Dentists typically offer information about braces to patients as a way to improve orofacial appearance. Problems such as crowded or crooked teeth, underbites, overbites, poor jaw positioning and joint disorders can be corrected. If problems such as these are left untreated, tooth decay, headaches and gum disease can result, as can problems with chewing, speaking or biting.
When is it Time for Braces?
A patient with orthodontic issues can benefit from braces, no matter their age. However, the best time to to decide “i want braces” is between 10-14 years old, as the mouth and the head are still developing and it’s easier to straighten teeth at that time. Any adjustment to a child’s facial appearance can be difficult to deal with at this age, and parents should talk to their children before deciding on braces. Despite what you may think, braces are not just for children – many adults wear them for correction of minor issues.
What Kind of Braces will I Get?
Your dentist can recommend the right type of braces for your specific issue, but in most cases you have options. Braces typically come in three types – brackets, concealed and clear aligners. Brackets are commonly used, and are bonded to the teeth. Concealed brackets are attached to the back of the teeth, and clear aligners can correct minor spacing issues in adults.
How Long Will the Braces be Worn?
The more complex a patient’s bite or spacing issues are, the longer the treatment takes. Most dental patients can expect to wear braces for between 12 and 24 months, with most cases requiring the wearing of a retainer after that time.
Do Braces Hurt?
Traditional braces have wires which are adjusted at each office visit, and mild pressure is exerted upon the brackets to shift teeth into the correct position. Patients may feel slight soreness in the jaws and teeth after such a visit, but the discomfort rapidly disappears. For those who wear clear aligners, there may be some discomfort as the mouth adjusts to each new tray.
Must Personal Habits be Changed?
Patients wearing braces should cut down on sweets and chips. Starchy, sugary foods create plaque and acid, which can promote gum disease and tooth decay. Hard foods should be cut into smaller pieces, and sticky foods such as caramel should be avoided completely. Brush carefully after meals, and get regular cleanings.