What are braces?
Braces are dental devices used to align teeth correctly so that patients get beautiful smiles, comfortable bites and clear speech. The dental speciality that covers braces is called orthodontics.
What types of braces are available?
Braces are structural or cosmetic. Structural braces are fitted for children while cosmetic braces are placed for adults and adolescents. Braces may be fixed or removable. Structural or traditional braces are made of stainless steel. Cosmetic braces are made of clear ceramic material or clear plastic. Some braces are self-ligating, that is, they use a slide mechanism rather than elastic bands to connect to the dental archwire. Lingual braces are metal braces placed on the inner surface of teeth. This type of brace is not visible and are preferred by patients requiring cosmetic braces.
How long do you have to wear braces for?
The length of orthodontic treatment depends on the needs and orthodontic problems of each individual patient. Treatments for adults may take a longer time. On average, patients need to wear braces for about 2 years and then they need to wear a retainer to maintain the corrected position of teeth. For some adults treatment may take about 3 years.
How are braces installed on teeth?
For fixed braces, the orthodontist dries the teeth and places glue or bonding cement on the braces. The braces are placed on teeth and a UV light is shone on them to cure the glue or cement. For removable braces, an impression of the teeth is taken and a technician makes the removable brace consisting of a plastic plate and wires. The brace is then fitted on teeth.
How do braces work on teeth?
Braces exert a steady pressure on teeth. The pressure is periodically adjusted as needed by the orthodontist. Eventually the pressure exerted by braces corrects the alignment of teeth.
Do braces hurt?
Braces are uncomfortable when first placed on teeth. Patients experience soreness and need to get used to the pressure exerted on the teeth by braces. Patients normally get used to braces within a month.
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