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Braces are dental appliances used by orthodontists to improve the function and aesthetic nature of a person’s smile. Although they can vary in type and duration, braces use the same physiological process to gradually move teeth and bone over time into the desired position using gentle pressure.

At Castle Dental, we believe everyone–kids and adults alike–deserve a straight, beautiful, and healthy smile they can be proud of. That’s why, in addition to comprehensive dental care services, we also offer orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages at many of our convenient locations.

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Am I a good candidate for braces?

Only an orthodontist or dentist trained in orthodontics can determine if you are a good candidate for braces. Braces can resolve a variety of alignment issues, from minor to moderate and severe, in patients of various ages.

Here are some general guidelines for whether or not you may be a good candidate for braces:

  • Kids. Young adults between the ages of 10 and 14 make up the majority of orthodontic patients. This age bracket is ideal because all of the adult teeth have erupted, but the mouth is still growing and changing, making the correction process easier. 
  • Adults. Many adults can benefit from wearing braces, whether it’s for the first or second time. If you simply desire straighter teeth that are easier to clean, braces can help improve the health of your smile as well as your confidence and self-esteem. Adults may also need braces even if they had them as a teenager. Over time or without proper maintenance and care, teeth can begin to shift again. Another brief adjustment could be helpful in restoring a straight smile. 
  • Bite Concerns. If you suffer from a crossbite, underbite, overbite or other serious bite issues, you will likely need braces to correct them.  
  • Overcrowding. When the jaw is narrow or small, there may not be enough room for the teeth to come in straight. To treat this, you may need to have one or more teeth pulled before braces can be used to correct the spacing in your mouth. 

Are there different types of braces?

There are several different types of braces but the most common are traditional metal braces, clear braces, and lingual. Although they look slightly different, they all work the same way.

All braces consist of brackets adhered to each tooth with a metal wire threaded through each bracket. The braces are tightened and adjusted using this wire, called an archwire. Brackets can be made of clear ceramic or silver metal. Clear and metal braces are attached to the front of the teeth, while lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth.

What happens when I get braces?

Before you have any braces placed, you’ll have an initial consultation with an orthodontist, who can be referred by your general dentist. During this first appointment, the orthodontist will take x-rays of your mouth and examine your teeth to determine the best treatment option for your particular needs. Then you’ll be scheduled for an appointment to have the braces put on.

Here’s what will happen during the braces placement appointment: 

  1. A dental hygienist will prep the teeth with a thorough cleaning treatment. It’s important the braces are applied to clean teeth to avoid any discoloration or plaque build-up underneath the brackets. 
  2. A special bonding glue is applied to a bracket (either metal or ceramic) and attached to the surface of the teeth. 
  3. Once the brackets are secured, a stainless steel wire called an archwire is threaded through the brackets to connect them. 
  4. If additional pressure is required, rubber bands may be utilized by hooking them onto brackets. 

Once you have your braces, they will need to be adjusted every 6-8 weeks by your orthodontist. 

At the end of your treatment, you’ll be fitted for a retainer. Some retainers are permanently installed on the back of the teeth while others are removable. 

Most patients will wear braces anywhere from 1-2 years depending on their particular orthodontic needs. However, braces are unique to every individual, so some people with severe malocclusions may need to wear them longer and may also require additional therapies or treatment, such as oral surgery, extractions, spacers, expanders, positioners or retainers.

Do braces hurt?

Braces aren’t necessarily painful, but they will likely cause some discomfort when they are initially placed and immediately after any adjustments. This could include soreness or tenderness in your gums and teeth that can be treated with remedies like:

  • Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications 
  • An oral anesthetic such as Orajel
  • Ice packs applied to the outside of the mouth
  • Sipping cold beverages such as ice water
  • Massaging your gums
  • Rinsing with warm saltwater

Braces can also cause sores or irritation on your tongue, gums or cheeks, especially as you get used to them in the beginning. You can use dental wax to cover sharp areas of your braces and wear a mouthguard during contact sports to help prevent injury.

How do I take care of my braces?

You’ll take care of your braces much like you take care of your teeth normally. However, braces do make teeth more susceptible to decay because bacteria and plaque can build up around the brackets, so you’ll need to spend a little extra time cleaning around them and removing any food particles or debris. 

You can prevent discoloration, cavities, and other problems (like gum disease) by making sure you:

  • Brush. Start by brushing above the teeth, along the gum line. Next, shift the angle of the brush so that you are brushing the top of the brackets; shift it again, so that you brush the bottom side of the bracket. Be sure to focus on the surface of each of the teeth. Lastly, clean the inner and chewing surfaces thoroughly. 
  • Floss. Start by threading the floss through the top portion of the archwire. Gently work the floss to the top of the teeth, then gently work it upward into the gumline. This task is tedious but important. You can use a plastic floss threader to help make it a little easier.
  • Rinse. Mouthwash is able to reach places you may have missed with brushing and flossing and can help loosen food particles that might have gotten stuck in your wires or brackets.

You can also take care of your braces by being cautious of what you eat.

To protect your braces from damage or breakage, do your best to avoid foods such as:

  • Crunchy foods like ice, popcorn, chips, crunchy vegetables, hard candies, nuts, etc.
  • Sticky or fibrous foods like chewy candies, gum, corn on the cob, and beef jerky 

If your braces do break or become damaged, be sure to call your orthodontist immediately. While a broken bracket or wire isn’t an emergency, it can cause sores or irritation in your mouth and it can affect your treatment if it’s not fixed as soon as possible. 

How much do braces cost?

The cost of braces varies greatly depending on many variables including:

  • How long you’ll wear them
  • If you choose metal or ceramic brackets
  • If you need additional orthodontic treatment before or after braces, such as an expander or a retainer

Some dental insurances will cover at least part of the cost of orthodontic care for pediatric patients, but not all, and adult braces may not be covered at all. However, it’s always worth checking with your insurance provider and the office at Castle Dental to find out what coverage you may have.  

Smile with Confidence with Braces from Castle Dental

Braces are a great way to boost confidence and may be necessary to improve the overall health of your teeth and mouth. If the financial burden of braces is keeping you or your child from orthodontic treatment like braces, call Castle Dental to discuss your payment options. We offer low-interest financing options as well as flexible payment plans and will do our best to accommodate all your dental needs and financial concerns. 

Castle Dental is committed to helping you smile with confidence, offering a variety of services such as cleanings, fillings, braces, and implants. Schedule your appointment today at the Castle Dental nearest you and take care of your oral health for tomorrow!