You may have heard of braces, but you might not know precisely how they work. This post will cover everything you need to know about orthodontic braces and how they function to straighten your teeth.
What is a Brace?
Braces are devices that are used to straighten teeth. They have dotted metal bands on either side that attach to the teeth. These metal bands use friction and pressure to cause your teeth to get straighter.
How do orthodontic braces straighten teeth
Orthodontic braces are small metal hooks secured by wires woven through the teeth. The pins hold the wires in place and press against the teeth to straighten them, and by pressing against the teeth with bracing curves, your jaw bones shorten and pull your teeth together.
The orthodontic braces change the shape of your teeth to make them straight. This treatment makes your teeth shorter and creates curves on the front and back of your teeth. The front curve is called an arch, and the back curve is called a cusp.
And they come in different sizes, measured by the bands’ widths to hold them in place. They’re made up of a series of brackets, and each bracket has two wires attached to it. The wires adhere to the backs of your teeth. The wires follow the curve of your teeth and hold the brackets in place.
Some orthodontic braces also have trays that fit behind your teeth. A tray goes over your existing fillings and supports them as they move forward in response to wear from clenching or grinding. This tray type is sometimes called a retention tray or an archwire-retention tray (AWR). It’s not recommended to wear an AWR on an active tooth that’s still growing because it can cause damage if it moves during regular grinding or clenching.
With traditional braces, you must have your teeth ground down to fit the metal brackets. A dental filling is used to fill the gaps around the metal wires. You may also have a new tooth that fits in the space and props up your other teeth when you wear traditional braces. This process is called tooth-resetting.
There are other types of orthodontic braces, like lingual braces or Invisalign braces, that you don’t see in your mouth. These orthodontic braces are less noticeable and work well for people who want to keep their teeth looking natural.
The orthodontic braces can take a long time to straighten teeth. Most of the time, tooth movement happens gradually due to the constant pressure from the wires. Orthodontic braces cannot and should not be removed from your mouth during this period if you want your teeth to stay straight.
Your teeth will move a little bit every month, but it will happen more quickly when you are younger. Today’s braces are smaller and more comfortable.
Why do you need orthodontic braces
Orthodontic braces are used to fix a problem with your bite, called an open bite. An open bite is when the bite isn’t correctly aligned. The teeth around the missing tooth may be uneven relative to each other, crooked, or too far apart.
When your teeth aren’t in proper alignment, you can wind up with problems like crowded teeth and headaches caused by clenching or grinding them together. You also risk damaging other healthy teeth as your jaws pull them out of alignment when you chew and grind food.
The most significant cause of open bites is wear and tear on your teeth, caused by grinding or clenching, especially of the lower front teeth. These teeth are likely to be crowded in with age.
FAQ About Braces
How long will I wear them?
This depends on how much space your missing tooth takes up compared to the other teeth. Your dentist can make recommendations for treatment based on your bite and other health problems you may have.
Teeth significantly shorter than neighboring teeth are more likely to become crowded throughout life and require orthodontic treatment in some braces. In these instances, dentists might recommend a two-stage treatment plan. In the first stage, a space maintainer is put in to keep the space from closing. In the second stage, your orthodontist will focus on stopping grinding and other problems that might cause you pain.
What happens after they come off?
Your dentist will remove your braces. Your dentist will remove the brackets and then clean the teeth. When you leave, your teeth may have a small amount of temporary discoloration, and it can take several months for a new tooth to grow in or for your gums to heal correctly.
After you’ve had your braces removed, there are a few things you’ll want to take care of to keep your smile healthy. You’ll want to floss and brush regularly as though you still have orthodontic braces. Also, chew on the opposite side of what you did before or snack on softer foods. Also, be sure you are not grinding or clenching your teeth together. This can cause severe damage to your mouth and jaw. If you do this, talk to your dentist about how you can stop grinding or clenching.
Different devices may help you relax your jaw muscles so they don’t get locked in place by grinding or clenching. You should also see a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to keep issues with crowding and open bites from returning.
How much will they cost?
It depends on the type of braces and where you live, but on average, the cost for braces is about $1,000 per arch. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to orthodontics, and the treatment may vary.
Can you brush while wearing them?
Yes, but you’ll need to get used to it. You’ll want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a fluoride toothpaste and gently brush the outside of your brackets. This will help spread saliva around the wires and ensure your teeth don’t become misshapen.
Can you eat while wearing them?
Yes! You can eat most foods, but some foods might be problematic for your mouth to process. Breaking up foods into smaller pieces can help make them easier to chew. Soft foods like apples, pudding, and fig newtons are usually good choices because they aren’t too tough on your teeth or sensitive areas.
How do I know if I need them?
Your dentist will take a few steps to determine if you’re at risk for open bites and crowded teeth. Your doctor will first check you out by taking an X-ray of your mouth. If your bite looks good, but you have a few missing teeth, they might suggest you wear braces too.
Will they hurt?
Yes. Orthodontic braces are made of metal, rubber, and plastic. They are tight and snug, so they will feel uncomfortable when you first put them on. Your teeth might get very sore in the first few weeks and sometimes even months, but this discomfort should stop once you have your braces on for a while.
In conclusion, as Knapp Orthodontics, an Orthodontist in Huntsville Al, we can provide the best treatment for your specific orthodontic issues. Call us today to schedule a consultation with us.