Dental braces are appliances used by dental professionals when orthodontic treatment is necessary for a patient. The most common reason for initiating orthodontic treatment is the correction of crooked teeth, which are referred to as malocclusions. This condition occurs when the teeth of the upper and lower jaws are not properly aligned, and one protrudes over the other. Any time teeth are crooked and not positioned properly, it may be necessary to use braces to gradually reposition them into a desired situation.
There are five different types of braces which are currently in use for orthodontic treatment. The traditional and most popular type of braces are metal braces, and these are the ones that are highly visible in the patient's mouth. Ceramic braces are another type, as are self-ligating braces and lingual braces. The type of braces which have been steadily gaining in popularity are clear aligners such as Invisalign, with their popularity obviously due to the fact that they are virtually undetectable in the patient's mouth.
Generally speaking, you can expect to wear braces for between 18 and 24 months. For really complex oral problems, it may be necessary to have them in place for as long as three years. For patients who have less severe oral issues, it may be possible to wear clear aligners for as little as six to 12 months, to accomplish whatever repositioning is necessary for the teeth.
Braces treatment begins with having a cheek retractor installed to make sure teeth remain visible and dry throughout the procedure. Then teeth are polished to make sure that brackets will be properly bonded, after which they get air-dried. Then a conditioner is used for 30 seconds on the front teeth to help prepare them for bonding, after which they're cleaned off and the teeth are dried, so that a primer can be installed to enhance the bonding.
Then cement is put on the back of the brackets and they're applied to designated positions on the teeth. After brackets have been installed, any excess cement gets eliminated and brackets are hardened into position with a high-intensity light. Then the cheek retractor is taken out and dental arch wires get put into place. The whole process usually takes about 20 minutes, but it's necessary to take whatever time is required in order to make sure components are correctly positioned.
Caring for teeth which have retainers or braces installed is very important, because the braces, springs, wires, and rubber bands make it very easy for food particles to get trapped next to teeth. That means regular brushing is a must in order to eliminate these food particles, and it's also a good idea to use mouthwash, because it can reach areas of your mouth that a toothbrush can't. If you have a WaterPik or an air-flosser, these can also be very helpful to flush out any food particles which become trapped in the teeth, or any of the paraphernalia associated with braces or retainers.
In order to schedule an appointment with Parkway Dental Care to consult about braces, either call us or fill out the contact form on our website. We can examine your mouth thoroughly, take x-rays, and then determine exactly how much re-positioning your teeth will require. This will then determine the appropriate course of action with orthodontic work, and how long it will take to achieve the desired positioning.