What are braces?

Braces are a type of orthodontic treatment provided by a dentist or orthodontist to correct teeth that may be crooked, crowded, protruding, have irregular spacing, or are out of alignment.

When are braces needed?

Having a misaligned bite (known as malocclusion) can interfere with a person’s ability to eat or speak properly, and can also result in abnormal wear to tooth enamel. In some cases, it can also lead to jaw problems. Teeth that are crowded or crooked can make oral hygiene difficult, resulting in tooth decay or gum disease.

Braces can…

  • Correct your bite (occlusion)
  • Ensure that all of your teeth are performing their proper biting and chewing functions
  • Improve the appearance of your smile
  • Make sure your tooth roots are properly positioned
  • Make oral hygiene easier

For these, and many other reasons, using braces to correct your bite is recommended for your overall health.

Who are braces for?

For the best effectiveness, orthodontic treatment should begin early, with the American Dental Association recommending children receive an evaluation by age seven. However, adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment as well, and close to 30% of all orthodontic patients in the US are adults.

What does getting braces involve?

During your first visit, your dentist will work up a treatment plan designed specifically for your needs. This involves an exam, X-rays, and an impression of your bite.

A proper cleaning will be required in the following visit when the brackets will be placed. A special conditioner is used on the front surfaces of the teeth to allow for proper bonding of the braces. It is later cleaned off, the teeth are dried, and an adhesive primer is placed to allow the brackets to properly bond to the teeth.

The process of bonding the brackets and placing the arch wires will usually take around an hour and a half. You’ll notice some tightness and soreness in the first few hours following your appointment, along with some soreness in the next few days, as a result of the slight pressure being applied to your teeth. Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever.

You will need to return to our office for regular adjustment appointments as we follow the progress of your treatment and help guide your teeth into their final positions.

After your braces have been removed, you’ll be fitted for a retainer. Retainers are removable or fixed appliances that are required at the end of orthodontic treatment in order to prevent the teeth from shifting during the “retention period,” where your teeth are still in the process of stabilizing in their final positions.