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Teeth can be straightened with orthodontics (braces). This is usually done during the teenage years, when the teeth are going through a period of growth. However, many adults also have treatment to straighten their crooked teeth or to approve their appearance. For cosmetic reason, clear or plastic braces can be used, which are hardly noticeable. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, first go along to your dentist and get their advice. Your dentist can discuss your treatment options and if necessary refer you to an orthodontist.
What Types of Braces Are Available?
If braces are indeed the solution for you, your orthodontist will prescribe an appliance specific for your needs. The braces may consist of bands, wires, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances.
Generally, there are three types of braces:
How Do Braces Work?
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bony tooth socket reabsorbs and changes shape as pressure is applied.
Does the Age at Which I Get Braces Affect the Success of Treatment?
The mechanical process used to move teeth is the same at any age. So the benefits of orthodontic treatments are available to both children and adults who wish to improve their appearance and bite. The main differences between treatments in adults and children is that certain corrections in adults may require more than braces alone and the treatments may take longer because adult bones are no longer growing.
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The time required for treatment varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for 1 to 3 years.
What Care Can I Expect After the Braces Come Off?
After your braces are taken off, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Your orthodontist may want to take another set of X-rays and bite impressions to check how well the braces straightened your teeth and to see if any wisdom teeth have developed. If wisdom teeth are beginning to come in after your braces have been removed, your orthodontist may recommend the wisdom teeth be pulled to prevent your newly straightened teeth from shifting position in your mouth.
Your orthodontist will also fit you with a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that help teeth to maintain their new position after braces have been removed.