Dental braces can correct crooked and crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and jaw problems. Braces also eliminate problems you may have with eating, speaking properly, or with keeping your teeth clean. Traditional braces have come a long way over the years, becoming sleeker, smaller, and more comfortable. And that’s certainly something to smile about!
Traditional braces consist of standard metal or clear ceramic brackets that are adhered to your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wire. They require periodic tightening so pressure can gradually straighten your teeth and align your jaw as needed. While metal braces brackets are still the most common, other treatment options are available today. Read below to learn more about traditional braces and how you can customize them to fit your lifestyle.
Not all braces are metal. There are several options that are more invisible or at least transparent, and still do the job of straightening your teeth and aligning your bite. In general, clear braces and traditional metal braces function in the same way.
The difference is in the material the brackets are made with:
Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces are made of composite materials. They come in varying levels of transparency so you can have ceramic braces that mimic the color of your natural teeth. The patient to the right is searing ceramic braces.
1. Do adults really get braces?
Absolutely! Many adults won’t have received orthodontic treatment when they were children. This can result in problems developing in the teeth and gums during adulthood. Others may have received treatment when they were young but did not wear the retainers prescribed for after treatment to hold the new position of their teeth. This can result in the teeth becoming crooked and misaligned. Orthodontics is a solution for adults who desire straight teeth.
2. Are there any age limits?
Orthodontics is for everyone! It is a myth that having treatment is only for children and young people. It’s never too late to have braces. Adults are increasingly having orthodontic treatment later in life, often this is because they have found out about some of the modern developments in brace technology, which render braces practically invisible. More and more adults are embracing orthodontics as a way to improve themselves. This can be simply for the cosmetic reason of wanting a great smile, or because of ongoing orthodontic problems such as poor bite or crowded teeth.
3. Why do adults get braces?
Adults choose orthodontic treatment for many reasons. These include reasons such as major life changes – a new job or change of image, to improve self-confidence, treat dental problems and look great for special occasions. Orthodontic treatment not only rejuvenates your smile, it helps you keep your teeth for life. You can be guaranteed a fantastic result with the latest advances in orthodontics and specialists available at The Orthodontic Centre.
4. Are there health advantages to adult orthodontic treatment?
Yes. When your teeth are crooked, they are harder to clean and will wear unevenly. Your gums can become inflamed and the teeth may hurt, sometimes resulting in tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment can prevent gum problems and avoid tooth loss.
5. What does adult orthodontic treatment feel like?
Orthodontic treatment feels the same whatever your age. When the braces are initially fitted, you may experience some discomfort. As the teeth begin to move they may ache slightly and gums and cheeks may become sore. This is similar to the experience of wearing a new pair of shoes for the first time, they can make your feet sore until you get used to them. Also, it is not unusual for the teeth to feel slightly loose. Each time your brace is adjusted, you may experience some discomfort, however it is mostly slight and should not trouble you greatly. Remember you will achieve a great smile!
6. Can all adults receive orthodontic treatment?
There are cases whereby orthodontic treatment is not advisable for an adult. A consultation with one of our specialists at The Orthodontic Centre will determine your suitability for braces.
7. Do some orthodontists specialise in treating adults?
Some do but this is usually due to the location of the practice. Our qualified orthodontists have the necessary skill to treat adults and children.
8. How do braces move teeth?
Fixed braces consist of brackets and wires. The wires apply light pressure to each tooth while the brackets are the handles that transmit the force to the tooth. During the treatment, the orthodontist will periodically make adjustments to maintain the directional pressure required to continue the movement of the teeth. Clear plastic aligners move the teeth through slight adjustments in each tray which place pressure on the teeth that need to move. The trays are changed every couple of weeks, as advised by the orthodontist, ensuring constant gradual tooth movement.
9. Why would I need an X-RAY?
Part of the orthodontic consultation process is making sure that all aspects of any problems can be investigated and subsequently cared for. Panoramic radiographs, skull or facial x-rays and intra-oral or mini x-rays of the teeth are all used by your orthodontist to achieve this. X-rays can help to decide whether it is necessary to have teeth removed, or where crowded teeth are impacting on your smile.
10. What is wrong with my teeth?
The problems that can occur which require orthodontic treatment are generally classed by the type of malocclusion or ‘bad bite’ they fall under. There are several classes, from 1 to 3, and most people can be categorised into these.
11. What does having straight teeth really mean?
When you smile it is generally only the front six teeth which people focus on. However, this is not all there is to having straight teeth! Straight teeth should be assessed on the basis of 32 adult, healthy, working teeth arranged correctly in the upper and lower jaws. The relationship between all teeth, adjacent and opposing, within each jaw should be harmonious and aesthetic.
12. Will I still be able to play my musical instrument?
If you play a wind instrument then you may feel that your playing is affected initially by your braces. However, this is not a permanent situation and the more you practice the less of an impact your braces will have!
13. How will braces impact on my oral health?
It is extremely important when wearing a brace that good oral hygiene is observed and maintained. Teeth must be brushed after every meal to avoid decalcification and plaque build up. Disclosing tablets help you to see where you might be missing brushing.
14. What are the different braces available?
Braces can be categorised into removable or non removable appliances. The most traditional type of brace is a metal fixed brace, which means it is permanently attached to the teeth for the duration of treatment and is therefore non removable. Fixed braces now come in different materials such as gold or ceramic which gives you a greater variety of choice! Lingual braces are also a form of non removable brace. They are placed behind the teeth, so that they are not in plain view. Removable appliances on the other hand can be removed from the mouth of the patient. They come in the form of custom moulded, invisible plastic trays. In the same category there are ‘twin blocks’ and ‘functional appliances’ which are generally used for fine tooth movements. Finally, at the end of your treatment plan you will be fitted with a retainer which will ensure that your teeth remain in their correct position.
15. What happens at your first orthodontic appointment?
Your first appointment with your orthodontist gives you the chance to discuss with an expert what is wrong with your teeth and how you would like them improved. Once all of your options have been explained, and a treatment plan devised, the next steps will involve X-rays and record taking. Finally, a week or so later you will have a long appointment to fit the brace.
16. Can I get straight teeth without braces?
It is possible to achieve straight teeth without the need for metal brackets! The latest advances in technology come in the form of clear, plastic, custom-moulded aligners called Invisalign© and Clearstep™.
17. What else can make a difference to my smile?
Having a bright and beautiful smile is something we all aspire to – Luckily there are a few tricks of the trade to help us achieve this, and one of these is tooth whitening! However, it is important not to forget your lips and tongue in this equation, as a healthy mouth requires all of the above!
1. When should I start thinking about orthodontic treatment for my child?
From both a parent’s and a dentist’s perspective, the right time for the first orthodontic check-up is no later than the age of 7. This is so that any early problems can be picked up and a suitable treatment plan devised. It may also help to reassure parents about their child’s facial development and crooked teeth.
2. What experience should I expect from having braces?
The next step in the process involves the type of brace that your child will have, and there can be more than one throughout the period of treatment. Sometimes young people, especially teens can experience angst over their braces, which is why it is important to speak to your orthodontist who can reassure your child!
3. Why have braces?
Braces will improve your smile.
4. Braces Improve Your Health
You will be able to chew your food better and you will be able to clean your teeth more effectively which will help you keep your teeth for life! You will avoid dental problems. If you do not get orthodontic treatment when you need it you may have problems with your teeth in years to come; your teeth may be hard to clean. Your gums may hurt. Your teeth may wear in ways that they should not. The effects are significant enough that many adults are now going back to the orthodontist for braces.
5. How many teenagers have braces?
Many teenagers have braces, just look at your classmates!
6. What is orthodontics and how does it work?
The term orthodontics comes from the Greek words ‘orthos’ meaning straight or correct and ‘dontia’ which means relating to teeth. Dentistry has many branches and specialties. Orthodontics is the specialty which treats abnormalities of the bite and jaws in children and adults. Improvements in the appearance of the teeth, smile and face are among the cosmetic benefits derived from orthodontic treatment.
7. At what age should I start orthodontic treatment?
Some do but this is usually due to the location of the practice. Our qualified orthodontists have the necessary skill to treat adults and children.The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first visit to an orthodontist takes place no later than age seven if an orthodontic problem is detected. Depending on the type of problem, this first visit could take place as early as age four to six. Sometimes, malocclusions are present behind seemingly acceptable smiles. And while treatment may not be started until years later, early examination allows the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and plan appropriate treatment at the optimum time. In some cases, early treatment may be initiated to prevent more serious problems from developing. This early intervention may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
8. What happens if I wait until I am older?
Orthodontic treatment can be administered at any age however if you are recommended treatment at an early age it is advisable to go ahead as early treatment may benefit you in the future. Certain dental problems can be corrected more easily as a child because the jaws are still growing.
9. Do Braces Hurt?
It is quite normal to experience discomfort for a day or two after braces/retainers are fitted/adjusted. It can make eating uncomfortable – the discomfort is both normal and temporary. Keep eating soft foods. The use of a mild analgesic such as ibruprofen or paracetamol is advised for the first few days if discomfort is experienced.
10. Will braces cause my mouth to be sore?
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be made worse by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency but may be relieved by applying a small amount of topical anaesthetic directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Re-apply this when needed or as directed by the instructions on the product. Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between brace and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. Eating will then become more comfortable (avoid hot drinks as this will melt the wax). If the wax is accidentally ingested, it’s not a problem as the wax is harmless.
11.How long does orthodontic treatment take?
It varies depending on how complicated your treatment is. If you are having an early (interceptive) treatment this can take 3-9 month. A full treatment involving fixed braces typically takes 18-24 months. For example is you have fixed braces when you are 12 years old, it usually takes about two to two and a half years to move your teeth. It will take longer if you do not do follow instructions from the orthodontist or if you miss your scheduled adjustment appointments.
12. Can I still talk when I have braces?
Yes. Standard braces should not affect how you talk or the sound of your voice. You can talk, sing, yell, and act just as you do now. Braces will not stop you from having fun. Some appliances your orthodontist will require you to wear can initially feel strange because the plastic plates tend to occupy a bit of space in your mouth, but you will soon get used to it. The mouth also tends to produce more saliva than usual because the brain interprets the presence of the appliance as food; this tends to go after one or two days.
13.Can I still play contact sports if I have braces?
Of course, you can still do everything you did before. Just ensure you wear a mouthguard which your orthodontist can tailor make to fit over a fixed appliance. If you have a removable appliance you will need to remove it whilst playing contact sports and wear a mouthguard and put your brace back in once you have finished playing.
14. Are there any activities that I should avoid when I have braces?
We advise against you participating in activities where there will be many blows to your mouth. Sports like boxing, karate, and wrestling should be avoided. Fighting should also be avoided. You should wear a mouthguard whenever you participate in any sporting activity.
15. Can I eat when I get braces?
Yes! You can eat most of the good things that you can eat now; wearing braces should not excessively change your diet. However there are three types of food that may cause significant trouble to braces and should therefore be avoided. Hard foods, such as nuts, ice and caramel, may do damage by bending wires, loosening cement under the bands or breaking the little brackets and tubes which are attached. Sticky foods, such as toffee or worse still bubble gum, can damage fixed orthodontic appliances by bending wires and pulling cement loose. Foods with a high sugar content, like sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks, will definitely damage the enamel therefore you are not allowed them during treatment. After meals it is best you brush your teeth immediately.
16. What happens if the braces break?
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They are generally positioned in the centre of each tooth. The bracket can be knocked off if hard or crunchy foods have been eaten. If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out and you cannot immediately reach the orthodontist, you can do a temporary fix to ease discomfort and prevent further damage. This must only be done as a last resort. Take care to prevent swallowing or other injury. To put the bracket back in place, use clean tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position then slide it back to the centre of the tooth. Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using clean tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it can be bent back down with a cotton bud or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation. When one ligature pops off or breaks, others may follow. Examine all ligatures adjacent to the missing ligature. Please notify your orthodontist to check whether the ligature needs to be replaced. Please call the practice if you have any concerns about a broken brace. If it is after the practice has closed please consult your dentist.