TYPES OF BRACES
Conventional braces work well for all ages and orthodontic needs. The affordable treatment is effective for even the most complex of tooth misalignment conditions.
Hidden braces are like traditional orthodontics that are bonded to the back of your teeth. They work well for a variety of conditions, yet are invisible to everyone around you.
Instead of using rubber bands to hold an orthodontic archwire to your brackets, self-ligating braces use a trap-door system where the wire can “glide” in place. This reduces tension and improves your comfort
Tooth-Colored or Ceramic Braces
Perhaps you need moderate to severe tooth movement but don’t want to go with conventional braces. Ceramic and tooth colored braces use small brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth. In some cases, low-profile or white archwires are also available.
Clear Removable Aligners
Brands like Invisalign and ClearCorrect have revolutionized the way adults and teens can experience orthodontic treatment. These removable aligners are convenient to wear and easy to care for. They offer the most flexibility when it comes to enjoying your favorite foods.
Some people simply want to improve their appearance by straightening the teeth that are visible. That is, the ones at the front of your mouth. Minor tooth movement and “fast” braces is cosmetic in nature, but does not affect your comprehensive bite needs as a whole.
Phase I / Interceptive Braces
These early braces are used on younger children, to correct and modify the positions of the teeth and jaws. Taking this step at an early age helps us to reduce the complexity of treatment when your child is older. It can also allow us to avoid the need for surgical corrections years down the road.
Phase II Orthodontics
After a child has undergone Phase I braces, we will wait a few years for their mouth to finish developing. Once all the permanent teeth are in, we use a secondary phase of treatment to fine tune your child’s bite. During this waiting period, we will have appointments scheduled to check and monitor the child’s growth and make sure that we know when the optimal time is to start the Phase II treatment.
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Your very first step to wearing braces is scheduling a consultation. During this visit, your orthodontist will order a series of X-rays and then assess how your teeth and jaws align against one another.
As you discuss your treatment goals, your orthodontist will review his or her recommendations as far as the type of braces that you’re a candidate for, as well as approximately how long the treatment will take. You’ll also be presented with a few different payment options to find the one that fits your budget.
Today is the day! Your orthodontist will fit you with clear aligners or bond your brackets and wires into place (depending on the treatment you choose.) Be sure to follow your recommended home care instructions so that you get the best results possible.
About every six weeks, you’ll need to stop by your orthodontist’s office to have your braces adjusted or your aligners changed out. These intermittent visits give your provider a chance to see if things are progressing properly, and make adjustments when necessary.
Once your teeth have aligned properly, your dentist will remove your brackets and fit you with a retainer. Wear your retainer as directed, to prevent relapse (teeth moving back into their previous position).
LIVING WITH BRACES
To prevent any complications such as broken appliances, delayed treatment, or “white circles” left on the teeth after treatment you need to follow a strict home care routine. Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think! The better you take care of your braces, the better the outcome will be.
- Brushing and Flossing
Patients with aligners can remove them to brush and floss as normal, but if you wear conventional braces it can take a bit more practice. Use a soft or electric toothbrush to clean above and below each bracket. Follow up with an interdental brush to clean between the brackets. Finally, choose a floss threader to weave floss under your wires to clean between each of your teeth. Or, you can opt to use a water flosser for easier access.
- Food Choices
Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods as they can cause your brackets to come off. If you wear aligners, remove them during each meal. Eating the wrong foods is one of the biggest causes of broken orthodontic appliances. The most common foods to avoid are bagels, licorice, popcorn, chips, ice, caramel candies, gum, nuts, hard candies, corn on the cob, apples, and carrots.
- Fluoride Supplementation
Add fluoride into your daily hygiene routine. The mineral will help to strengthen areas that may be weakening due to missing them with a toothbrush and floss. Your dentist may prescribe a professional grade gel to use before you go to bed each night.
- Getting Used to Your Appliances
It’s normal to take some time to adjust to having fixed appliances or aligners in your mouth. If there is an area where a bracket is rubbing the inside of your cheek, apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to smooth it over.
- If Something Breaks
Let your orthodontist know. A broken bracket can be removed, but a long orthodontic wire may need to be snipped off with a pair of nail clippers and then have the end covered with a small ball of orthodontic wax.
1. What can I eat with braces?
You can eat anything as long as it isn’t too hard, crunchy, or sticky. Otherwise it could cause the bonding material to pop off of your tooth. Acidic fruits should also be avoided, as it can break down the orthodontic cement. If you’re wearing Invisalign braces all you have to do is remove your aligners and enjoy your meal.
2. Am I a candidate for Invisalign®?
Invisalign braces are great for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth without brackets and wires. Our orthodontist will need to fully evaluate your individual situation first, to determine whether these clear braces are the best option for your specific care.
3. Does my child need braces?
We recommend an orthodontic evaluation on every child by age 7. Orthodontics can play a huge role in young children’s appearance and health. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that an orthodontist examine a child’s teeth by the time they are 7 years old, even while baby teeth are still in the mouth.
4. How much do braces cost?
The cost of your braces depends on several factors. Some of which include: the type of braces you’re getting, how long your treatment will take, if other orthodontic appliances are necessary, and if you have dental insurance. During your consultation, we will provide you with a defined care plan that outlines the total estimated expenses for your consideration before ever starting treatment.
5. Am I too old to have braces?
These days it is nearly unheard of for someone to be too old to have braces. Many of our patients are retirees, grandparents, and seniors!
6. How long will my treatment take?
This can vary from person to person. For individuals who are undergoing cosmetic treatments, it may only last about six months. More severe orthodontic cases can take upwards of two years to correct. During your initial evaluation, we will provide you with an estimated timetable of your length of treatment, before you even decide to move forward with getting braces. The best way to shorten the length of your treatment is to make sure that you’re following your home care instructions properly.
7. How often will I need to see the orthodontist?
Most orthodontic patients will need to see us every six to eight weeks for a quick evaluation and adjustment, if necessary. The appointments are relatively short, which makes them easy to fit into already busy school or work schedules.
8. Will my dental insurance pay for braces?
It is not uncommon for your dental insurance to pay for a portion of your orthodontic treatment. Our financial coordinators will call to get a breakdown of your plan benefits, so that you know approximately how much will be left over.
9. Do you offer payment plans?
Yes. We offer affordable payment plans that easily fit into your monthly budget. Financing can also be combined with your dental insurance benefits.
10. What should I do if my braces break?
First, make sure no wires are poking into your gums or cheek. If needed, use a piece of orthodontic wax to cover the area, or snip the wire with a set of nail clippers. Call our office right away and we’ll plan to get you in as quickly as possible.