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An uneven smile can affect your confidence and keep you from sharing your best self. Braces are an orthodontic treatment that can help turn the smile you have into the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

In addition to general dentistry services, Bright Now! Dental also offers orthodontic services like braces and clear aligners at most of our convenient locations, making getting the smile of your dreams even easier. What’s more, today’s braces aren’t what they used to be; with options like clear, ceramic, or lingual braces, Bright Now! Dental can help you achieve the smile you want effectively and discretely.

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What are braces and what do they treat?

Braces consist of attachments (or brackets) adhered to the teeth and a wire threaded through the brackets. The wire is periodically tightened or loosened to apply varying degrees of constant pressure to the teeth and gently guide them into the desired position. Small rubber bands may also be used to apply additional pressure on specific areas of the mouth.

Braces are meant to treat a specific set of alignment conditions typically identified in the developmental phases of a person’s life, usually between 10-15 years old.

Some of those conditions include:

  • Underbites
  • Crooked teeth
  • Teeth overcrowding
  • Open bite

Who is a good candidate for braces?

Braces are usually recommended for minor, moderate, or severe cases of misalignment, or malocclusion. Misalignment of the top and bottom jaw–whether as a result of overcrowding, bone development, or something else–can cause uneven wear and tear on certain teeth as well as the jaw, leading to complications like TMJ, tooth decay, or even bone deterioration.

Some signs you may have alignment issues include:

  • Teeth that don’t come together
  • Jaw fatigue, such as with chewing
  • Pain or sensitivity
  • Difficulty speaking

Only an orthodontist or dentist trained in orthodontic treatment can determine if braces are right for you. These professionals are trained in identifying developmental signs and signals that could lead to future dental health problems over the course of a patient’s life and recommending treatment to remedy them.

Adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 account for the majority of braces patients. This is the period in the human developmental cycle where signs of future dental health problems begin to show themselves, but where the jaw is also not yet fully developed, making it more malleable and easier to adjust. 

However, braces can also be just as beneficial for adults, especially if they didn’t have access to proper dental health care early in life, were not able to obtain braces at a formative time in their lives, or who have simply experienced teeth shifting that occur with age. 

What is the process of getting braces?

As with any dental treatment or procedure, it’s important to consult with your family dentist to determine if you or your child are a candidate for braces. It’s likely that your dentist has already mentioned braces to you in the past if you or your child have been seeing them regularly for several years. Scheduling a consultation to discuss braces specifically can be a good opportunity for your dentist to take x-rays and determine if your or your child’s teeth could be causing problems and refer you to an orthodontist.

An orthodontist is a dentist who has received additional training in the physiological and aesthetic process of adjusting teeth, which means they know how to safely create a smile that looks natural. They will perform an initial assessment of your teeth and jaws, usually through x-rays or other digital images, then create a specialized treatment plan.

Once you have a treatment plan, you will have another appointment to place the braces.

Here’s what will happen during that first appointment:

  • Your teeth will be cleaned to make sure there is a clean surface for the braces to adhere to.
  • Brackets will be attached to your teeth using dental cement.
  • Once all of the brackets have been placed, a thin metal wire is threaded through each one and attached so that it is not removable. 
  • The wire will be tightened to start applying pressure to your teeth. 
  • Depending on the type of braces, you may be able to choose colored elastics to put over the braces, which will hold the wire in place.

From this point forward, you will visit the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks or so to have the wires adjusted according to your treatment plan until your teeth have moved into their proper alignment.

How do I take care of braces?

There will be an adjustment period with your braces during which you may feel some discomfort or pressure, and you may experience some sensitivity immediately after adjustment appointments after your braces have been tightened. Additionally, the metal brackets and wires can occasionally cause sores or irritation to your gums or cheeks, especially in the first few weeks of having them. 

There are plenty of things you can do to help minimize the discomfort, manage any pain, and protect your appliances from damage, such as:

  • Apply ice packs to sore areas.
  • Use dental wax to cover sections of your braces and numbing gel to treat sores.
  • Avoid hard or very crunchy or sticky foods.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed to manage inflammation, sensitivity, or discomfort. 

How much do braces cost?

Although they can be expensive, braces are an investment in your long-term dental health. Treating issues like overcrowding or malocclusion in earlier years can help prevent other more serious problems in the future. 

The cost of braces can vary widely. Braces are a very specific treatment method that is unique to every patient, so how much you can expect to pay can depend on your insurance, the type of braces, and the duration of treatment.

However, Bright Now! Dental offers an array of options to help you afford the braces that you or your child need for a healthy, beautiful smile. In addition to accepting most major dental insurance plans and CareCredit, Bright Now! Dental provides flexible payment and financing plans to help spread your costs out and reduce some of the financial burden of braces. Contact one of our offices to learn more. 

Build a Beautiful Smile with Braces from Bright Now! Dental

Let Bright Now! Dental help you find your best smile, from professional teeth cleanings and whitening treatments to braces. We make getting and keeping a gorgeous grin easy, convenient, and affordable, with comprehensive dental care services for everyone in your family. Schedule an appointment today so you can start smiling brighter!