Braces are the single most popular and effective way to align and straighten teeth. Braces are a corrective orthodontic procedure to help correct many problems with the teeth and jaw. While uncomfortable to have applied and inconvenient to wear for the designated amount of time–up to two years, braces are a very positive way to correct problems and improve the appearance of your teeth.
Braces function to shape the teeth and jaw and are often invaluable in improving dental health from both a cosmetic and structural point of view. Correcting things like overbites, underbites, malocclusions, crooked teeth, and other problems with the teeth and jaw is essential to long term dental health and aesthetic appearances.
Braces work by slowly applying constant pressure to the teeth to move them into proper position over time. Traditional metal braces use brackets, bonding material, archwires, and rubber bands to align the teeth. The arch wire puts pressure on the brackets and teeth while the rubber bands are used to generate force in a particular direction. This process essentially loosens the teeth whereby new bone grows into support the teeth in their new position.
X-rays are taken, and molds and impressions are made of the mouth to determine the course of treatment when applying braces. Once the braces are ready to go on, an adhesive is applied to the teeth and brackets are attached with dental cement and allowed to harden. Next, the archwire is threaded through the brackets and secured with elastic or metal links. Once the braces are fully installed, the archwires must be adjusted every three to six weeks to keep the teeth shifting into the proper position.
An orthodontist will probably also add elastic or rubber bands to the hooks on the brackets of the braces to adjust the upper and lower teeth in various ways through the application of pressure. These bands may be placed in varying positions to move the teeth during the treatment process. Once a month the orthodontist will need to check the braces and make adjustments to the wires and bands to generate the right amount of pressure on the teeth.
Long Term Benefits of Braces
Improving your bite and the appearance of your teeth are the main reasons for getting braces and, as such, the significant benefits at the end of the braces treatment. Correcting problems with misaligned teeth and overbites and underbites are some of the most common dental health benefits to braces. On a superficial level, straightening your teeth can improve confidence and convey a more professional appearance.
To achieve the maximum long-term benefit of braces, post-braces treatment often requires the use of a retainer. This helps the teeth maintain their position after the braces has been removed. Typically, retainers are fitted after braces are removed and worn all day for around six months. After this period, retainers can be worn only at night. This process helps ensure the bones, gums, and muscles of the mouth adapt to the adjustment gradually.
Overall, enduring the braces treatment process is a very positive thing for your dental health and appearance. Every braces treatment varies depending on the patient, but, in general, you should expect to wear braces for a year and a half to two years with another six months of wearing a retainer. Once the braces come off, however, the benefits are immediately apparent. Straight teeth, a more aligned jaw, and a more confident smile are the rewards for the long process of braces treatment.