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What You Need to Know About Dental Braces

What You Need to Know About Dental Braces

Over the years, modern dental braces have evolved to accommodate the growing list of requirements in creating flawless smiles. From the very first horseshoe-shaped iron braces called “bandeau” to the ultramodern branded invisible aligners called “Invisalign,” these orthodontic devices perform an important role in treating dental issues.

If you’re planning to get braces, you need to know of several important factors that can affect their efficacy in treating orthodontic problems. Read on for more information on the conditions that require the use of these devices, the different types of braces, and what you can expect from them.

Who Needs Braces?

There are several conditions that may require orthodontic intervention, most of which involve a person’s orofacial appearance. Some of the most common issues that can be treated with braces are crooked and crowded teeth, disorders of the jaw and incorrect positioning, underbites, and overbites.

Other less typical orthodontic problems are:

  • Speech issues – Although it may not be the first thing your doctor will consider, some people with speech problems are found to have orthodontic conditions that aren’t immediately obvious.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting – Misaligned teeth may lead to difficulty in chewing. It can also cause frequent biting of the tongue or the insides of the cheeks.
  • Too much space in between teeth – In contrast to having crowded teeth, too much space in between your pearly whites can also be treated using braces and other types of aligners.
  • Crossbites – A crossbite occurs when teeth don’t make contact due to the misalignment of the top and bottom cuspids and bicuspids. Depending on the main cause of the issue, braces may be able to help remedy this.
  • Open bites – Similar to crossbites, open bites entail the lack of contact between the top and bottom teeth—except this time, it involves the central and lateral incisors. This can be caused by excessive use of pacifiers or thumb-sucking at a young age.
  • Pain in the jaw or mouth – Orofacial pain can be caused by a lot of things, orthodontic issues included. If you have no visible orthodontic misalignment but feel pain along your jaw or mouth, it may be time to visit your orthodontist to determine the cause of your discomfort.

Patients with these orthodontic problems often require treatment at a young age. If needed, braces can be installed between the ages of 10 and 14 years. But since the jaw and mouth will still grow, regular visits to the orthodontist are imperative to ensure that the aligners still serve their purpose and prevent them from causing a more serious dental issue.

4 Types of Braces

There are many variants available to treat specific conditions, but there are only four main types of braces known so far. These are:

Metal Braces

Most traditional braces are made with metal wires and brackets. However, these types of braces have evolved to become subtler than the previously infamous “metal mouth.” Having these modern metal braces has also become a lot less painful, thanks to the new archwires that are heat-activated using the patient’s own body heat.

Out of all orthodontic correction options, metal braces cost the least. However, it is also the most noticeable because of its color.

The main components of metal braces are the following:

  • Brackets
  • Orthodontic bands
  • Spacers
  • Archwires
  • Ties
  • Buccal tube
  • Ligatures
  • Springs
  • Elastics
  • Facebow headgear
  • Headgear tubes

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a different variation of traditional orthodontic aligners which blend in with the teeth better than their metallic counterpart. They also come with a higher price tag compared to metal braces.

Although they are a lot less noticeable because of the material they are made of, they can still be visible even without paying very close attention to the patient’s teeth. They also tend to stain easily if not properly cared for and maintained. Even so, they have the advantage of adjusting teeth alignment faster than invisible braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are practically the same as metal braces except for one thing: their placement inside the teeth. Since they are installed at the back of the teeth, they are invisible as far as onlookers are concerned. However, these types of braces are more difficult to adjust and maintain, can cause discomfort upon installation, are a bit more expensive, and may not be suitable for severe misalignment conditions.

Invisalign

Invisalign is a type of invisible braces that is most preferred because of its mouth guard-like appearance. Since these aligners are made of transparent plastic, they are considered a great option for people who wish to avoid unwanted attention while being able to drink and eat anything they want.

However, the choice comes with about 18 to 30 pieces of these custom-made aligners, which need to be replaced bi-weekly. It is also worth noting that these orthodontic devices aren’t available for children. They are not effective in correcting more serious orofacial issues, may take longer, and cost a lot more money compared to traditional metal braces.

What to Expect

Before deciding to have braces installed, you should know that the length of treatment typically runs from 18 to 30 months, depending on the type of device and the condition being corrected. After that, you might still need to wear retainers for as long as two years or until the issue is fixed.

During this period, you might experience mild pressure on your teeth and jaws, especially after the wires are tightened (for traditional braces) during your visits to the dentist. It might also be necessary to undergo several tooth extractions to make room for the realignment of the teeth.

Perfect Teeth, Perfect Smile

Orthodontic devices like braces and invisible aligners are created to make the perfect smile and treat several dental conditions. To make an informed decision prior to their installation, make sure you fully understand your options and what you can expect afterward.

NOA Dental is here to help. Hit us up for a quick consultation.