Braces are dental health devices used to straighten and align teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite. They can be either cosmetic or structural and are often used to correct underbites, as well as malocclusions, overbites, cross bites, open bites, deep bites, crooked teeth, and various other flaws of the teeth and jaw. Braces move the teeth, as a result of constant force and pressure over time, into their proper positions.
Several types of braces and approaches are available – including traditional metal braces, invisible braces and 6-Month Braces (typically for adults). The length of time spent wearing braces depends on the severity of the condition and the desired outcome. The process usually takes from 6 months to 3 years; your unique case may be shorter or longer.
Benefits of Orthodontics
Here are some of the benefits of orthodontic treatment:
- Increase self-esteem by improving your appearance.
- Straight teeth increase smiling… and smiling makes you healthier, more confident and even improves your outlook on the world.
- Decrease the likelihood that you will develop gum disease and or lose teeth prematurely by relieving stress on gums and bones – an inevitable result when teeth do not align properly.
- Eliminate possible speech problems caused by misaligned teeth.
- Help reduce and treat jaw pain or TMJ.
- Decrease the possibility of decay in crowded, overlapping teeth – places where food could be trapped.
- Allow the jawbone to develop properly, possibly resulting in less of a need to extract adult teeth.
- The first step is to do an examination and consult with the patient (and the parents, if the patient is a child) to determine if braces are needed. If braces are appropriate, a records appointment is scheduled.
- The records appointment is where digital X-rays, molds, and impressions are made. These records are analyzed to determine the best course of corrective action.
- A plaster model is made using the dental impressions. Then the model is laser scanned to create a three-dimensional digital model of the patient’s arches. This enables us to ensure, in a virtual setting, that the selected treatment will produce the optimal outcome, with minimal user input.
- If needed, about two weeks before the braces are applied, an appointment will be scheduled to have orthodontic spacers inserted in order to spread apart back teeth to create enough space for the bands.
- At the last appointment, the teeth to be braced will have an adhesive applied. This will help the cement used in the next step bond to the surface of the tooth. Then, teeth will be banded and then brackets will be added. A bracket will be applied with dental cement, and then cured with light until hardened. This process usually takes a few seconds per tooth.
- Regular checkups are strongly recommended to measure the progress of the orthodontics, and to assure good dental hygiene.
Depending on the complexity and types of problems, orthognathic surgery may be recommended. Should that be the case, we will refer you to a qualified orthodontic surgeon.