Getting Braces? Here’s How They Work!

undergoing dental braces

Humans tend to be naturally scared of what they don’t know. The perfect example would be getting dental braces. Most often, people dread getting braces and completely overlook the need for it. But if you know your options and are well-informed on how do braces work, straightening your teeth becomes a lot easier.

What Are the Types of Braces?

With technological advancements, you now have various options to choose from. Talk to your orthodontist about the best one for you and the effect it will have on your teeth and positioning.

Here are your five major options:

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    Metal Braces

    Metal Braces are the least expensive and can fix your teeth positioning faster.

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    Ceramic Braces

    Ceramic material in these braces has the same color and texture as your teeth. They offer quick treatment but stain easily.

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    Lingual Braces

    Lingual braces are on the inside of the bite and can be very difficult to clean.

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    Self-ligating Braces

    These braces use clips or doors instead of the traditional rubber wire. They are less painful than other types of braces.

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    Clear Aligners

    Clear aligners a type of braces that consists of clear trays that are removable, unlike traditional braces which are fixed to the teeth. Invisalign is the most famously used clear aligner brand.

Not sure between fixed traditional braces vs removable clear aligners? Check the comparison here!

How Do Braces Work?

Have you ever wondered how braces actually work to straighten your teeth? It all happens with the magic of constant pressure it applies to your teeth!

A lot of us believe our teeth are directly connected to our jawbone. But that’s not true! Because if it were, they wouldn’t straighten by an external force. There’s a membrane underneath your gum, surrounded by bones that bond the teeth to your jaw. This membrane is responsible for controlling your teeth’s position and responding to the pressure exerted by braces.

The root of your teeth is surrounded by bone. When constant pressure is applied to your teeth, the bone is replaced by a new bone with the help of blood cells. The tooth follows a new path that’s provided by the bone. When the tooth moves, blood vessels, gums, and bones travel to the new position.

How Do Braces Move Teeth?

Braces move your teeth by implying constant pressure on them. Here’s how they work:

  • Braces have three main components: archwires, brackets, and clips. Firstly, the archwire will take the help of brackets and exert pressure on your teeth.
  • The pressure indicates your blood cells to remove bone from the existing position and replace it with a new one instead.
  • With continuous pressure, your teeth move 1 mm monthly. The straightening process takes a whole lot of time. In the first orthodontic visit, a wire is inserted into your teeth for four to eight weeks.
  • On your second visit, the wire is replaced with a firmer one, and your teeth are under pressure again.
  • The process continues for about another four to eight weeks until your orthodontist is happy with the result.

Want to know how removable clear aligners work? Check it out here!

How Long Does It Take to Put on Braces?

Most braces applications take about one to two hours to put on. But the total time taken depends on what type of braces you’re applying.

Here’s what happens when go for applying braces:

  • The orthodontist will clean and then dry your teeth for setting brackets securely.
  • A special glue is applied to your teeth, and then brackets are attached.
  • After brackets, the orthodontist will place wires in them and then secure them with elastic bands.

What Changes Should You Expect During the Treatment?

You need to make a few lifestyle changes when you are getting braces. Though it depends on what sort of braces you choose, getting dental braces will only cause a few minor shifts in your daily routine.

You’ll have to be slightly more regular with your oral hygiene routine and avoid a few sticky and hard foods in the beginning. Make sure you consult your orthodontist about bringing necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle before you get orthodontic braces.

How Long Do Braces Last?

The average treatment time for every individual is 18 to 24 months. But the treatment time for orthodontic braces for each person is unique.

So, while it might take someone 2 years, you might need to wear orthodontic braces for a shorter period. Your orthodontist might have an idea about the estimated time after an initial consultation.

How Frequent Will Your Follow-Up Visits Be?

You will need to visit your orthodontist periodically after getting fitted for orthodontic braces. For traditional metal braces, the follow up is generally once a month, for invisible aligners, it’s every six weeks. But your follow up time might depend on your unique situation.

What Would You Look Like with Braces?

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Braces – Before and After

braces-before-after

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Cost of orthodontic braces might vary depending on the orthodontist you choose. The quality of the braces and the experience of the orthodontist might be the deciding factor in the cost. Make sure to ask your orthodontist what is included in the treatment packages and if there is an extra fee for every follow-up session.

Braces FAQs

When you have orthodontic braces on your teeth, you need to put in a little extra effort into your oral care. You should always take precautions to avoid damaging braces.

Although brushing twice a day is generally recommended, when you wear dental braces, you should brush every time you eat. Rinse your mouth with water and brush after every meal.

Also use waxed floss post meals, because food can still stick in your mouth when you get braces. You can also use mouthwash regularly. Toothpaste or a mouthwash with active fluoride can help strengthen your teeth and protect you against cavities.

There will be an initial week or two of discomfort with braces, but once you adjust to them, the pain or discomfort will go away. For the first few weeks, it is recommended that you only eat soft foods until you can learn to clean your braces periodically.

There are times when braces can cause sore gums. The orthodontist generally covers the braces and metal wires with a soft piece of wax, to get rid of any irritation.

You can get braces at any age! There’s no age restriction. Although it’s true that a child’s tissues are more flexible and malleable than an adult, many adults undergo orthodontic treatment and report excellent results.

As an adult going for orthodontic treatment, here’s what you need to know:

  • Since the bones in an adult stop growing, some structural changes can only be accomplished with surgery.
  • The treatment may take longer than in an adult compared to a child.

You will need to make minor adjustments to your lifestyle after you wear orthodontic braces. You need to brush, floss and gargle with a mouth wash after every meal, and there will be a list of foods that are off-limits.

Other than that, there won’t be any hindrance to your lifestyle. If you play a sport, you might need to wear a mouthguard to make sure that your braces are not damaged.

The treatment won’t stop right after the braces come off. You have to wear a retainer to keep the teeth from moving back into their original position. Your orthodontist may recommend a bonded permanent retainer, so speak with them about your options.

Traditional braces have been the most sought-after teeth straightening option for decades now. They’re the oldest and most reliable treatment for misaligned teeth. But as time advanced, new inventions were made in the industry.

Getting Braces? Look No Further!

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Dr. Satish Pai, M.D.S

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

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