Many people choose to wear braces at some point during their lifetime. If you think there is a possibility that you want to wear braces at some point, you probably have quite a few questions to research beforehand. Of course, the best way to get personalized answers to your questions is to ask your orthodontist, maybe you haven’t quite made it that far yet so here are all the things that you wanted to know about braces before you consult with an orthodontist.
How do braces work?
Braces are fairly simple devices that work through the application of steady pressure over a period of time to gradually move your teeth in the desired direction. As your teeth move, the bone begins to gradually change shape as the pressure is applied. This results in your teeth aligning, shaping your smile into the desired form.
Braces, while simple, are made up of a variety of components:
- Brackets are tiny squares attached to the face of each tooth with a special type of glue. Sometimes they are attached to orthodontic bands instead. These brackets function similarly to handles and hold onto the wires that move the teeth. Some brackets are made from stainless steel, while others are created from white ceramic or plastic, which blends with the tooth, and is less visible. There are also options where the brackets are worn on the back side of the teeth, making them less noticeable.
- Bands wrap around each tooth and create an anchor point for the brackets. These bands are created from stainless steel, or clear materials which are then attached to the teeth. Stainless steel bands are the most affordable option while the white or clear bands cost more. These bands are not always required.
- Spacers fit between teeth creating tiny gaps before the placement of bands.
- Arch wires are attached to the brackets and assist in guiding the alignment of teeth. These wires can be made up of clear or white materials, or metal in certain cases.
- Ties are a little rings or wires that attach arch wires to brackets.
- Springs are sometimes placed on the arch wires between the brackets to create controlled adjustments to the spacing and placement of teeth.
How much will braces cost?
Braces typically cost between $5000 to $7000 total. The cost of the braces can vary depending on the materials used, along with many other factors that can vary from case to case. For example, braces made from stainless steel tend to be more affordable than braces that incorporate materials such as ceramic or other less noticeable materials. Another thing to keep in mind is that traditional braces cost about the same as clear alignment trays, such as Invisalign and Clear Correct.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The total time frame required for braces to do their job varies from case to case. This depends on the total distance the teeth must travel and the overall health of the teeth, gums, and bones, as well as how closely you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. After the braces are installed, they stay anywhere between 1 to 3 years. Once the braces are taken off, you will need to wear a retainer all of the time for about six months, and then only overnight indefinitely to maintain the results.
How often do I need to see my orthodontist while wearing braces?
You will need to see your orthodontist about once a month at which they will make sure the braces are working properly and applying the right amount of pressure to your teeth. Your orthodontist will adjust them as needed. These visits usually involve making tiny adjustments to the springs, rubber bands, and wires of the braces. Your orthodontist may ask you to wear headgear during the evening or at night to help the braces do their job in certain cases when braces alone are not sufficient to achieve your desired alignment.
Do braces hurt?
Whether your braces hurt or not will depend on the specifics of your particular case. This is because only certain adjustments cause pain, and you may not require those adjustments. However, if you do, your orthodontist may recommend a pain reliever such as Motrin or Tylenol. If you are experiencing pain, it is important to talk to your orthodontist right away so they can make any possible adjustments to reduce the pain. You should experience only a minimal amount of pain during treatment with braces, which could be avoided with careful adjustments.
What if I need to play sports while wearing braces?
Wearing braces shouldn’t affect if you can participate in a sport or not. If you’re playing a sport that involves the risk of getting hit, such as football or wrestling, you will want to wear a mouthguard. Most orthodontists tend to recommend a custom fitted mouthguard, as these work quite a bit better than the more generic mouthguards available at stores.
What happens after the braces treatment is completed?
Once braces are removed, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned by your orthodontist. They will then take a new set of x-rays and bite impressions to see how well the braces are successfully aligning your teeth and see if all the teeth have gone into their desired positions.
If you have any new wisdom teeth that have broken through during that time you had the braces on, your orthodontist will recommend if they should be removed or not. This is because in certain cases, wisdom teeth can significantly affect the placement of teeth and the jawbone. The last thing you would want is for your wisdom teeth move your newly aligned teeth out of position after your braces have been removed.
It’s important to wear your retainer!
Your orthodontist or your dentist will most likely fit you with a retainer. Wearing your retainer is important to maintaining the new alignment of your teeth, as your teeth can easily shift out of alignment and back into their old positions if you do not wear your retainer regularly. It is very important to take care of your retainer and not lose it. It’s also very important to wear your retainer as frequent as recommended by your orthodontist and going for regular orthodontist appointments after the braces are removed.
Hopefully, this has helped answer some of your lingering questions about braces. Be sure to talk to your orthodontist as soon as possible about any other questions you may have. Whatever your reason for getting braces, we hope your treatment is successful and goes smoothly.
Have you or a friend had a good experience with alignment using braces? Feel free to share it in the comments below!