Metal or traditional braces work with NASA type heat activated wires. When they are cold they are soft, making inserting them quite easy for your orthodontist. Once you start wearing them though, your body heat will activate them, and let them and your teeth move as they should. This means that you teeth actually move like beads on a string all day and night – which is exactly what we want to happen!
At the end of the day traditional braces do the same job as for instance ceramic or other non-accelerated braces, with the benefit that they are the most affordable.
Braces have four basic parts: brackets, dental glue or a metal band, an arch wire (which runs from bracket to bracket and puts pressure on the teeth), and elastic that attaches the bracket to the arch wire. The arch wire puts pressure on the brackets and teeth, and this is how your teeth are moved into the desired direction and place in your mouth.
When you have your braces put in, our orthodontist will do the first adjustment to the elastic. And the elastics are the things that our doctor will adjust with each visit to us afterward, along with a thorough check-up of all other related things to ensure fast and proper progress!
Braces serve more than one purpose. When we think of braces, we tend to just think ‘straight teeth’ – but you would also reap huge benefits when you wear braces if you for example struggle to eat due to incorrect bites or misaligned teeth. Getting braces at any age can fix functional problems like eating, and will also prevent further damage to your mouth and jaw as you grow older.
When you come to our practice, your orthodontist will gladly take the time to explain all the benefits that braces for adults have to you, and will even be able to show you what you will look like once your orthodontic problems have been resolved!
When you decide to go the braces route to straighten your teeth, you will have to make the very important decision of choosing which type of braces you are going to go for. After all – you will be wearing them for quite some time.
You might however have to base your decision mainly on your budget; depending on your specific situation. In the event of your budget playing the biggest role in your decision, metal braces will be your least expensive option. You don’t need to worry about the quality of straightening that metal braces will deliver, though. Traditional metal braces actually correct major bite problems and severely crooked teeth better than clear braces, even though they are the most affordable of all braces.
When you first come visit our practice with the desire to improve your smile by having your teeth straightened, your doctor will take his or her time to carefully assess what your metal braces should be able to do and what they should look like. Your doctor will also provide you with all possible information you need to put your mind at ease about your braces and the process.
Once we have got your braces, it will take about an hour and a half to fit them, while we keep you updated as to what we are doing and why. We want to make sure that you feel comfortable with what is happening. There are no needles or shots involved when we fit your braces, and there will be no pain. You might feel a little pressure in your mouth while we are placing them, but the highest requirement from you will be… patience! (You will also have to exercise some patience with the time period that you will have to wear the braces, because it will depend entirely on your personal needs and how good you are at following instructions and keeping your appointments! The braces wearing time could vary between 6-30 months.)
Once we have fitted your metal braces, you will come and see your doctor every 2-10 weeks for adjustments to the braces, depending on the severity of your straightening requirements. Adjustment visits only take a few minutes.
There are a number of ways to care for your braces and to maintain good oral hygiene while you are wearing them. Following a good oral hygiene regime is very important, so here are some suggestions as to which tools would be helpful to you for this purpose.
Floss threaders: Floss threaders make it easier to clean around braces, bridges and implants. There are different brands to choose from, but for the most part they all work the same way. You will take about 16 inches of floss and then pull about 5 inches through the loop of the threader. You will then push the threader through a space between your teeth or under the bracket, remove the floss from the threader – and floss!
Waxed floss: It is better to use waxed floss if your teeth are close to one another or if you are wearing braces. The reason for this is that it won’t shred and will run smoothly through the teeth or under the braces.
Dental picks: A dental pick is a small tool with a thin, pointed metal tip. They are easier to use than floss because you don’t have to wrap floss around your fingers to clean in between your teeth or under braces, and are also easier to use when trying to reach your molars in the back of your mouth. The tip of the pick is as thin as floss, so that it can remove plaque and food particles from your teeth. To use it, you start by putting the tip at the base of your teeth, and then move it between two teeth to remove plaque from between teeth.
Water picks: There are different kinds of water floss or water pick devices e.g. countertop ones, cordless ones and specialty ones for travelers and kids. They are designed to clean deeply and are recommended specifically for cleaning around braces and other dental work. Water picks also can also reach below the gum line and deep in between teeth to get rid of bacteria, and they have the further benefit that they also massage gums. They are also called oral irrigators or dental water jets.
Proxabrush: You can buy Proxabrush kits that contain a comfortable handle and 3 brush head refills, all designed to remove plaque from generally hard to reach areas in the mouth, between teeth or around bridges, crowns and dental implants. The brush has an angled handle tip for optimal between teeth cleaning, and Proxabrush® claims that it removes up to 25% more dental plaque than traditional round bristles.
Toothbrush & toothpaste: Interdental toothbrushes are good when you have a fixed brace, and you can ask your doctor about them. These brushes can get in between your teeth and can also clean around the brackets of a fixed brace. Total care toothpastes have active ingredients like fluoride and tartar control ingredients that make them effective in helping to control plaque, dental decay and gum disease. A fluoride mouth rinse is also helpful.
Do braces hurt?
They might make your mouth hurt a little after you have just had them placed, and each time after you have had them tightened. Remember though that you are trying to move your teeth, so this is normal. A general painkiller or Ibuprofen will help!
How long will I have to wear them?
This really depends on the amount of work that needs to be done in your specific case, whether your follow your doctor’s advice or not, and if you keep your appointments. It generally varies between 6-30 months.
Will I be able to eat anything I want while I am wearing my braces?
Yes and no. Biting with braces takes some time getting used to. You should also not eat sticky, hard or chewy foods or foods like popcorn and nuts that will leave pieces of food in your mouth that will stick to your braces or in between your teeth. However – these are good practices when you aren’t wearing braces too! (Oh – and you will have to stop chewing your pens and pencils.)
Will I talk funny?
Having a new and foreign object in your mouth might make you sound a little different at first, but you will quickly adapt and be able to talk like before.
Can I still play sports?
Absolutely! We just recommended that you wear a mouth-guard for most sports. However – when it comes to high contact sports where frequent hits to the head are part of the sport (e.g. boxing and contact karate), we would advise you to rather avoid those.
Will I still be able to play the flute/trumpet etc?
If you have a fixed brace, it will affect your playing at first, but you will get used to it and master it – just like with eating.
How often should I brush my teeth when I am wearing braces?
You should brush them at least 3 times a day and after every time you have eaten something. Food easily gets stuck to braces and besides – your teeth will be healthier and happier the cleaner you keep them!
Can I wear braces if I have crowns or missing teeth?
Yes! A tooth with a crown will still move. If you are missing teeth, we can still align the remaining teeth.
Am I too young (or too old) for metal braces?
If you are 13 years old or older, you can have braces. It is as simple as that!
Are metal braces expensive?
They are the most affordable teeth straightening devices on the market.