BRACES OVERVIEW.png

What are “braces” exactly?

Traditional braces have been around for a very long time, and are probably the most recognizable form of treatment. These orthodontic workhouses have a well-established history of success, and are incredibly efficient at correcting issues ranging from mild to complex.

Getting to know the lingo:

Brackets

With improvements in design, braces are more comfortable today than ever before. We use brackets that have a rhodium coating for a completely matte finish to diffuse light and reduce reflection. Our brackets are also self-ligating brackets, meaning that they have a sliding door that engages the arch wire. This eliminates the need for a colored tie around the bracket if a patient chooses. 

Glue

Glue, a form of composite bonding material, is used to attach the brackets to your teeth. Since brackets are meant to eventually be removed to reveal a gorgeous smile, the glue used to bond brackets to teeth will be removed at the end of treatment as well.

Archwire

An archwire, when fixed to brackets glued on teeth, provides the force needed to move teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to the proper position.

Rubber bands (aka elastics)

Rubber bands are essential for patients who need bite correction. These are connected to the brackets with hooks, often from one or more brackets on the top to one or more brackets on the bottom. This adjusts the position of the teeth in the mouth and the position of the jaw to allow bite correction.

Colors (aka elastic ties, o-rings, or ligatures)

Even though are braces are self-ligating (meaning that they do not require colors), colors can still be used. They are the little rubber bands that are wrapped around the individual braces to hold the arch wire in place. They are the part of the braces kids mind wearing the least, because they get to pick the colors. These rubber bands stay on between visits; the orthodontist will change them each time the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted.

Rubber bands (aka elastics)

Rubber bands are essential for patients who need bite correction. These are connected to the brackets with hooks, often from one or more brackets on the top to one or more brackets on the bottom. This adjusts the position of the teeth in the mouth and the position of the jaw to allow bite correction.

Spacers 

These small elastic “donuts” or rings can be used to create space in between the teeth when needed, typically before bands are placed. They are also referred to as separators.

Orthodontic bands

These are stainless steel rings that are cemented to back teeth using dental glues. These bands can provide an anchor for certain orthodontic appliances like expanders or a Forsus spring, but they are not used with all patients.


What can I expect from my braces?

In the past, metal braces had a reputation for being awkward or obvious, but technology has produced versions that are smaller and more comfortable than ever before! Sleeker brackets and gentler wires improve the appearance and feel of these braces, and help keep irritation in the mouth to a minimum.

Our metal braces can be used without colors which gives a subtle look. However, if you want to highlight your braces with colors you can still pick your favorite color combination, the colors of your favorite sports team, even your school colors!

Since braces do not require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments might, they are often the most cost-effective option. The strength, durability, and affordability of braces keep them one of the top treatment modalities for orthodontic patients, year after year!


How do I care for my metal braces?

Maintaining your metal braces can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, particularly during the first few weeks, but with patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of a good dental hygiene routine in no time!

Food particles can get stuck in the various nooks and crannies of braces, giving bad bacteria a place to grow, so it’s more important than ever to keep your braces and teeth clean and free of debris during the orthodontic process. Brushing and flossing thoroughly with brackets, wires, and bands can be tricky, though. Fortunately, there are a number of accessories available that can make oral hygiene much easier for braces patients. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to help rinse out those hard to reach places, and ortho-picks are an excellent choice for braces-specific flossing.

You’ll also need to adjust to the food restrictions that come with traditional braces. Avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy, like some raw fruits and veggies, popcorn, gum, nuts, and several types of candy and sweets. This will protect your brackets and wires while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with metal braces. Remember, this part is only temporary and will be worth it for the smile you see in the mirror when your braces come off!

Our front office will schedule you for follow-up visits with us at regular intervals throughout your treatment, usually about every 6-10 weeks. We do our best to keep these appointments short (around 30 minutes or less), so you can get back to work, home, or school as quickly as possible! You may experience some slight residual soreness following an adjustment appointment, but it should only be temporary.

Don’t skip these follow-up visits! They’re a very important part of your overall treatment plan, and will help us ensure you get very best results in the least amount of time possible.


How long will I be in braces?

The million dollar question! …..and the one we don’t have a concrete answer for. Sorry! Treatment time varies and can last between one and three years, depending on several factors including age, treatment method, and how minor or severe your case is. A big factor in a successful treatment is you! The more involved and diligent you are, the more efficient your treatment will be. For children, receiving interceptive or early treatment can also help provide a quicker treatment time.

Before beginning your orthodontic care, Drs. Ross and Laura Pulver will discuss all of your options and provide an estimate for how long your full treatment may take. Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment and learn more about orthodontics and the treatments we provide.