What are Braces? How do they work? As can be seen by the photos left, each and sometimes every tooth is fitted with a bracket and the brackets are all wired together. The brackets are glued on using special glue, come in a variety of colors, including clear and, the wire tensions are adjusted at 4 to 8 week intervals, over a period of 18 months to 2 years.
To be more precise about the braces, some of the brackets are fitted with small springs, so as to maintain pressure on the teeth in the direction the orthodontist is trying to move the teeth or tooth in. The main anchor brackets for the braces, referred to as molar tubes, are glued to the closest molars.
Why were you given rubber bands as well or head gear with your braces? They provide extra pulling force to assist the braces in pulling the teeth into alignment.
When your braces are finally removed, you will then be fitted with removable retainers, which sit behind the teeth to keep them in their new position. You must wear them for the required amount of time each day, for as many weeks or months as required.
The all up cost of braces is often around $2,000 to $3,000.
The down side of braces - the side effects.
While you are wearing braces you are at greater risk of developing tooth and gum disease and need to attend more closely to cleaning your teeth thoroughly and maintaining 6 monthly contact with a dentist to clean your teeth professionally.
A tooth or teeth may change position after the braces have been removed. Sometimes brought on by mouth breathing, blowing into a musical instrument, another tooth growing through, like a wisdom tooth and even just growing more may cause a tooth or teeth to move.
A tooth may lose it's vitality if a the tooth's nerve is damaged when braces are pulling the tooth into a new position, resulting in the discoloration of the tooth and the requirement of root canal work on the tooth.
The outcome you want from the braces may take longer than estimated to achieve, with an increase in the cost thereby coming about.
The braces may cause irritation to the mouth's soft tissue, such as inside of cheeks.
Any headgear that is used in conjunction with the braces, see middle photos on left, may cause injury to eyes or face if handled improperly or used during contact activities / competitive sports.
If you are engaged in any activity where the teeth may suffer trauma, then request the orthodontist provide a special mouth guard when the braces are fitted.
Top 2 pictures of braces courtesy of Xenia, Middle and bottom pictures courtesy of Mary R. Vogt
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