FAQs for Braces

Dental braces can correct crooked and crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and jaw problems. Braces also eliminate problems you may have with eating, speaking properly, or with keeping your teeth clean. Traditional braces have come a long way over the years, becoming sleeker, smaller, and more comfortable. And that’s certainly something to smile about! Here are some common questions…

Not all braces are metal. There are several options that are more invisible or at least transparent, and still do the job of straightening your teeth and aligning your bite. In general, clear braces and traditional metal braces function in the same way.

The difference is in the material the brackets are made with:

Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces are made of composite materials. They come in varying levels of transparency so you can have ceramic braces that mimic the color of your natural teeth. The patient to the right is searing ceramic braces.

Lingual braces: Lingual braces are metal braces, so they’re not invisible, but they’re attached to the back of the teeth versus the front. So when you smile, no one can see them. The following illustration shows how lingual braces work.

Invisible braces, more commonly referred to as Invisalign clear aligners, are a set of clear, removable trays that are custom fitted to your teeth. You wear them for 20-22 hours a day and change your set as your teeth shift. Your orthodontist will evaluate your specific case and many types of bite discrepancies can be treated with Invisalign. Find out more about Invisalign clear braces.

You and your orthodontist can discuss whether traditional braces or clear braces work best for you. Clear braces are more aesthetically pleasing than metal braces. Clear braces material is a bit more fragile than metal. Because of this, your orthodontist may make more gradual adjustments, so you may need to wear them longer. Clear braces require meticulous oral hygiene to remove any stains that may accumulate from coffee, tea, dark wines, or smoking. They can also cost a bit more than traditional metal braces.

Braces aren’t just for teenagers. Teeth can be straightened at any age. And now more than ever, wearing braces is much more efficient, convenient and comfortable. With the help of a Dental Associates orthodontists who works closely with your general dentist, you can get your smile straightened out. Learn more about Braces For Adults.

It’s possible to add your own style to your traditional metal braces with colored bands. Show team spirit or celebrate a holiday with colored bands of your choosing! Learn more about Braces with Colored Bands.

How long you need to wear braces depends on your individual case, but most people wear braces from one to three years. After that, you’ll wear a retainer to make sure your teeth are held in the positions to which they’ve moved

Throughout the course of wearing braces, you’ll need to take care of them. That means eating well and avoiding foods that are hard, crunchy and sugary. Eating too many sugary foods with braces can lead to plaque build-up around your brackets, and that could permanently stain or damage your teeth. Learn more about Foods to Avoid With Braces and How to Brush Teeth With Braces.

Most times, when a wire or a bracket on your braces gets loose or breaks off, it’s not an emergency. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, particularly if a piece is rubbing up against or poking into your lips, gums, or cheeks. But, this is rarely an emergency and can be taken care of with a follow up visit to your Dental Associates orthodontist. Learn more about Orthodontic Emergency Care.