Dental braces or orthodontic braces are specially designed devices that can straighten crooked teeth and misaligned bites. Today we are going to answer the question of how do braces work, so that you can better appreciate the process and work closely with your dental practitioner to enjoy a straighter, healthier smile that is easy to keep clean.
How Do Braces Work?
Orthodontic braces and retainers are orthodontic treatments that are used to move teeth and shift jaws into their correct positions. They make use of pressure, which is created by a system of small brackets and wires in the case of traditional braces, to move teeth and jaws into the correct positions.
Because braces make use of gentle pressure, they need to be worn for an extended period of time – usually a year or two years. As your teeth do move into their correct spaces, your braces will need to be adjusted, in order to maintain the pressure system that moves your teeth into position.
Once you have been assessed, x-rayed and had digital photographs of your mouth taken, your dentist will give you a treatment plan, detailing the types of braces that can correct your teeth or jaw, and the duration of time you can expect to wear them.
The treatment plan will document the cost of your braces as well as how often you can expect to see your dental practitioner during your treatment.
The Importance Of Wearing A Retainer
Once your braces have been removed though, it’s important to note that your treatment doesn’t quite end there. You will be given a retainer to wear, usually at night when you’re asleep, for a period of time, once your braces have been taken off.
It is essential that you wear your retainer as directed by your dentist, so that your teeth do not shift back into their former positions. Many patients get over-excited at the prospect of being free of braces and don’t wear their retainer – and are often disappointed at the results.
What Types Of Braces Of Braces Are Available?
There’s never been a better time to wear braces because there are more options available today than ever before. Remember that each type does have its pros and cons, and not every type of orthodontic treatment is as effective in any scenario. Your dentist will guide you into choosing the orthodontic option that will help you achieve your treatment goals.
Making use of a wire and metal bracket system, metal braces have been around for the longest and are probably the best known. Today’s metal braces are smaller and more discreet than they used to be too.
While some patients are not keen on wearing them, metal braces are highly effective at treating crooked and crowded teeth, uneven gaps and spaces, overbites, underbites and crossbites. They are also the most affordable braces on the market, making them popular for younger patients and teenagers.
Ceramic braces are sized and shaped like metal braces, but they have clear or tooth coloured brackets, making them much less noticeable. They deliver fast results, without the need to wear metal. Because they are ceramic it is easy for them to get stained if they aren’t looked after properly, making them suitable for older and more mature patients.
Lingual braces work and look just like metal braces – but they are worn on the back of your teeth. The benefit of this positioning is that they are hardly noticeable to others – but this also makes them less comfortable and harder to keep clean for you.
Invisalign and clear aligners
One of the most recent additions to orthodontic treatment is Invisalign or clear aligners that are worn over the front of the teeth. These clear aligners also apply gentle pressure to move the teeth into the correct positions, but they need to be changed to a new series every second week. As well as being invisible, patients love these aligners because they can be removed for eating and drinking.
Because they are clear, it is also easier to stain them, making them more suited to mature, older patients. They also need to be worn for their minimum wear time of 20 – 22 hours per day in order to be effective.
Still have questions about orthodontic braces and how they work? We’d love to hear from you, please contact us: 02 9051 0600.