Braces can dramatically improve one’s appearance by aligning teeth and correcting a person’s natural bite. They can adjust for problems such as overcrowded or crooked teeth, as well as for an over or underbite. Modern advances in orthodontics have made braces a less noticeable and thus more desirable alternative for improving the appearance of the teeth. Braces help create straighter teeth, a proper bite, and a great smile.
Who Should Wear Braces
Anyone who is unsatisfied with their existing teeth should consider braces as an effective way to attain aesthetically pleasing teeth. While anyone can wear them, braces are ideal for children between the ages of 9 and 16. It is during these years that the teeth and jawline are undergoing most of their growth and, therefore, are more easily aligned. Yet, as mentioned above, braces can straighten teeth for people of any age. In fact, more than ever before, adults are using braces to correct orthodontic problems.
Types of Braces
There are generally three types of braces. The first is plastic or metal brackets. These brackets are bonded onto the front of teeth. While metal brackets are more traditional, clear or neutral colored plastic brackets are now very popular because they are much less noticeable. One of the newest types of braces is lingual braces. Here, the brackets are attached to the backs of the teeth, making them much less detectable than traditional brackets. The traditional, and generally outdated, form of braces is the metal bands that wrap around the entire tooth.
Although there are different types of braces, the idea behind all of them is to use bands to exert tension on teeth and gradually realign their position. The orthodontist places the brackets onto the teeth and, in certain cases, inserts spacers onto the back teeth. The archwires are then inserted through the brackets, where they are held in place by ties. In some cases, teeth need to be extracted to make room for the future alignment of teeth.
In most cases, braces remain on the teeth for 15 to 30 months. The amount of time depends on the severity of the orthodontic problem and the patient’s age. Once the braces are removed, a retainer (usually worn at night for several months) holds teeth in their new position. Braces are generally uncomfortable when they are first placed. Once patients become more accustomed to the tension on their teeth, they do not cause any undue discomfort. Patients should avoid hard foods and candy that bend the archwires or cause the brackets to loosen. As well, food such as popcorn or shelled nuts should be avoided as they can get stuck in the braces and make cleaning difficult.
The most important way to maximize the effects of braces is to be cooperative in the process. Follow the general instructions of your orthodontist for proper cleaning and maintenance of your braces. This insures that the braces have the greatest effect on the your teeth and are on for the shortest possible time.
Some people especially teens would feel self-conscious when they had to put on braces. Well, I actually enjoy having to wear them…It’s an experience in a lifetime. Had to have them for a year an a half. I had it on pretty late…at 17 after my spm. My ex-schoolmates had them on when they were in form one! My teeth were not overcrowded or crooked. I just need to improve the alignment of my teeth. It wasn’t that obvious but who doesn’t want to feel good? I felt pretty confident with braces on even during my matriculation (pre-u) days. Why? Well, I was fortunate enough to have ceramic brackets instead of metal brackets. So, people thought I wear retainers! The only set back about wearing braces is you can’t chew gum & you have to avoid hard food! Take off the elastics, so on and so forth…Humm, I don’t seem to have any pics of me with braces….man…
Translucent clear ceramic braces are the most popular with adults. You have to be very close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile.