Braces. Why have them?
Orthodontic treatment aims to make the best of your teeth.
- Straightening your teeth in a way which facilitates your own care of your teeth and gums.
- Improving your bite so you can eat more comfortably. Your smile will benefit, too 😁
Treatment usually involves using braces to:
- straighten crooked, crowded or protruding teeth,
- close gaps between teeth, and
- correct the bite so the top and bottom teeth meet when the mouth closes.
You'll need to have healthy teeth and gums before you can have a brace fitted.
This is because you must be able to keep your teeth and your brace very clean while you're wearing it. This decreases the odds of getting tooth decay or gum disease from weaning the braces.
In fact braces can trap food and cause more plaque to build up than usual. So you'll need to take extra care with cleaning your teeth. You also need to watch what you eat. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Treatment usually lasts from 18 months to 2 years. With visits to the orthodontist every 6 to 8 weeks.
Braces. Are they for you or your children?
Many children do not need a brace. In fact around a third of children need orthodontic treatment.
The ideal age to have braces is usually around 12 or 13, while a kid's mouth and jaws are still growing.
The opportunity for improvement in an adult is more limited. With the treatment is likely to take longer.
What are braces like? What are they made of?
There are different types of brace, including fixed and removable braces.
Fixed braces cannot be removed and stay in all the time. They are made up of brackets that are glued to the front of each tooth and linked with wires. These are the usual brace for under-18s.
Removable braces can only be used to achieve very limited tooth movements. They usually consist of plastic plates that cover the roof of the mouth and clip on to some teeth.
These braces are made of different materials:
- metal braces
- clear ceramic braces, less visible than metal ones
- removable aligners; thin, clear, flexible plastic mouthguards
Removable aligners fit closely over the teeth. You would take them out at mealtimes. Or for cleaning. But would still otherwise wear them all the time.
How successful are braces?
Orthodontic treatment usually works very well, but you need to stick with it for it to be successful.
You'll need to wear a retainer for some time after your treatment has finished. A retainer prevents your teeth from moving back to the position they were in before treatment.
As with the braces themselves, there are several types of retainers. But again retainers can be either removable or fixed onto the teeth.