Braces are a great way to straighten and realign teeth, and give you the great smile that you deserve. However, caring for your teeth while you have braces can be a bit more difficult, because now you have to work around brackets, bands and wires. If you don't clean your teeth properly, your teeth may be permanently affected. Because they create dozens of "nooks and crannies" in your mouth, there are more places for food residues and plaque to hide. This can result in tooth decay, gum disease, and permanent staining.
We'll be happy to show you special techniques for keeping your teeth clean while you have your braces. Here are some instructions for brushing properly; keep them handy as a refresher course between cleaning appointments!
Our doctors do not perform any orthodontic treatment but work closely with local specialists throughout your treatment.
Be sure to visit us every six months for an exam and a thorough, professional cleaning! We'll make sure your teeth stay cavity-free.
When braces are placed on your teeth to correct a poor alignment (called a malocclusion), they actually move your teeth slowly through the bone in your jaw. They do this by creating tension, or pressure, on one side of your teeth. The wires do the work.
First brackets are attached to each tooth, and then a wire is run through the brackets. When your braces are first placed, the brackets may seem uneven. The wire wants to be level, so it resists the uneven position of the brackets, creating tension. It's this tension that gradually straightens the position of the brackets, at the same time straightening your teeth.
Every few weeks the strength and the size of the wires will be changed. This keeps your teeth moving into their new position and allows your teeth to adjust slowly. The bone in your jaw responds to the tension of the wire by producing special cells on either side of the tooth. These cells remove bone on one side of the tooth and creates new bone on the opposite side. This process gradually moves teeth through your jawbone.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The amount of time it takes to move your teeth to the proper position depends on the severity of your malocclusion. It can range between one to three years, or longer, and is also dependent upon how diligent you are about wearing your rubber bands and following our recommendations.
Taking care of your braces
Brushing and flossing are even more important when you have braces, as the small spaces in the brackets and wires can trap food and plaque. You may end up with permanent white marks on your teeth if you don't remove all the plaque each and every day. Be sure to brush after every meal, and use a floss threader to make flossing easier. It's important that you visit us at regular intervals for your cleaning appointments, so we can help you keep your teeth, gums, and braces plaque-free and healthy.