For many people, having a shiny, metallic, brace filled smile feels like a rite of passage that all teenagers are supposed to go through. While braces still allow us to repair a variety of orthodontic issues, the technology for this treatment has greatly improved over the years. These improvements have led to shorter treatment times and more subtle looking hardware making braces a more popular option for adults as well!
Are you considering braces for yourself or your child? Here are a few things to help you make an informed decision.
Braces are commonly used to repair an abnormal bite caused by crowded or crooked teeth, or from a misalignment of the jaw. These issues can occur as a result of injury, early/late tooth loss, thumb-sucking or heredity.
Braces will definitely straighten out your smile! However, there are even more important benefits to your long term health. If an abnormal bite is left untreated it can result in one or more of the following complications:
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Problems chewing
- Abnormal speech
- Uneven tooth enamel wear
- Jaw Pain
Braces can reverse damage that has already occurred or prevent it from ever happening in the first place.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces apply continuous pressure to your teeth over a pre-specified amount of time. This pressure moves your teeth into the desired position and changes the shape of your bone to hold the teeth in their new places.
Various components are involved in this process including the following:
- Brackets are small squares that attach to the front or back of your teeth utilizing specialized cement. Brackets are available in a variety of colors and materials customized to your personal style.
- Arch wires are held in place by the brackets and gradually move your teeth.
- Ties are small rubber rings or wires that affix the arch wire to the brackets and are available in a variety of colors.
- Bands wrap around your teeth to anchor the brackets if deemed necessary.
- Spacers are separators that fit between your teeth.
- Ligatures are small elastic bands that hold the arch wires and brackets together.
There are a variety of other bands, springs and other parts that can be used with braces. Our dentists customize each patient’s treatment to their specific orthodontic needs.
Do Braces Hurt?
Braces are adjusted by our orthodontists about once per month to ensure continuous pressure on your teeth as they gradually realign. Some of these adjustments can cause minor soreness or discomfort. Our family dentists will work hard to ensure this discomfort is minimized. Often, over the counter pain relievers are sufficient to manage any pain.
How Long Do I Have to Wear Braces?
On average, braces are worn for 1-3 years. This length of time is determined based on the types of orthodontic issues being treated, the amount of room in the mouth and the overall oral health of the patient.
When braces are removed, a full-time retainer is worn for at least 6 months and then only at night while sleeping for a few more years.
What Do Braces Cost?
Although braces involve some initial investment, they actually save you money in the long run by preventing more costly orthodontic issues. Some insurance carriers even cover part of the cost of braces. Either way, the team at Placerville Dentistry Group is here to help work out a payment plan that fits your budget while protecting your long term dental health.