Orthodontic braces are designed to correct crooked teeth and/or abnormal bites. While most people get braces in early adolescence, some people get them as adults. Teeth straightening comes in many different forms, and we hope to clear things up some in the blog below.
An orthodontist is a type of dentist who specializes in straightening teeth, and he will take care of the patient’s needs. The patient’s primary dentist will recommend an orthodontist for them. During the first teeth straightening appointment, the patient and the orthodontist will discuss the patient’s needs and wants and make plans on how to best fulfill them.
The orthodontist will also take pictures and impressions of the patient’s teeth and send them to a dental lab. Technicians at the lab will then make the braces so they will fit the patient’s teeth and jaws perfectly. Braces consist of several components, including bands, which wrap around the teeth and anchor everything else. Brackets are small squares that can be attached to a band or glued onto a tooth. They hold and guide the arch wires that slowly move the teeth into place. Virtually all braces, regardless of what they’re made of, will have bands, brackets and wires.
Types of Braces
Traditional braces are the type most people think of when they hear the word “braces.” All of the components are made of metal. While the brackets and bands are smaller than they were in previous generations, traditional braces are still the most noticeable type. They are also the least expensive.
During the teeth straightening treatment, the orthodontist will adjust the wire every four or six weeks. While the length of the treatment depends on the severity of the condition, the average adult patient will wear braces for 18 to 36 months.
Lingual braces are metal braces that are attached to the inside of the teeth. They are thus far less noticeable than traditional braces, but they are also harder to install, clean or adjust. As a result, they are more expensive than the traditional metal braces. In addition, orthodontists need special training in order to work with lingual braces, so not all orthodontists offer lingual braces.
Treatment with lingual braces takes a few months longer than does treatment with traditional braces. Lingual braces can also irritate the tongue and make speech difficult, especially during the early part of the treatment.
Ceramic braces have bands and brackets made from a composite material. They can be either transparent or ivory-colored. Either way, they are virtually invisible. They are generally every bit as effective as traditional braces, but they cost more, and the treatment takes a few months longer. The brackets in ceramic braces tend to be larger than metal brackets.
When ceramic braces first debuted in the 1980s, they were notorious for their fragility. Modern ceramic braces are now much sturdier, but they are still more likely to break than are metal braces. They are therefore not recommended for athletes. People who have braces of any type need to wear a mouthguard when playing sports.