You and your orthodontist evaluate what type of braces are best for you.
This is your complete guide explaining all the details you need to know about braces. So, let’s not wait and get started!
What Are Braces?
Braces are the dental tools that we use for correcting teeth problems like misalignment, crooked teeth or crowding.
Most of the people go for braces during their teenage. However, anyone can get them including you, your parents as well as your grandparents.
Moreover, if you are having crooked teeth or bite misalignment (an overbite or an underbite), you can choose a variety of treatments in order to bring your teeth in proper alignment.
These include braces and retainers, can be custom-made, either removable or fixed tools that would cover the outer surface of your teeth and help them keeping and growing in proper position.
Most of the general dentists deal with other tooth problems and basic alignment procedure.
However, orthodontists specialize in the correction of problems like misalignment or crowding.
Your dentist or orthodontist will start by asking general questions, doing clinical examination and digital scanning of your teeth and taking X-rays.
After that, they’ll develop a treatment plan that will suit you best.
What Do Braces Do?
Braces offer the corrective treatment for:
- Crooked teeth
- A lot of space between teeth
- Too much overlapping of upper front teeth with lower front teeth, either horizontally (overjet) or vertically (overbite)
- Upper front teeth biting behind the lower front teeth (underbite)
- Any other problem in the jaw alignment that leads to an uneven bite (also known as malocclusion)
- Adjusting smile
- Improving facial aesthetics
- Proper chewing
- Better speech and articulation
Types of Braces
Your orthodontist will recommend the type depending on your age, whether you have an underbite or an overbite and various other factors.
Braces are custom-made in order to meet the needs of each person individually.
However, when you think of braces, the classic ones that come to your mind must be the metallic brackets glued separately to each one of your teeth, right?
Your jaw and teeth are put under pressure by an arch wire. Moreover, these are the elastic O-rings that connect arch wire to the bracket.
Periodic adjustment is made in the arch wire as your teeth gradually move into the desired place.
Moreover, your orthodontist will switch out the elastic bands during each appointment.
The most common types are explained below.
These are the traditional braces and are made of metal. These comprise of the following parts:
- Brackets that attach to the front of your teeth or bands around each tooth
- Flexible wires or arch wires that hold the bands or brackets together
- Rubber bands or metal ties linking brackets to the wire
The bands are not used in all the cases and are generally meant to create more pressure that helps aligning and straightening your teeth.
Moreover, sometimes your orthodontist may suggest you to wear a device known as headgear at night.
Its purpose is also to build more pressure in order to straighten your teeth. You can put it on easily and then take it off whenever you want.
The brackets in metal braces are now available in ceramic as well.
Moreover, the ceramic is tooth-colored, so you don’t even notice them as much.
Furthermore, they can also be made with clear materials, stainless steel, or gold.
The brackets of lingual braces are attached to the backside of your teeth.
They face your tongue as you can see in the picture below.
As evident from the picture, these are not as visible as the ones put on the frontside of your teeth.
The clear trays of plastic that fit snugly onto your teeth are the invisible braces. The other term for them is clear aligners.
They also use pressure in order to gently and gradually align your teeth into a proper position.
You may remove them when you are eating, flossing or brushing. However, you should keep them on for at least 22 hours a day in order for them to serve the purpose.
Moreover, for the purpose of holding the aligners in place, your orthodontist may also place attachments onto your teeth that have a color similar to your teeth.
How Do Braces Work?
Treatment procedure comprises of three phases
- Placement of braces/clear aligners
- Periodic adjustments
- Using retainer after braces
Braces work by exerting continuous pressure on your teeth for extended time periods.
As a result, your jaw adapts itself into a shape that conforms to the build up pressure.
Moreover, there is a membrane surrounded by your bones in the jaw. This membrane roots your teeth to the jaw.
It is also responsible for controlling the position of your teeth as well as responding to the pressure build by braces.
What to Expect?
It usually doesn’t hurt while getting braces during the appointment.
Moreover, it takes around one to two hours for installing them.
You may experience swelling or soreness during the first week.
Each time, your orthodontist adjusts your braces, you may also feel soreness for a few days.
After your teeth are perfectly clean and dry, metallic, ceramic or plastic brackets are glued onto your teeth.
The application of brackets may be uncomfortable, but it’s not usually painful.
These brackets will help the pressure to distribute evenly onto your teeth.
Wires are used to connect and surround the brackets.
These wires are made of nickel titanium, stainless steel, or copper titanium.
Elastic bands also known as ligatures or O-rings, are then put around the brackets.
They help building up more pressure and are typical of traditional treatments.
These are made of metal rings or rubber bands and are put between molars.
Spacers help pushing your jaw in a forward direction by making space at the backside of mouth.
They also make space for braces if it is getting difficult for them to fit at the back of your mouth.
Arch wires make a connection between brackets and your teeth.
They also build pressure to move your teeth into proper place.
These can be made of nickel titanium, stainless steel or copper titanium.
These are attached to one of your molars and anchors the other parts of your braces.
Often placed on the arch wire, springs apply pressure in between the two of your teeth, push them apart and add space.
How to Prepare For Braces?
Getting dental braces and having them is generally a very safe procedure.
However, there can be certain risks which are either short-term or long-term.
Let’s find out more about it!
With having braces on, it gets difficult to clean teeth properly which leads to accumulation of food and bacteria-filled plaque deposits.
It can further lead to:
Long-term risks usually include:
- Loss of correction (if you don’t wear retainers after braces)
- Shorter root lengths (which can lead to less stable teeth)
How To Reduce The Risk of Damage?
In order to reduce the risk of damage:
- Cut down on starch and sugary foods as well as beverages
- Brush very carefully
- Rinse thoroughly
- Use a fluoride rinse
- Avoid sticky foods
- Floss in a timely manner
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning
- Follow your dentist’s instructions
How to Prepare?
The process of preparation usually involves:
- Oral examination (of jaw, teeth and the oral cavity)
- X-rays (to analyze the position of your teeth)
- Plaster models (for the evaluation of bite)
- Potential tooth extraction (in case of overcrowding)
- Other procedures (such as jaw repositioning surgery along with other orthodontic treatments)
After a thorough examination, your orthodontist will customize a treatment plan for you.
After getting braces, you need to be extra careful regarding what you eat.
Avoid sticky foods that are likely to get trapped in between your braces, such as:
- chewing gum
- hard candies
- sugary beverages
- other starchy foods
Such foods can further lead to tooth decay and loss of tooth enamel.
Moreover, visit your orthodontist every 8 to 10 weeks while you have braces on.
He’ll take care of any problem that may arise. He’ll also change out O-rings whenever necessary.
How to Clean Teeth With Braces?
You have to take extra care of your oral cavity while you have braces on.
Here are some useful tips:
- Brush after every meal in order to prevent it from getting trapped
- Use special floss as per the recommendation of your orthodontist
- Floss around braces two times a day
- A special device known as interdental toothbrush can help cleaning below or around arch wires and brackets.
- Schedule appointments with your dentist every six months for the purpose of special cleaning while having braces on
Services at Al-Qudrah
Our orthodontists at Al-Qudrah use a variety of appliances for the purpose of realigning teeth and fixing bite issues.
We will find the right solution that would perfectly fit your needs.
We offer braces, each one serving a specific purpose depending upon the condition of your teeth. One option is functional orthodontic appliances.
Functional orthodontic appliances are the version of braces that resolve bite problems, referred to as Class-II.
Click on the link Functional Orthodontic Appliances to find more about it.
If you are looking for the finest treatment options, don’t forget to check them out.
This was pretty much it. We have probed into all the possible details that you needed to know about braces.
Still, if you feel like adding something or have any queries, please leave your comments in the section below.
We would be looking forward to reply to your queries and feedback.