The Purpose Of Orthodontic Braces For A Better Smile

By:    Published: December 20, 2011

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Braces have become something of a rite of passage for many kids and teens, but it’s not just for kids anymore. Many adults are also getting braces these days to help improve their smile. Over the years, many different types of braces have been developed to give patients more options. In addition, there are a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of braces while you have them.

The Purpose Of Orthodontic Braces

Braces are used for a variety of purposes. For some, braces are implemented in order to straighten out crooked or overlapping teeth. People with gaps in their teeth may also benefit from having braces. In addition, braces can be a great way to correct malocclusion, which is a condition in which the two parts of the jaw do not line up correctly. Malocclusion can be either an overbite (when the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw) or an underbite (when the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw). Braces can even help to align the lips and teeth properly.

For some people, braces are used to correct just one of these problems, while for others the braces are needed to correct multiple problems. The length of time that the braces need to stay on is dependent upon how long it takes to correct each of these issues. The braces can also be adjusted to provide more or less pressure to get the desired results.

Types

Most people think of braces as large, clunky metal chunks attached to the teeth and connected with thick metal wires. Fortunately, today’s braces are much more subtle and easy to deal with in everyday life. Plus, they come in several different varieties to accommodate your preferences and lifestyle. The main types of braces you will find offered today are:

  • Metal braces: These are still the most commonly used type of braces since they are strong and durable. The metal is much thinner now to make the braces less noticeable and easier to deal with while eating and drinking. These braces are usually made out of nickel titanium and stainless steel. However, they are also offered in gold-plated stainless steel for those who are allergic to nickel.
  • Ceramic braces: This newer style of braces is becoming more popular due to the fact that they blend in with the color of the teeth. The ceramic used to make these braces is mostly translucent and clear to match the natural hue of the teeth, so they are much less noticeable than metal braces. Unfortunately, the ceramic is not quite as strong and durable as metal, so there is more of a risk of breakage with this style of braces.
  • Lingual braces: Braces which fit behind the teeth are known as lingual braces. The braces are mounted onto the back of the teeth so that they are not visible to others. Lingual braces are often more expensive than metal or ceramic braces. In addition, this style of braces may be somewhat uncomfortable since the tongue is more likely to come in contact with the braces.

There are also a few accessories which may come with braces depending on a patient’s individual needs and preferences. The first are the tiny rubber bands that are attached to most metal braces. These can come in different colors, so you can style them to either blend in more or to suit your style. Many kids and teens like choosing different colors for their braces each time they go in for a check-up. Additionally, there are rubber brands which may be attached between the upper and lower set of braces to help realign the jaw. For more severe cases of malocclusion, headgear may be required to make the necessary jaw adjustments.

Who Should Get Braces?

The majority of people who get braces are kids and teenagers. The best candidates have crooked or gapped teeth, malocclusion or both. According to the National Institutes of Health, applying braces at a young age can also help guide proper jaw growth.

Despite the fact that most people with braces are younger, there are also plenty of adults who get braces as well. Problems like overbites, underbites and crooked teeth can still be corrected well into the adult years.

It’s difficult to know if you need braces without first seeing an orthodontist. You’ll need to make an appointment with one of these doctors in order to find out if you’re a good candidate for braces. Make sure you discuss the expenses associated with braces as well; many people don’t realize how much of a financial commitment braces can be.

Tips For Great Results

There are a few things you can do to make sure you get the best results from your braces, including:

  • Avoid very sticky foods which may get stuck in your braces.
  • Brush after meals to get rid of any excess food particles in your braces.
  • Ask your orthodontist for special flossing tools to help keep your teeth clean.
  • If a wire or bracket breaks, see your orthodontist right away.
  • Follow your orthodontist’s directions carefully, including wearing you rubber bands or headgear whenever necessary.

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