The need for braces has become fairly common among children and adolescents, with an increasing number of adults now choosing this option as well. But before you start looking up orthodontists or ‘braces near me’, here is everything you should know about braces and why you or your child might need them.

What are Braces?

Orthodontic treatments, commonly known as braces, are recommended by dentists when you suffer from dental problems like crooked or overcrowded teeth, gaps between teeth, incorrect bites or misaligned jaws. Dental problems like these don’t just affect your appearance and confidence, but can also cause other health problems.

Depending on the kind of malocclusion( you have, an orthodontic treatment can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. When you get braces, your dentist fastens small brackets on your teeth with the help of a dental adhesive. These brackets are then connected together by wires. The wires are continuously adjusted with the progression of your treatment.

Types of Braces

Metal Braces

These are the conventional braces that have been around for decades and the ones we are all familiar with. Metallic braces are usually considered quite unappealing to look at and are the most noticeable kind among all categories of braces. However, present-day metal braces have considerably smaller brackets than the older larger ones that gave the typical ‘metal-mouth’ appearance to those with braces.

Ceramic Braces

As the name suggests, ceramic braces consist of brackets made of ceramics like porcelain. They are usually tooth-coloured or even occasionally transparent. Since they easily blend into the teeth shade, they are aesthetically more appealing than their metallic counterparts. They have some disadvantages like being less durable than metal braces and also being more expensive.

Invisible Braces

These come under the category of aligners rather than braces. They consist of custom-made clear plastic aligners that look like mouth-guards and fit tightly in the mouth. They have to be replaced every two weeks. Invisible braces though are not as effective as conventional braces that include brackets and wires. They can only be used for minor malocclusion in adults or teens whose oral development is complete. Invisalign is the biggest name among the brands of invisible braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are just like conventional braces except that they are placed at the back of the teeth. This gives them an aesthetic advantage without compromising on the physical properties of regular braces. However, just like invisible braces, they can only be used for select orthodontic problems. 

What to Know Before Getting Braces

 Once a decision has been made about the kind of braces you or your child needs, there are certain points to be kept in mind before moving ahead: