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Braces 101

Braces may seem fairly basic, but they can produce results that are simply brilliant. Through gentle, gradual pressure, braces incrementally move the teeth and jaws until they are in the proper alignment, turning crowded, crooked, or unattractive smiles into beautiful works of art. 

With braces from Bright Now! Dental, you can correct alignment and general dental problems like:

  • Unmatched dental midlines, which can affect the symmetry of your face
  • Open bites, where the top teeth and bottom teeth do not meet
  • Underbites, where the lower jaw pushes forward of the upper jaw
  • Overbites, where the top jaw extends over the lower jaw
  • Overcrowding or improper spacing, where teeth are either too close together or too far apart
  • Periodontal problems such as gum disease resulting from misaligned or crowded teeth that are hard to clean and care for

Not only can braces improve your oral health, they can improve your self-esteem by making you more confident in your smile.

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How are braces placed?

While orthodontic treatment, including braces, is unique to every patient, it all works about the same. Braces in particular follow the same general process for placement and adjustment.

  1. You’ll have a consultation with your dentist, including x-rays. If your dentist recommends orthodontic treatment, you’ll be referred to an orthodontist, who will perform their own initial consultation with x-rays and digital images. The orthodontist will also develop a treatment plan to address your specific alignment issues and inform you of your options for appliances. If you will need braces, the orthodontist will discuss the different types and make their recommendation for the one best suited for your needs.
  2. Your first treatment appointment will consist of placing the brackets. Brackets will be attached to each tooth using a special adhesive.
  3. Once all the brackets are placed, a metal alloy archwire will be threaded between the brackets and secured with tiny elastic bands called o-rings. 
  4. After all of the components of your braces have been placed and inspected by the orthodontist, you’ll begin routine visits every 4-6 weeks to have the braces adjusted. During an adjustment appointment, different sections of the wire are gently tightened to help guide your teeth into place.

Are there different types of braces?

There are several different types of braces, and while they all work in essentially the same way–applying constant, gentle pressure through a system of brackets and wires–each type has its own benefits. These are the different types of braces and their differences:

Metal braces:

Metal braces, also referred to as conventional or traditional braces, are the most common type and are typically the most affordable. A thin metal wire is threaded through the brackets, which are adhered to the front of the teeth, and is incrementally tightened at adjustment appointments. Metal braces also use small o-rings to secure the wires to the brackets, and you can usually choose which colors you want to personalize your appliance.

Ceramic braces:

Ceramic braces function the same way as metal braces, but they’re a little less noticeable because they use tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain brackets instead of metal. Though they can be slightly more expensive than metal braces, ceramic braces are ideal for adults or older teens who need more discreet orthodontic treatment but aren’t good candidates for clear aligners.

Lingual braces:

Lingual braces are metal braces that are placed on the backs of your teeth–making them nearly invisible–and can correct most of the same alignment issues as ceramic or traditional braces. However, lingual braces are more difficult to place and adjust, so they may be more expensive than other options.

What is the best way to take care of braces?

Keeping your braces clean and free of food debris not only keeps your teeth and mouth healthy during your orthodontic treatment, but it can also help make sure your treatment progresses as planned. 

Flossing:

Flossing with braces is a little different than your typical flossing routine.

You’ll need to trim a 2ft long piece of floss, then thread it between each bracket and your teeth. Gently floss between your teeth as well as the areas behind the wire and brackets. You will need to repeat this step for each tooth gap. 

You can save time and stress by using a floss threader. This small, plastic tool will allow you to easily pass floss between those hard-to-reach areas between teeth, teeth gaps, brackets, and wires.

Brushing:

Brushing with braces is pretty much the same as brushing without braces; you’ll just want to be careful not to loosen or break any of the wires. Use a soft-bristle brush and gently brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. If possible, brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth directly after meals to loosen any food particles that may have become trapped in your braces.

Are there foods and activities you should avoid if you have braces?

For the most part, having braces will not interfere with your daily life. However, to protect the appliances and your mouth from damage or injury, it’s important to take certain precautions. 

To prevent damage to your braces, try to avoid:

  • Hard or tough to bite foods, such as apples or bagels
  • Chewy foods, such as taffy or caramels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard pretzels, popcorn, nuts, and carrots
  • Ice or bubble gum

Be sure to wear a mouthguard to prevent damage to the appliances and protect your mouth from injury during contact sports.

Build a Better Smile with Braces from Bright Now! Dental

Braces are just one of the ways Bright Now! Dental can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. At many of our convenient locations, you’ll find orthodontists as well as dentists trained in orthodontic treatment who can help create the perfect treatment plan for you, one that is safe, effective, and affordable. We also offer comprehensive dental care services to help keep that gorgeous grin clean and healthy, with general dentistry like exams and cleanings as well as cosmetic treatments like professional teeth whitening.

Find out how Bright Now! Dental can help you and your family smile brighter by scheduling an appointment at the location nearest you. We can’t wait to meet you!