Not everyone grows up with perfect teeth. On average, over 4.5 million braces are fitted each year in the United States alone. That’s a lot of metal! Roughly up to 75% of children could benefit from braces in some form to straighten teeth, and 45% require them to fix more serious problems like malocclusion or a misaligned bite.
Braces are an orthodontic treatment used to correct dental and skeletal irregularities. They are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. Braces can be removable or permanent and are typically worn by children and teenagers, but adults may also benefit from them.
How Do Braces Work?
The braces are attached to your teeth with special wires, brackets, and rubber bands. As the wires are tightened, they slowly put pressure on your teeth, gradually moving them into the correct position. This can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.
Some of the benefits of braces are:
- Improve your oral health
- Give you a straighter smile
- Improve your self-esteem and confidence
Types of Braces
There are different options when it comes to braces. The type that is right for you will depend on your individual needs, like the severity of your dental issues, age, and lifestyle. Some of the options to consider are:
Metal or traditional braces are the most common type of braces, and they are made of high-grade stainless steel or titanium alloys and are very strong. They are also the most visible type of braces, so if you’re looking to keep your braces a secret, metal braces are not the best option.
Ceramic braces are made of clear or tooth-colored brackets and are less visible than metal braces. They are a good option for people who want to avoid the “metal mouth” look but still require braces to fix their teeth.
Lingual braces are similar to metal braces but are attached to the back of your teeth, so they are hidden from view. They are not suitable for everyone, as they can be difficult to clean and adjust to.
Clear aligners or invisible braces are made of clear plastic and are virtually invisible when worn. They are popular with adults as they are less noticeable than other types of braces. Trays are made to fit your mouth and are worn for a specific time, then replaced with a new tray that is slightly different to continue moving your teeth.
The braces fitting process usually takes place over two or three appointments. At the first appointment, the dentist or orthodontist will take X-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth to make a model of your mouth. They will then use this model to plan the placement of your braces and create a treatment plan.
At the second appointment, the braces will be fitted. This usually takes around 1-2 hours. The brackets are glued to your teeth, and the wires are attached to the brackets. Buccal tubes or molar bands may also be placed on your molars. These bands contain slots that the wire can be threaded through to help keep your braces in place.
You will then be given instructions on how to care for your braces. You will have regular check-ups every 4-6 weeks so the dentist or orthodontist can monitor your progress and tighten or adjust your braces as needed. The braces will need to be worn for around 12-24 months, though treatment time may be longer depending on the severity of dental issues. After the braces are removed, a retainer is worn to keep teeth in their new position.
Headgear is an orthodontic appliance used to help move teeth into the correct position and fix bite issues. It is usually only worn at night and is removed during the day. Headgear consists of a metal frame that goes around your head and is attached to braces on your teeth. The amount of time you need to wear headgear will depend on your treatment plan.
Retainers keep your teeth in their new position after braces are removed. They are usually made of metal or clear plastic and fit over your teeth. You may need to wear a retainer all the time for the first few months, then only at night after that. It’s important to take good care of your retainer to avoid losing or damaging it.
Caring for Your Braces
It’s essential to take good care of your braces to avoid any complications. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing regularly, and avoiding hard and chewy foods that lead to broken brackets.
Foods to avoid with braces are:
- Hard candy
- Chewy candy
Other habits to avoid include:
- Chewing on ice
- Biting your nails
- Chewing on hard objects like pens or pencils
- It’s also important to avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice as they can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Do Braces Hurt?
Braces usually don’t hurt, but you may feel some discomfort when they are first fitted or when they are tightened. This is usually just a temporary feeling and should go away within a few days.
Simple ways to treat pain from braces include:
- Using oral anesthetics to rub on gums and teeth
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Placing a cold compress on your face
- Warm rinse with salt water
- Soft wax on braces to prevent cuts on inside of the cheeks
Braces In Denver
Every child deserves a beautiful smile. If you’re looking for braces in Denver or need more answers about braces, feel free to reach out to us. Our goal is to get your child a healthy smile and straight teeth they can be confident with. Come in and see how we can help your child with any treatment or procedure they might need.
Visit us in Denver at Denver Youth Dental and Vision and at Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics. We also serve the Thornton and Aurora population, visit us at Aurora Youth Dental and Vision, and Thornton Youth Dentistry. Our goal is to help you make the best decision for your child’s smile. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected]. We look forward to helping you with your dental needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to get braces?
The braces fitting process usually takes place over two or three appointments and requires regular adjustment appointments.
How much do braces cost?
The cost of braces varies depending on the type of braces and the severity of your dental issues. On average, braces can cost from $4000 to $7000. We can discuss the cost and finance options available.
What can I eat with braces?
You should avoid hard and chewy foods that can damage braces. Soft foods, like soup, smoothies, eggs, oatmeal, pasta, and mashed potatoes are good options.
Does medicaid cover braces?
It depends on the case, but we work with all Medicaid patients and can work with you to determine the best plan for your coverage.
Will I need teeth pulled?
In some cases, teeth may need to be removed to make room for braces. This will be determined during your consultation.