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Braces 101: What You Need to Know About Getting Braces

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September 19, 2022

A beautiful smile goes a long way to improving your confidence and self-esteem. If you have crooked, gapped, or misaligned teeth, it's not the end of the world, and you are not alone. According to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists website, four million people are in the care of orthodontists in the United States and Canada.

The good news is you can improve your smile, and braces are one of the most effective methods. Braces not only correct teeth alignment problems but also change how your facial muscles work and help you get that attractive smile that you can only dream of.

What are braces?

Braces are metal wires attached to your teeth and held in place by a dental adhesive to treat teeth that are not in the proper position. Braces come in different styles and colours to suit patients' personal preferences.

Types of braces

What type of braces you will need depends on different factors like your age, dental history, and bite. Your orthodontist in Winnipeg can recommend the best type of braces for you. Here are some types of braces:

  1. Traditional or metal braces. These are the most popular and affordable and come in various fun colours to suit individual styles and preferences. You have to visit your orthodontist for adjustments every 4-8 weeks.
  2. Ceramic braces. These are made of clear, tooth-coloured material, so they blend with your teeth's original colour. They are more discreet and less noticeable. These are larger than the traditional braces.
  3. Lingual braces. These braces are made of metal like the traditional braces. However, they are attached behind the teeth, so they are not noticeable from the outside. The downside to lingual braces is the treatment time may take longer. They may also be more uncomfortable for the patient because the braces get in direct contact with the tongue and are more difficult to clean. 
  4. Invisalign. These braces don't have wires and brackets but clear, plastic aligners worn over the teeth. They are easy to wear and remove throughout the treatment period. Although they are more expensive, many patients prefer Invisalign braces because they allow them greater freedom to eat and drink.

How do braces work?

Your orthodontist will make a cast or impression of your teeth and soft tissue in making your braces. The orthodontist will then glue the brackets to each tooth with a dental adhesive and thread the wire through the slots in the brackets.

The braces exert gentle, constant pressure on your teeth and jaws. Over time, your teeth will move to change to the desired position. The periodontal ligaments or the soft tissue surrounding the teeth and bone, hold your teeth in place. As your teeth move, these ligaments can compress or stretch. For example, your braces move a tooth to the left. The ligament on the left will compress, and a new bone will form on the right to fill the gap.

When do you need braces?

You need braces when your teeth are not in the correct places. Braces are used to correct the following issues:

Correct overcrowding. Overcrowding happens when your teeth are too large or crowded tightly together. The braces help move individual teeth backward or forward to make room so your teeth can sit side by side. If you suffer from overcrowding, you could have difficulty chewing and speaking.

Correct bite issues (overbite or underbite). An overbite happens when your upper jaw overlaps over your lower jaw. An underbite is where the lower jaw protrudes more than the upper jaw. Braces can help treat these bite problems by moving your upper teeth up and the lower front teeth down. Sometimes a combination of both movements would be necessary.

Align and level teeth. Braces can help pull teeth out toward your lips or push teeth toward your palate using an arch-wire to align or make them level.

Pros and cons of getting braces

While braces offer many benefits, they also come with potential downsides. Among the pros and cons to consider in getting braces are the following:

Pros

  • Straighten your teeth and improve your smile.
  • Improve chewing and speech. 
  • Boost your self-esteem and enhance your confidence.
  • Improve your overall dental health.

Cons

  • Braces are noticeable.
  • They can be difficult to clean.
  • You may have to wear them for a long time to get the desired result.
  • Braces are an investment.

How do you care for your braces?

To avoid damaging your braces, you have to follow a proper oral hygiene routine, including but not limited to the following:

  • Brush your teeth using a toothbrush with softer bristles after eating to make sure food particles don't get stuck in your braces. 
  • Floss after every meal. However, floss at least once a day if that is not possible. 
  • Avoid certain foods like nuts, sticky food and candies, chewing gum, bagels, peanut butter, tough meat, toffee, and other foods that could loosen and distort the wires of your braces. 
  • Avoid chewing ice cubes or items like pencils or your nails.

How long do braces take to work?

While braces can help address teeth problems and give you a beautiful smile, they don't work miracles overnight. Orthodontic treatment needs time, depending on the severity of your dental problem and the treatment used. As each individual is unique, some people may use braces for months while others may take up to two years.

You may feel discomfort and soreness for a few days while your teeth adjust to the pressure of the braces. Be prepared for a few months of adjustments as you get used to them, but you don't have to wear braces forever.

Bottom Line

Braces help a lot in improving your smile and oral health. Wearing them doesn't have to be a terrible experience. If you are considering braces in Winnipeg, consult with your dentist about which one is the right option for you.

If you are not happy with how your teeth look, Contact us today and learn how to get that smile makeover you've always wanted.

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