How do braces work?
Braces move teeth into better alignment by placing continual force on specific teeth. The fixed appliance is comprised of multiple parts, but the two most important parts are the brackets and archwire. Brackets are square-shaped pieces that individually attach to the front of teeth. The archwire runs through consecutive brackets and places pressure on specific teeth to promote movement.
Over time, your teeth will move into better alignment, and the surrounding jawbone tissue will regenerate to facilitate the micromovements.
Am I a candidate for braces?
Most of our patients — from teens to seniors — are great candidates for braces. If you are dissatisfied with the alignment of your teeth, one of our doctors can explore your candidacy for this orthodontic option. Fixed appliances give our dentists greater control over tooth movements. Clear aligners can perform a wide range of tooth movements, but complex alignment problems are often better candidates for braces. Candidates should be in good overall health and willing to properly clean and maintain their fixed appliances.
Orthodontic Treatment Overview
Once your candidacy has been established, we will schedule the first of multiple visits to place your braces. Some individuals may have spacers placed before their braces are attached.
The initial appointment is typically the longest. Each of your teeth will be conditioned so the brackets can be cemented in place.
Once the teeth are prepped, the brackets will be bonded on predetermined areas of each tooth. Then, a special wire will be threaded through the brackets and tightened. You will be given directions on how to clean and maintain your teeth.
On subsequent visits for adjustments, your dentist will check on the progress of the tooth movements. If you have any questions about your treatments, these visits are a great time to ask. The wire will be tightened or might be replaced if necessary, and any broken appliances will be fixed.
Additional Cleanings and Checkups
Throughout your orthodontic treatment, you will need to schedule regular cleanings and checkups in addition to appointments for adjustments.
Maintaining Your Braces
Oral hygiene is especially important throughout orthodontic treatments. The brackets, wires, and other appliances used in braces can leave food particles in contact with the surface of your teeth. This places any individual who is undergoing orthodontic treatment at higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
There are dietary restrictions too. Cutting back on crunchy and sticky foods is your best bet for reducing your risk of tooth decay. Sticky foods like caramel are difficult to remove, and crunchy foods can damage or dislodge your brackets.
While these restrictions may mean cutting back on some of your favorite foods, small changes in your diet can ensure that your orthodontic treatment progresses smoothly and along the desired timeline. Adjusting your diet can also prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.