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(https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001058.htm) 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
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.
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.
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 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:
- Expect some amount of discomfort and pain the first few days after getting braces. This usually wears off after some time but it still might take some time to get used to eating and drinking with braces on.
- A lot of foods are supposed to be avoided when going through an orthodontic treatment. Hard foods and chewy foods can prove to be a challenge to eat with braces on and also carry the risk of popping a bracket or wire off.
- It is advisable to get a thorough cleaning of your teeth done before you get your braces. Most orthodontists will do it themselves before starting the treatment. The brackets need a plaque-free environment on the teeth in order to adhere properly to the teeth.
- It is very important to maintain adequate oral hygiene after getting braces. Food particles will consistently get stuck in between the brackets and wires while eating and can lead to tooth decay. Remember to brush your teeth after every meal.