Today we are going to answer the question of ‘how do braces work’. Even though there are a number of orthodontic treatment options available by today’s standards all orthodontic braces work in essentially the same way: by applying a certain degree of force or pressure to the teeth, to move them into a straighter position. Traditional metal braces still remain a firm favourite because they are so effective, but patients also have the option of clear aligners, should you want a more discreet treatment option.
Why It’s Essential To Straighten Crooked Teeth?
Crooked teeth can certainly make you feel less confident by aesthetics are not the only reason to consider straightening your smile. In fact, straight teeth are an investment in your long term dental health because they are much easier to keep clean, and therefore much less likely to experience dental decay than crooked teeth.
How Do I Know I Need Braces?
Your dental practitioner will tell you if you need to wear orthodontic braces to address:
- Crooked teeth
- Gappy teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Problems with your bite (including an under-, over- or crossbite)
You will have a thorough consultation and lifestyle discussion, and your dental practitioner will prepare a treatment plan and cost estimate that will detail any orthodontic options that are applicable to you. Any concerns you might have about orthodontic treatment should be discussed in detail with your dentist prior to starting treatment.
How Do Traditional Metal Braces Work?
Traditional braces are made from metal and make use of the bracket and wire system. Each tooth in your mouth is put under pressure by the brackets and wires, which pull them into the desired position to create a straight smile at the end of your treatment time. You will need to revisit your dentist every month or every few weeks to have your braces adjusted because, as your teeth move closer to their final position, you will need to maintain the pressure system.
Metal braces are the most popular choice for younger people because they are so effective and affordable. They are more comfortable than they used to be, and having the option of wearing coloured wires can make them more fun for adolescents to get used to.
Clear aligners have revolutionised orthodontic care, especially for older adolescents and adults who may have avoided orthodontic treatment because they didn’t want to wear braces.
Clear aligners allow you to straighten crooked teeth in a much more discreet manner, as they are barely perceptible to the people around you.
Aligners also place fewer lifestyle restrictions on patients because they can be removed before eating and drinking, and are generally more comfortable to wear even though they also work by applying constant pressure or force to the teeth.
Clear aligners do not need regular adjustments either. You are given a few different sets of aligners at the beginning of your treatment, with each set marking a new position for your teeth to shift into, in order to be straightened. When your teeth have shifted, you simply start wearing a new set. This means fewer visits to the dentist, giving you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy.
A third option is lingual braces, which is essential transitional metal braces that are placed on the underside of your teeth. Lingual braces give patients the option of effective straightening while being hardly noticeable. While lingual braces are more discreet than traditional braces, their placement on the underside of the teeth can make them more difficult to keep clean.
How Long Do Braces Take To Work?
Everyone is different, and every patient requires a different level of correction to straighten their teeth. For most patients, this means up to 24 months of wearing braces, as well as regular visits to your dentist.
During the time you wear braces, you must practise excellent dental hygiene and make sure you clean your teeth and orthodontic appliances after every meal so that you are not more susceptible to decay.
The Final Stage Of Orthodontic Treatment
Most orthodontic treatments finish off with a period where you must wear a retainer for 6 to 12 months. Lots of patients skip this step, either because they forget to wear it, or because they think they are done with orthodontic treatment. It’s essential that you don’t skip this step, because it is possible for your teeth to shift back to their former positions if you do, and you run the risk of undoing the effects of the treatment plan you may have been following for the last 18 to 24 months.
Remember to follow all your dentist’s advice for your orthodontic braces to work properly.
Do you still want to know more about how do braces work? You should only take the advice of registered, experienced dental professionals. Please contact us for an appointment: (03) 9626 9581.