What To Expect When Getting Orthodontic Braces

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Orthodontics is not just for kids anymore. Adults are getting in on the act to get a straighter smile. It may seem like a daunting task for some, but the actual procedure can be pretty easy if you know what to expect.

Why Do You Need Dental Braces?

Dental braces offer corrective smile treatment for:

  • Overcrowded or misaligned teeth
  • Too many spaces or gaps between teeth
  • The upper front teeth overlap the lower teeth too much. Either vertically (overbite) or horizontally (overjet)
  • Upper front teeth that bite behind the lower ones (underbite)
  • Other misalignment issues

Proper alignment of your smile and jaws can improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, face, and the health of your mouth and its function. This includes the way you bite, chew, and speak.

Initial Orthodontic Braces Consultation

If orthodontic braces are something you are thinking about, it is best to speak to your dentist first to see what types of braces might be available for you. Modern orthodontics has multiple options, and one may be better for you over another.

An educated patient is the best patient.

Depending on the severity of your orthodontic case, your dentist may be able to treat you in their office, or they may feel you should see an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialist in the world of dentistry.

The treatment will be very similar between the two. The initial consultation will include a complete intra and extra oral examination, necessary radiographs, photographs, and models of your teeth. Your dentist can develop the proper treatment plan that best fits your needs using all of this information. You will also tell your dentist exactly what you want to achieve during this treatment. This extra information will also help in developing the treatment plan.

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Dental Braces Options

Treatment options to straighten teeth include the following types of braces:

Traditional Orthodontic Braces

These are your traditional metal braces used for many years. Traditional braces are on the outside (and sometimes on the inside) of your teeth. These are less esthetic but can do more than the more modern methods for severe cases. A significant drawback to these besides esthetics is the ability to maintain dental hygiene.

Traditional metal braces will make it harder to keep the teeth clean during treatment. Something to consider if presented with this option and your dental hygiene is lacking.

Invisalign Braces or Clear Aligners

These have become quite popular, especially among teenagers and adults. This type of orthodontics has the advantage of being far more esthetic and giving you the ability to remove them on your own to maintain good dental hygiene. These clear aligners are also beneficial because tooth movement is more evenly distributed. The drawbacks are that they are not for everyone, and they are easily lost due to the need to remove them for eating. This is especially important for children and teenagers.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Metal Braces

 

Pros Cons
Efficient and versatile Difficult to maintain dental hygiene
No speech changes Not always esthetically pleasing
Appointments every 4-8 weeks Not for patients with poor oral hygiene
Fun if you want different colors  
Less reliant on patient compliance than Invisalign  
No waiting period to begin treatment  
More affordable than Invisalign

Orthodontic Braces Procedure

If you have chosen the Invisalign route, the actual procedure is quite simple. Following initial models and possibly 3d scans, your Invisalign aligners are fabricated. You will change them out generally every two weeks with periodic visits back to the dentist to ensure treatment is going as planned. In some cases, additional hardware may be needed to be used in conjunction with Invisalign aligners, but not always.

For traditional braces, your dentist will begin by thoroughly cleaning and drying your teeth. Then they will apply bonding material to your teeth to attach the orthodontic bands (usually to molar teeth) and brackets. Once they are in place, they will install the archwire into the brackets and use elastic to secure them in place. Generally, the entire initial treatment takes between 1 – 2 hours.

Though the actual installation of orthodontic brackets and wire itself is not painful, it is not uncommon to feel some level of discomfort afterward. Initially, your tongue and cheek will rub against the braces, which may cause some sensitivity, and your teeth may feel sore. Getting used to the braces will generally take about 7-10 days.

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Regular adjustments

After traditional braces are placed on your teeth, your orthodontist will adjust them periodically by tightening or bending the interconnecting wires. This regular adjustment will place mild pressure on the teeth and slowly shift them into new positions. The bone of the jaws responds to the directed pressure by dissolving bone in the path of the moving tooth and laying down new bone behind it.

On occasion, the dentist may utilize the tension between the upper and lower jaws to help correct with alignment. This is accomplished with elastic bands attached to metal brackets stretched between opposing teeth.

Your teeth and jaws will probably feel slightly sore for the first couple of days after an adjustment. You can usually ease this discomfort with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Tell your dentist if this discomfort is more intense than usual or becomes worse.

Retainers

After your metal braces are removed, your newly straightened teeth needs stabilization for a period of time to prevent them from reverting to their original position. This stabilization is accomplished using a custom-fabricated dental appliance typically made of plastic or a combination of plastic and metal wires that help maintain alignment of your smile.

Retainers are usually removable but sometimes can be fixed in place. 

Orthodontic Braces Results

Traditional braces are very effective in realigning misaligned or crooked teeth and helping correct improperly positioned jaws to create a friendly smile and increase oral health.

On average, most patients wear full braces for between one and three years. Retainers may be worn for a short period or indefinitely to ensure that your newly aligned smile does not change over time.

The person wearing the braces has a vital role in the success of treatment. 

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Dental Hygiene Maintenance

This area is critical when undergoing orthodontic treatment. It does not matter how straight your teeth are when they are done if tooth decay and periodontal disease have taken hold of your straight smile. It will take a concerted effort between yourself and your dentist to stay on track. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or thinking about it, speak to your dentist about keeping your oral hygiene . This is so that you do not develop issues when treatment is complete.

Dental Braces Risks

Wearing dental braces is typically a very safe procedure. However, the treatment is not without some risks.

Short term risks of orthodontic braces

Braces and metal wires have tiny spaces around your teeth that easily trap food debris and promote bacteria-filled plaque deposits. Failure to diligently remove these deposits of food and plaque can lead to:

  • Permanent whitish stains. This staining is due to the loss of minerals in the enamel layer.
  • Increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease

Long-term risks of orthodontic braces

Long-term risks can include:

  • Shorter root lengths. During orthodontic movement, a portion of the bone in the path of the moving tooth dissolves while new bone is laid behind it. Permanent root length loss may occur during this movement, leading to less stable teeth. This risk typically occurs when teeth move too fast or with excess force.
  • Loss of correction. If you do not follow your dentist’s instructions carefully once braces are removed, you may lose some of the smile corrections gained while wearing your braces. An excellent example of this is not wearing your retainer following the completion of treatment.

Reduce your risk of damage

To reduce the risk of damaging your smile and braces:

  • Reduce sugary and starchy foods and beverages. Consuming excess sugar will lead to an increased risk of tooth decay.
  • Brush After Every Meal. After every meal, brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush decreases the buildup of plaque and lowers the risk of tooth decay development. If brushing after every meal is not possible, consider rinsing after eating to lessen the buildup and effects.
  • Rinse thoroughly. This rinsing will help to get all particles out of the crevices of your braces. 
  • Use a fluoride rinse as recommended by your dentist.
  • Floss between braces and under wires with the help of a floss threader. Your dentist also may recommend a small flexible toothbrush to clean around and between braces and wires.
  • Avoid sticky foodsThese can include chewing gum, chewy candies, taffy, and caramel They can pull off brackets, bands, and wires.
  • Avoid crunchy or hard foods. These can include chewing ice, raw carrots, popcorn, hard candies, and nuts. These foods can easily break wires or brackets of your orthodontic braces.
  • See your dentist as recommended for examinations and cleanings. 
  • Follow all instructions. Poor compliance can extend overall treatment time and increase the possibility of complications developing.

Dental Braces Conclusion

Orthodontic braces are an excellent tool for cosmetic dentists to complete the transformation of someone’s smile. A well-designed orthodontic treatment can give results that last for a lifetime of smiles. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations and cleanings.

Contact Marielaina Perrone DDS at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no-cost cosmetic consultation appointment if you are ready for a smile makeover. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams in Summerlin, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV.