Metal braces are one way to achieve tooth movement to improve crowding and fix malocclusion. They are the most common type of braces. Two decades ago, metal braces were a source of embarrassment. Today they can be a fashion statement!
Today’s metal braces are much smaller, flatter, more attractive, and more comfortable than in the past. In fact, now we have fashion braces including designer brackets that are available in fun shapes and colors, and colored wires. Teens especially love this.
Patients of all ages choose metal braces to help them achieve straight, beautiful smiles.
What Braces are Made Of
There are three main parts to your braces:
- Brackets – Brackets are bonded to the front of your teeth using a special dental glue that holds them in place. They hold arch wires that apply the pressure that moves the teeth.
- Arch wires – Arch wires attach to the brackets. They are thin metal wires that apply pressure to the teeth to guide them to move into the correct position.
- Bands – Bands are small rubber bands, also called elastics, that attach the arch wires to the brackets to correct malocclusions.
If needed, headgear may be used to move the upper molars.
How Braces Work
Braces move the teeth by applying constant pressure on your teeth and over time slowly move your teeth in to the proper position. Each tooth is moved independently of the others, into the proper position.
The process loosens the teeth to move them. This happens when the bone which supports the tooth remodels to support the tooth in its new location. Thus, patients will notice that their teeth may feel lose while the teeth are moving, and the bone remodels.
At each monthly appointment, your orthodontist may tighten the arch wires to create more tension and pressure on the teeth. In some patients the braces alone are not enough to straighten the teeth, so they may need to wear rubber bands or head gear.
Adjustments may cause soreness which can be treated with over the counter pain relievers.
How long does it take to get results?
The length of treatment depends on complexity of the problems, and how well patients follow instructions. Generally, it can take a few years to achieve final results. However, to maintain those results the patient may need to wear a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made appliance that helps to keep your teeth in their new position. They are usually made of clear plastic with some metal clasps to hold the appliance in place. A retainer may need to be worn up to six months after your braces are removed.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Any patient with a malocclusion, and/ or crooked, crowded and twisted teeth.
What is malocclusion?
Mocclusion is the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. Malocclusion (bad bite) is when the upper and lower teeth do not fix well together. Malocclusions include:
- An underbite – an underbite is when the lower front teeth cover the upper front teeth and the upper molars do not line up with the lower molars. This causes extra strain on the teeth and jaw.
- An overbite – an overbite is when the upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth and the upper and lower molars do not line up. This causes abnormal stress and strain on the teeth and jaw.
- Crossbites – Crossbites are where the upper and lower teeth do not meet correctly, and affects the appearance of your teeth, lips and mouth. Crossbites can cause headaches, decay, jaw pain, and gum disease, and tooth grinding.
- Crooked and crowded teeth – Crooked teeth are caused by extra teeth, lost teeth, impacted teeth, abnormally shaped teeth. They can also result from an underdeveloped jaw.
Metal braces are for All Ages
Traditional metal braces are still the most popular, quickest and most cost-effective orthodontic treatment available. Schedule a consultation with Sphinx Orthodontics to learn about all your options to achieve a beautiful smile and healthy mouth.