Braces are an older and traditional method of aligning teeth that are crooked. There are a number of reasons why this is necessary, and while Invisalign clear aligners are a newer option for straightening teeth, braces are still used by many patients. David R. Stagge, DDS and his team at Advanced Family Dentistry place braces on a regular basis as part of their dental services. Some patients, however, do not fully understand what braces actually do or why they are necessary.
What Are Braces?
Most people think of braces as a set of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth. This idea of braces is not wrong, but few people realize that rubber bands are an integral part of this orthodontic appliance. These rubber bands can be customized, allowing kids to choose fun colors. Some newer braces are not made from metal. Instead, they are made out of ceramics and come in white or even clear options, minimizing their visibility. Lingual braces, which fit behind the teeth, are also an option for some patients.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces put a steady amount of pressure on the teeth, slowly moving them into the correct, straight position over time. The tension on the braces will need to be periodically adjusted over time to further move the teeth into place. Once placed, braces are not removed until the process of straightening the patient’s teeth is finished. This can often take months or years, depending on how severe the misalignment is.
What Do Braces Treat?
While braces are most often used to treat misaligned teeth, they are also used to treat other issues, including overcrowding and overlapping teeth and malocclusion. This last condition, more commonly called “bad bite,” includes conditions such as overbite and underbite. Braces can help correct these issues by moving teeth into their correct positions so that they close together as they should.
How Are Braces Placed?
Before braces are placed, we will have you come in for a dental exam and consultation. During this time, we will examine your mouth, jaw, and teeth to determine exactly how the teeth need to be shifted. We may also take x-rays and may need to make a mold of your teeth. Once this is done, we will talk to you about the type of braces that could work for you and plan out your course of treatment. Once that is done, you will return for another appointment to actually have the braces placed. You will need to return periodically to have the braces adjusted. If you feel any discomfort at any time, you should call us. We may need to readjust them.
Who Needs Braces?
If your teeth are misaligned or you have an overbite or underbite, you may be a good candidate for braces. Typically, our young patients are ideal for braces because it is easier to realign their teeth as they come in. However, around a fourth of our patients who have braces are adults. There is no age restriction for braces, so no matter how old you are, they can be a solution for your misaligned teeth. Contact us at Advanced Family Dentistry today at (765) 287-5338 to discuss braces.