Your smile is the first thing people see about you, and it gives them a glimpse into who you are. If you’re an adult who is self-conscious about your smile, it’s never too late to invest in yourself and get the bright, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. Adult braces are a fast, easy, and effective way to give yourself the perfect smile. And Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX is the best place for all your braces needs.
What Type of Adult Braces Are Best?
When it comes to finding the best braces for an adult, there isn’t a simple answer. This is because each type of braces has its own benefits, and the best type of braces for you will be the ones that meet all of your needs, both mechanically and aesthetically.
Before deciding which braces are the best ones for you, let’s review the most common types of braces and the components that help them work.
Traditional Metal Braces
The most common type of braces is the traditional metal set of braces. These are what most people envision when they think of braces. The brackets and archwires are made of metal, which makes them very visible on the teeth.
Ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces in their form and function. The main difference is that rather than being made of metal, they are made of white ceramic that blends in with the color of your teeth, making them significantly less noticeable than their metal counterpart.
You may have heard that ceramic braces stain easily when eating brightly colored foods. While this was true in the early days of this type of braces, technological advances have developed ceramic braces that do not stain and will stay white to effectively blend in with your teeth.
Lingual braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, with one major difference. Rather than sitting on the outside of your teeth, they are attached to the inside of your teeth. This means that from the outside, your braces aren’t visible! With lingual braces, your teeth are being moved into the correct positions while they simply appear bare, as they always have.
All braces take some time to get used to. Lingual braces can take a little bit longer to get used than typical braces because your tongue interacts with them so much. Despite this, they tend to be worth it to have visibly bare teeth.
Damon braces are another great option, and a particularly popular option at the moment. That’s because Damon braces tend to offer a gentler treatment, and they require fewer visits to the orthodontist because they are self-ligating and use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires.
Damon braces tend to be faster because they ligate themselves as they go rather than requiring the client to wait until they visit the orthodontist to be adjusted to promote further movement. As an added bonus, these braces tend to be easier to clean.
Basic Components of Braces
While there is some variation within braces, like how Damon braces use a slide mechanism rather than ligatures, braces tend to have the same general components and work in similar ways. These components can be made of metal, or they can be made of ceramic to better blend in with your teeth.
Bands are metal rings that fit all the way around your very back molars. They act as an anchor for the rest of the braces. There are several sizes bands available to best fit any size molars, and the orthodontist will determine what size band to use and then use dental instruments to make them fit perfectly to your teeth, using a special dental cement to attach them.
Bands have metal attachments welded into the sides for the archwire to be inserted to connect the braces.
Brackets are tiny, square pieces of metal or ceramic that are attached to the teeth with special dental cement. The brackets each have a slot welded into them to hold an archwire and hooks for attaching rubber bands.
The archwire is a semi-circular wire that fits into the brackets around the mouth and the bands on the back molars. The wire works to exert pressure on all the teeth evenly, helping them move in the correct ways. The archwire is changed throughout treatment to encourage new movement in the teeth.
Ligatures are rubber bands placed around the brackets to hold the archwire in place. They are replaced each orthodontic visit.
How Braces Work
How do all these components work together to give you your best smile? It’s a biomechanical process called remodeling. While it seems as if your teeth are simply moving within your gums, the process is far more interesting than that. Your teeth are actually being broken down and remade in the correct direction.
Remodeling happens because of two parts of your mouth: the periodontal membrane, which surrounds the tooth’s root, and the alveolar bone to which the membrane is attached. The movement of your teeth depends on how the periodontal membrane and alveolar bone react to the pressure from the braces.
While it might seem like using a strong force would more quickly move the teeth, they actually respond better to a consistent, light force. A constant but gentle force causes one side of the tooth to compress against the periodontal membrane, creating positive pressure. This then creates negative pressure on the opposite side of the tooth, where space is created between the tooth and the periodontal membrane.
Deposition and Resorption
The combination of positive and negative pressure results in two biological functions that remodel the bone around the teeth: deposition and resorption. Deposition is the biological function that allows your teeth to rebuild bone. Osteoblasts, bone-growing cells, are produced on the side of the tooth with negative pressure, where the periodontal membrane is being pulled away from the tooth. Osteoclasts, or bone-destroying cells, are produced on the opposite side, where the bone is being squeezed.
Resorption happens pretty quickly: it actually only takes about three days to happen. Deposition, on the other hand, takes about three months to fully happen. Your orthodontist will schedule appointments with enough time in between for the deposition and resorption processes to happen.
The Process of Getting Adult Braces
It’s important to know the process of getting braces so you know what to expect when the time comes.
1. Choosing an Orthodontist
The first step to your perfect smile is to get a referral to an orthodontist or make your own appointment. If you’ve been considering getting adult braces for a while, talk about it with your dentist. If you can’t get a referral or prefer to set things up on your own, simply call our office for a consultation appointment.
Your first meeting with your orthodontist will be the consultation. It can be helpful to bring your latest set of x-rays from your dentist. Your orthodontist will look at your teeth and determine what needs to be done to straighten your teeth. Be sure to speak up about whatever issues you have with your smile and be sure to tell your orthodontist exactly what you are hoping to gain from braces.
Your orthodontist may take more x-rays of your teeth and may even make a mold of your teeth to better design your treatment.
3. Designing Treatment
After the consultation, your orthodontist will use x-rays and molds of your teeth to design a treatment specific to you. Each mouth is unique and has its own issues, so your orthodontic treatment needs to be specifically tailored to your mouth. Your orthodontist might use the mold of your teeth to create a mock-up of your braces.
4. Placing the Braces
You should expect your first appointment, when your orthodontist places your braces, to take longer than your later appointments. Before placing your braces, your orthodontist will clean all of your teeth. Then, they will condition and prime the surface of the teeth to help the cement stick. The conditioning can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes.
Your orthodontist will use a special kind of dental cement that uses ultraviolet light to harden in order to place your brackets in predetermined positions.
5. Inserting the Wire
After the brackets have been placed, your orthodontist will insert the wire into the brackets. They will start with a semicircle of wire and cut it into the right length for your mouth. They might put in a few bends or kinks to create leverage over specific teeth to help them move faster into the right position.
6. Discussion of Oral Care
Your orthodontist will review with you the best ways to care for your braces once they have been placed. They will discuss with you how to brush your teeth properly to avoid harming your braces and what kind of toothpaste to use. They may even provide you with special toothbrushes to help you keep your teeth clean more easily. Small spindle brushes are particularly useful for cleaning because they help you remove food particles and bacteria from around the brackets and in between the wire and your teeth.
Your orthodontist will let you know about your new dietary restrictions. When you have braces, there are certain foods you need to avoid because they are more likely to break your brackets or wires. You will want to avoid sticky and crunchy foods, as well as hard fruits that you have to bite into, like apples.
Once your braces have been put on, your orthodontist will allow you several weeks to get used to your braces and for the remodeling process to begin before the next adjustment. During adjustments, your orthodontist will take the ligatures off your brackets and remove the archwire. They might bend the wire again or replace it with a new wire that is stronger or has a different configuration to continue moving the teeth.
Get Started on a New Smile
It’s never too late to get the perfect smile you’ve always wanted. Adult braces are the only way to make sure that your teeth are remodeled in the correct way, giving you a healthy smile that you can be proud of. If you’ve ever wanted to brighten the room with your smile, the time is now.
If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a time for a consultation, give us a call at Ragan Orthodontics, in Dallas, TX.