There are many variations on the market, and fortunately in recent year’s dental braces have become much more comfortable, and less intrusive to wear. Metal Dental braces are wire-based devices used to align and straighten over-crowded and misaligned teeth. The goal of metal braces is to properly align the teeth and jaws to produce an even bite, whilst also working to improve dental health.
Many people choose braces to enhance their appearance, but braces also serve a crucial dental health role. Poorly aligned teeth can make teeth difficult to clean, which can result in tooth decay and gum disease, as well as contributing to speech and chewing difficulties, and excessive wear to certain teeth. Braces can prevent these types of problems before they become severe.
What are Metal braces?
Traditional braces consist of standard metal brackets that are placed on your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wire. They require periodic tightening so steady pressure can gradually straighten your teeth and align your jaw. Metal braces consist of brackets, an arch wire, and elastic bands. Brackets are small, metal devices that are bonded to the front surface of each tooth. Brackets today are smaller and smoother than the brackets of just a few years ago. The arch wire is a single wire that is attached to each of the brackets and provides the force to move the teeth. While metal braces brackets are still the most common, there are various other treatment options available.
components of metal brace
In order to shift your teeth into proper alignment with regular braces, several things must work in unison. With traditional braces, dentists use several components and tools to straighten your teeth:
- A bracketis an individual ceramic or metal “brace” that affixes to each of your teeth with dental bonding glue.
- The archwireis a thin metal wire that threads through the brackets in order to apply gentle pressure and move your teeth into their ideal alignment.
- Elastic tiesare also known as elastic rings, ligature elastics or donuts, and are used to hold the archwire to the brackets. The ties come in multiple colors, and you can switch up your colors each time you visit the orthodontist.
- Rubber bandsare used in cases that require slightly more pressure to straighten and direct your teeth into proper alignment. The bands hook from brackets on the upper teeth to brackets on the lower teeth.
- Additional tools, such as tubes, hooks, loops, springs, steel ties, and bite correctors, are sometimes used in special cases. If these are necessary for your orthodontic treatment, our office will ensure you understand exactly what’s happening every step of the process.
Through a process called bone remodeling, braces apply constant, gentle pressure against your teeth to encourage your bones to begin adapting and ultimately holding your teeth in their new alignment for the rest of your life.
Bone remodeling works through the use of brackets and archwire, which align each tooth into its proper position. As your teeth ease into their new positions, we use thicker archwires and tighten your brackets in order to apply additional pressure and consistently move your teeth into the correct alignment.
Once dentists determine that your teeth have moved into the correct spot, they give you retainers to hold the teeth in place while the bone tissue around your teeth and jaws fully adapts to the new tooth positions. With proper retainer wear, your new and improved smile will last you a lifetime!
It typically takes 3-5 days for the bone remodeling process to start once your traditional braces are in place. There may be some soreness the first few days or even weeks as your teeth and jaw adjust to the new pressure inside your mouth. After the process gets started, it will take about three months to begin remodeling the bone. How long you need to wear braces depends on your individual case, but most people wear braces from one to three years to fully stabilize the new bone and build your new smile.. After that, you’ll wear a retainer to make sure your teeth are held in the positions to which they’ve moved.
Other types of dental braces
Ceramic braces are made of a translucent (clear) material. Due to their cosmetic appeal, they are more popular among teenagers and adults. They will correct and move the teeth in the same amount of time and in the same way as traditional metal braces, but are not as noticeable. The brackets themselves will not stain, but the ligature ties that go around the bracket can stain occasionally.
Invisalign® aligners are suitable for patients with mild orthodontic problems. Invisalign® is most popular among teenagers and adults because they are a great way to get straight teeth and a beautiful smile without braces. At your initial consultation, your dentist will determine if Invisalign® is right for you. Invisalign® uses a series of clear, invisible trays to gradually and effectively move teeth into the correct position. You will wear each set of aligners for 2 weeks at a time, and will be seen in our office every 8 weeks.
Metal Braces or Ceramic Braces: Which Ones to Choose?
When a patient approaches an orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, he is often confused about which braces to choose. The decision about whether to opt for metal braces or ceramic braces can often be difficult for a patient. The following 5 points will help you make an informed decision about which braces to choose.
Ceramic braces are clear or tooth-coloured braces thus making them barely noticeable. Ceramic braces can be combined with tooth-coloured wires thus giving the patient highly aesthetic results. Metal braces, on the other hand, are clearly visible and are often not a choice for the aesthetically conscious patient.
Metal braces are higher in strength as compared to Ceramic braces when compared over a longer period of time.
Ceramic braces often tend to chip off when used for a long period of time. If the treatment duration for your case is longer then your orthodontist would most likely suggest you go for metal braces.
Level of difficulty
Metal braces can withstand higher levels of forces as compared to ceramic braces. Thus, if your case needs more correction of malocclusion then your orthodontist will advise you metal braces.
Tips for pain relief
Most people will experience mild-to-moderate discomfort or pain when they first get braces. They may also feel some discomfort following brace tightening, which happens regularly while a person has braces. Discomfort or pain should go away within a few days, but in the meantime, a person can try some of these treatments for pain relief:
- taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- using a warm saltwater rinse comprising 1 teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of warm water
- eating soft foods, such as soup, ice cream, or yogurt, as these do not require much chewing
- drinking cold beverages or eating cold foods
- applying a cloth covered ice pack to the face
- applying topical anesthetics to the gums with a finger or cotton swab
- asking an orthodontist for a soft wax to help prevent braces from cutting the inner cheeks or buying some at a local pharmacy or online
- avoiding sticky foods, gum, and foods that can catch in or dislodge the braces
- cleaning the teeth and in between the braces properly to help prevent tooth decay
When to see the orthodontist
In most cases, a person will see their orthodontist regularly for tightening while they wear their braces. If a person’s braces become dislodged, a wire comes loose, or the bands pop off, a person should call their orthodontist to schedule an appointment. While waiting for the appointment, the person can place wax on the wire or bracket so that it does not cut their cheek or tongue.
A person should also contact their orthodontist if they have severe pain that does not go away within a few days or after taking pain relievers. An orthodontist can examine the braces to make sure that everything fits properly and that another underlying condition is not causing pain.
ARE THERE FOODS YOU CANNOT EAT WITH BRACES?
To protect your braces, it’s important to know which foods you can eat and which foods to stay away from when wearing braces. The first few days after getting braces, dentists strongly recommend only eating soft foods. All it takes is one damaging bite to hurt your teeth and extend the length of orthodontic treatment.
Hard food specifically can be damaging to your braces. Avoid biting into these foods with your front teeth, but rather cut them up into small pieces before eating:
- Raw vegetables
- French/Italian bread and pizza crust
- Meat on the bone
- Corn on the cob
For the duration of your orthodontic treatment, avoid eating these foods all together:
- Crunchy foods like partially popped popcorn kernels, ice, pretzels, hard cookies, and chips.
- Sticky foods like caramels, gummies, sugary gum, and hard candy.
- Chewy foods like bagels and licorice.
- Hard foods like pizza crust, whole carrots, candy, nuts and taco shells.
FOODS YOU CAN EAT WITH BRACES
Ready for the goods news? Here’s a list of great food options you can easily enjoy while wearing braces:
- Soft Fruits, like blueberries, grapefruits, nectarines, kiwi, bananas, grapes, and tangerines
Steamed Vegetables (steamed for softness)
- Dairy Products, like yogurt and cheese
- Soft Grains and Noodles, like mac and cheese, cooked ravioli, quinoa, and rice
- Soft Meats, like tender chicken, turkey, meat loaf, lunch meat, and seafood
- Eggs, which are a good alternative to tough meats
- Desserts, like pudding, applesauce, smoothies, and ice cream
- Soft Breads, like tortillas, biscuits, muffins, pancakes
- Snacks, like soft crackers or cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and hulless popcorn
Although everyone is different, braces typically stay on for about 1 to 3 years. When it is time to take the braces off, a person may experience some discomfort as an orthodontist removes them.
An orthodontist will remove the brackets, bands, and wires before cleaning the teeth to remove any glue. To complete the process, an orthodontist will fit the person for a retainer. A retainer is a device that helps keep teeth in their new position after braces.
People may need to wear a removable retainer for a set period after the removal of the brace, either during the day or just at night. The retainer should not cause any additional discomfort. Some retainers are permanent and will require an orthodontist to glue them to the teeth in a similar way to braces.
It is not uncommon for people to have trouble cleaning their teeth properly while wearing braces or a retainer. This difficulty can lead to cavities and tooth decay, which can be painful. Keeping the mouth as clean as possible with good oral hygiene and avoiding sticky, sugary foods can help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
HOW MUCH DO BRACES COST?
Before visiting an orthodontist for the first time, you may be wondering, “How much do braces cost?” Because there is no standard process for orthodontic treatment, it’s difficult to put a number on metal braces cost. It is nearly impossible to give you an estimated cost for braces before a consultation, because each case is different and requires its own unique plan depending on the length of treatment, goals of treatment, and the intricacies involved.