If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten teeth, including braces and retainers.
Many common dentists are doing basic alignment and orthodontics, but orthodontists specialize in correcting irregularities of the teeth.
The dentist or orthodontist you choose will ask questions about your health, conduct a clinical exam, take a digital scan of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of the mouth and head.
If braces are indeed the solution for you, the dentist or orthodontist will prescribe an appliance specific to your requirements. The braces may consist of bands, wires, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances. No one method works for everyone.
Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the arch wires that move the teeth. There are several types of brackets, including stainless steel and tooth-colored ceramic or plastic, which are often selected because they’re less obvious. Occasionally, brackets are cemented to the back of teeth, in order to hide them from view.
The time required for braces varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they generally remain in place for one to three years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first six months, then only during sleep for many years.
Will Braces Be Painful?
Some of the adjustments your orthodontist may make to your braces may make your mouth feel sore or uncomfortable. If you always experience a lot of pain after your braces are adjusted, talk to your orthodontist about it; he or she may be able to make the adjustments a bit differently.