Braces are one of the most popular and effective ways of straightening teeth, helping patients to achieve a healthy, functional and attractive smile. Here’s some insight into how braces work, as well as answers to some common questions about getting braces.
How Braces Work in the Teeth-Straightening Process
First, it’s important to remember that not every orthodontic treatment means braces! You’ll first get a full evaluation with your orthodontist where we’ll look at your teeth and jaw, diagnose any issues regarding crowding, gaps or bite problems, and take x-rays, photographs and moulds of your teeth to help develop a custom treatment plan. Every mouth and every case is different – some cases require braces for a few years, while others can be corrected with aligners or plates.
If your orthodontist does recommend braces, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of exactly how they work.
Braces are made up of three main components – brackets, wires and modules. Brackets are small metal or ceramic fixtures that are glued to the surface of each tooth. The wires are metal too and are fixed to the teeth by attaching them to the brackets. The modules are used to hold the wire into each brace. These can be grey or clear to blend into the braces. But they can also be bright and colourful. These are changed at each visit and often selecting the colour of the modules is something everyone looks forward to.
Your orthodontist will follow your particular treatment plan, usually consisting of visits every 6 weeks or so where your teeth and oral health will be checked, and the wires will be slightly tightened, gradually pulling your teeth into the correct position.
Because this is a slow and gradual process, there is some discomfort involved, but most patients find it very manageable. For the first day or two after getting your braces and on each day that they get tightened, it’s a good idea to take a mild, over the counter pain killer and eat soft or liquid foods. Your mouth quickly adjusts, however, and discomfort should disappear within 48 hours.
What are the Different Types of Braces?
Braces come in several different types and you can usually choose for yourself based on your budget and personal preference. These include:
- Traditional metal braces – These are medical grade stainless steel braces that run across the front of your teeth, and are the most common type of braces.
- Lingual braces – These are also medical grade stainless steel braces, but they run on the back of your teeth rather than the front. This is a popular choice for anyone who wants their braces to be less noticeable, including adults and professionals.
- Ceramic braces – Ceramic braces use ceramic brackets rather than metal brackets, so they are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces. They’re a good compromise between lingual braces and metal braces.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
How long you’ll be wearing your braces depends entirely on your case and how severe your tooth and jaw alignments are. Generally, patients can expect to wear braces for 6 months at a minimum, with some patients taking 2 years or more to achieve their final results.
Remember, you will have to wear a retainer after your braces are removed in order to help your teeth settle into their final position and prevent them from moving back. Again, how long you will have to wear your retainer for depends on your case and your orthodontist’s recommendations, and is generally 6 months to a year. Most orthodontists take a cautious approach – after all, the last thing you want is for all your hard work to come to nothing!
Aren’t Braces Old-Fashioned?
Wearing braces got a lot of negative press in TV and movies, which often exaggerated the pain of wearing braces and made them look like medieval torture devices! The reality is that although braces have been around for a long time, they have been continually refined over the years.
They are more effective and less obtrusive than ever, and they allow for very fine and exact control over positioning your teeth, creating the best results. They are the best way to treat moderate to severe cases of misalignment, as aligners and pates simply may not powerful enough.
What is a Good Age to Get Braces?
You can get braces at any age and get fantastic results, and they are becoming an increasingly popular choice for adults and professionals. However, orthodontists recommend that a patient gets braces during their adolescent years, around 11-14 years old. This is because most of their adult teeth have come in but the jaw is still growing and fairly malleable, making treatment easier.
Are You Considering Treatment? Get an Evaluation from a Leading Orthodontist in the Frankston Dandenong Area
If you are considering getting braces or wondering if they are the right treatment option for you, speak to our orthodontist – Dr Ravi Kamisetty. Dr Ravi has been part of the Frankston Dandenong community for many years, attending Cornish College before studying Dentistry and specialising in Orthodontics at the University of Adelaide. Recently opening our new clinic in Dandenong, Ravi is committed to quality care for the local area. Contact us today and book a complimentary consultation at either of our orthodontic clinics at Frankston or Dandenong.