Braces - What You NEED To Know

Braces - What You NEED To Know

By Tien Dang - Doctor of Dental Surgery

Braces — What YOU Need To Know

What Are Braces?

Dental braces are orthodontic devices that align and straighten your teeth. They help position your teeth with regard to your bite and aim to improve your overall dental health. Braces are especially useful for fixing any gaps you may have in your teeth!

Why Get Braces?

To Look Better Than Ever!

Braces are important for improving your oral health, and they can also play an important role in boosting your self-esteem. You may suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety if you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth. On the other hand, when your teeth are aligned perfectly and you are happy with your smile, you will be at ease when talking or smiling. Plus, everyone around you will see your great teeth! Also, moving your teeth into a better position, braces can also help make your jaws and lips more proportionate to your face. Braces are a great way to enhance your general appearance.

To Feel More Confident!

Braces help you smile more! Smiling is proven to benefit your mental health and also has a positive impact on the people around you. So, if you’re not happy with the way your teeth look, then braces are a great way of achieving your ideal smile! You’ll want to show off your bright smile and feel more confident than ever. In fact, 80% of people who received teeth-straightening treatment have reported it to be one of the most important treatments they’ve ever received!

To Better Your Oral Health!

There are various dental health issues that may require treating with braces, such as having an uneven bite. If you have an uneven bite, this is likely a result of misaligned teeth. An uneven bite could lead to you developing other dental issues such as overly worn teeth or chipping of teeth. Braces can not only align your teeth but also help prevent these issues. Another benefit is that braces can help prevent gum disease. As gum disease is often a result of unflossed teeth, you are more likely to suffer from it if you have overcrowded teeth, where floss can’t get to those hard to reach places. Since braces help space your teeth out, they can help you improve your dental health by flossing properly. In addition to this, braces can also prevent future jaw weakness and muscle pain which is caused by misaligned teeth.

When Do I Need Braces?

Do you often find yourself wondering “do I need braces?” If so, we’ve got you covered! Tim Dang, an in-house orthodontist here at Studio Dental of River Park, has compiled a list of the most common health issues that call for orthodontic therapy and treatment. You might need braces if:

  • You experienced an irregular loss of your baby teeth.
  • Your adult teeth came in late or delayed.
  • Your teeth meet abnormally or leave large gaps in between.
  • Your jaws and teeth are out of proportion with your face.
  • Your teeth are crowded, misplaced, or crooked.
  • You have missing teeth or extra teeth.
  • You suffer from overbite or underbite.
  • Your jaw shifts uncomfortably or makes audible sounds.
  • You suffer from a disjointed jaw.
  • When chewing or talking you often bite the sides of your cheeks or scrape the roof of your mouth.
  • Chewing is difficult.
  • You must breathe through your mouth.

How Successful Are Braces?
Treatment with orthodontic braces has a very high success rate. However, success depends on both the skills of the orthodontist and the enthusiasm of the patient. It’s really important to follow any instructions you are given by the orthodontist and to go to any appointments you have with them to ensure the best possible results.

How Much Do Braces Cost?
The price of orthodontic therapy varies greatly depending on the type you receive. There 3 types of braces, and each one has a different price point. Typically, the price of this orthodontic therapy ranges between $3000-$6000.

How Long Will I Have Braces?
Fixed braces will typically last 18-24 months, but can be required for up to 4 years if necessary. However, you can help ensure that your treatment is as fast as possible if you follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions!

Braces Procedure And What To Expect

So now that we know when you need braces, what goes into actually getting the right orthodontic treatment for you?

  1. Finding the right orthodontic treatment
    First, you’ll consult with your orthodontist to find a treatment that will help you achieve your dream smile. At Studio Dental of River Park, we offer a few different types of braces in a variety of colors so that we can meet the needs and requests of any patients. Once you’ve spoken with your orthodontist and scheduled an appointment you’re one step closer to achieving your goals!                                                
  2. Preparation and cleaning
    Once you arrive at your appointment, your orthodontist will begin preparing your teeth for the installation procedure. Your teeth must be really clean to ensure the brackets stick properly. After your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, you’re ready to proceed with applying the braces.                                                
  3. Gluing on the brackets
    These brackets are small devices (metal or ceramic) that hold the wires in place on your teeth. The orthodontist attaches the brackets by placing a small amount of glue in the center of each tooth. After this, blue light is used to set the glue on your teeth. The glue might not taste very nice, but don’t worry! It is completely harmless to you, and an essential part of the process. Next, the orthodontist will place a bracket on the glue in the center of the tooth.

    Although this procedure is completely painless, you may feel some mild pressure. Remember to let your orthodontist know if you’re feeling any discomfort or pinching sensations. The band can always be adjusted so it’s more comfortable for you.                                                
  4. Sliding on the bands
    In order to keep the braces in place, the orthodontist will put metal bands around your back molars. Then the orthodontist will choose a band that is the right size for your teeth and some glue will be applied to the band. After the glue is set with the blue light, and the band will be slid onto your tooth.                                                    

    Although this procedure is completely painless, you may feel some mild pressure. Remember to let your orthodontist know if you’re feeling any discomfort or pinching sensations. The band can always be adjusted so it’s more comfortable for you.                                                
  5. Attaching the archwires
    After the brackets and bands are firmly in place, the archwire is attached to the brackets. The orthodontist does this by wrapping a small rubber band around each of the brackets to keep the wire in place.                                                    

    Brace yourselves! We’re moving on to the fun part. The rubber bands are completely customizable, and you get to choose whatever color or combination of colors you want. You can be as creative as you want and match any aesthetic. Finally, the orthodontist will then trim the end of the archwire to ensure it doesn’t come into contact with the gums at the back of your mouth.

Braces Recovery and Care

Braces Pain And Sensitivity

A few hours after getting braces, you will likely develop some pain and soreness in your teeth and gums. This pain typically lingers for about a week and will fade quickly after. The pain you may experience is because of the pressure being put on your teeth by the wires and rubber bands. These wires and rubber bands are meant to slowly straighten your teeth, and your mouth will quickly become adjusted.

After your first week of wearing braces, you may experience:

  • Pressure or soreness of your teeth and gums, especially when chewing/eating.
  • Sores or pain on the inside of your cheeks.
  • Discomfort or cuts on your tongue (from rubbing against the braces).

Once the braces have been applied, you will need to visit your orthodontist every few weeks for adjustments. At these visits, your orthodontist will tighten the wires, springs, or elastic bands to increase the tension on your teeth. This ensures that your teeth are getting moved properly.

Tightening your braces may cause some pain and soreness for a few days. Don’t worry, this discomfort shouldn’t be as bad as the initial pain of getting your braces. After a few days, you will become more familiar with the increased pressure on your teeth. Any over-the-counter painkiller should be enough to relieve your pain, but remember to ask your orthodontist if you require further assistance.

Recovery Tips

  • Try to eat soft foods for the first couple of days – soup, mash, yogurt, oatmeal, applesauce, scrambled eggs, etc.
  • If necessary, use over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Apply orthodontic wax to avoid mouth sores/ulcers in the first few weeks of your treatment. To apply, just warm the wax between your fingers and press it on the brackets that are causing discomfort.
  • Avoid touching your mouth sores or teeth with your tongue/fingers.
  • Avoid acidic food or drink, which will irritate your ulcers.
  • An over-the-counter oral anesthetic will temporarily numb the pain. To apply, simply dab a small amount of the anesthetic on a q-tip and apply it to the sores. This will numb the area and relieve the pain for a limited time.
  • Your gums may also develop sores because they aren’t used to the feeling of the braces yet. Rinsing your mouth with a weak solution of warm salt water helps to ease the irritation. If need be, repeat this several times a day.
  • Finally, know that it gets better! Once your mouth takes some time to adjust, any pain and irritation will go away – it all gets easier from here.

Why Retainers Are Important

A retainer is a removable or fixed appliance that is custom-made to your teeth to help maintain their new position after braces have been removed. The use of a retainer is a very important part of the aftercare and maintenance process. Retainers are typically made of clear plastic/rubber and metal wires that cover the outside surface of your teeth, and need to be worn all the time for the first couple of months and then usually only at night when sleeping.

The time frame for wearing a retainer varies depending on your individual treatment. Although the braces may have straightened your teeth, they won’t be completely settled in their new position until the bones, gums, and muscles have adapted to this change. In addition to this, after long periods of time, teeth tend to shift position, which is another reason why it’s really important to wear your retainer.

Braces or Invisalign?

In order to make a comparison between braces and Invisalign, we need to understand what Invisalign is. Invisalign is a type of orthodontic therapy that takes the form of clear tray aligners. They’re made of a special blend of plastic and manufactured based on molds of your mouth. The aligners are a solid piece of plastic that put pressure on specific parts of your teeth to slowly move them into the desired position.

To get Invisalign, you will need to have a consultation with your orthodontist. They’ll take into account your smile, general oral health, and take impressions of your mouth. After deciding if Invisalign is right for you, your orthodontist will introduce a treatment timeline customized to your needs and plans. Then, your Invisalign aligner trays will be made.

Your aligner trays are custom fit and unique to your mouth. Invisalign involves a series of aligner trays that are changed every 1-2 weeks. Each tray will feel different, as it’s designed with the purpose of shifting and moving your teeth. You will need to wear the Invisalign trays for roughly (20–22 hours/day) in order to see the results you want. Plus side, your aligner trays can be easily removed for eating, brushing, flossing, and outdoor activity!

How Does Invisalign Compare To Braces?

Benefits of Invisalign

  • The retainers are virtually invisible. This means that your Invisalign aligners are less noticeable and it will appear like you don’t have treatment at all.
  • You can take your Invisalign aligners out when you are eating. This means you don’t have to alter what you eat or how you eat it. Whereas with braces, you may find some types of foods difficult/uncomfortable to eat.
  • You can remove your Invisalign retainers to brush your teeth, so you can continue brushing and flossing as normal.
  • You require fewer consultations. You don’t need to go to the orthodontist for adjustments, which means that visits are only required to check on progress.
  • Invisalign retainers are more comfortable since they’re made of special plastic and fitted to your mouth, so there are typically no cuts/sores on the inside of your cheek.

Benefits of Braces

  • Braces are suitable for almost all cases. They are a very effective treatment method in moving teeth into the desired position.
  • Having braces offers more control over the results! Braces use more force to move teeth into the desired position which means that more teeth can be properly adjusted.
  • There are multiple types of braces to suit any patient’s needs. Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual braces are all available to ensure that every patient can achieve their dream smile.
  • Because braces are more effective, they typically have a shorter treatment time.

Drawbacks of Invisalign

  • You have to be disciplined. Your treatment may not produce the best results if you don’t wear your aligners for the appropriate duration.
  • Taking your aligners out can be inconvenient and you need to brush your teeth before you put them back in.
  • Invisalign can be equally expensive as braces due to the advanced 3D scanning technology and flexible material involved in the production.
  • Invisalign is typically not recommended for more severe orthodontic cases.

Drawbacks of Braces

  • Braces are more visible than Invisalign. This may lead to you feel self-conscious about them.
  • Brushing and flossing are somewhat harder because of the interference offered by your brackets and wires.
  • With braces, it’s important to watch your diet. Sticky or hard foods can break/damage the archwire or dislodge a bracket from a tooth. You need to take care of your treatment so it can take care of you!
  • More frequent visits to the orthodontist are required with braces to check on the treatment progress and make any adjustments.

Lastly, it is important to remember that both are good means of treatment but you should discuss with your orthodontist which will be the best course of action in relation to your lifestyle, desired outcome, and overall preference. You may find that you prefer traditional braces to Invisalign, or vice versa.


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