Braces are a common tool used in orthodontic treatment. They're commonly associated with teenagers, but people of all ages can benefit from braces if they have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. When you decide you want braces, you will need to see a specialist called an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who have completed extra schooling to correctly assess and treat issues of dental malalignment and malocclusion. Here's what you can expect when you make an appointment to get braces.
1. Your teeth will be assessed.
Before your treatment can begin, your orthodontist will take the time to thoroughly assess your teeth. They will examine your teeth using a dental mirror. They will also take X-rays of your teeth and jaw. Your orthodontist may take photos of your teeth to keep track of your progress over time. Based on their findings, your orthodontist will present you with a proposed treatment plan. At this time, they can give you an estimate of how long your treatment will take, as well as how much you can expect to spend.
2. Brackets will be glued to your teeth.
You will return to your orthodontist's office when you're ready to have your braces applied. Your orthodontist will glue metal brackets to the front of each of your teeth using an orthodontic adhesive. This adhesive is made from resin, and it needs to be cured with a light. The adhesive is very strong, and it should stay on for the duration of your treatment.
3. Wires will be attached to your brackets.
Once your brackets are in place, your orthodontist will apply a curved piece of wire to the top and bottom rows of your teeth. This wire fits into your braces brackets, and it will be secured using small rubber bands. You have the option of selecting the color of rubber bands used on your teeth, if you desire. You may feel some tightness after the rubber bands are attached.
4. Additional hardware may be provided.
Your braces treatment will start with simple wires attached to brackets. As your treatment progresses, your orthodontist may give you additional pieces of hardware. Detachable rubber bands may be used to secure your upper teeth to your lower teeth using hooks built into your braces brackets. These rubber bands can move your jaw to fix crossbite, overbite, or underbite issues. Patients with a narrow palate may be fitted with a palate expander, and head gear may be used to treat extreme cases of poor tooth alignment.