Home Up Oral Care Shop Exclusive Books Policy Contact Dentist Map Search Links

Dental Braces       

Dental Braces or Orthodontic Braces or Braces are a device used to correct position of the teeth with connection to bite, occlusion, and dentition. Braces are permanently working because they are fixed to the patient's teeth.

dental braces, orthdontic braces, braces, dentition, bite, underbites, overbites, cross bites, open bites, dentist, orthdontist

Orthodontic braces are often used to correct cosmetic or structural defects and flaws:
  • underbites, overbites, cross bites and open bites
  • crooked teeth
  • to widen the palate or jaws
  • create spaces between teeth or shape the teeth and jaws
Most dental braces patients are children or teenagers. Recently, more adults (about 25% of brace patients are over 21) have been seeking this treatment.
  • Celebrities who have been spotted wearing functional braces in adulthood include Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani, Lil Bow Wow, Ashley Judd, Lee Ann Womack, Terrell Davis, Lisa Scott-Lee, Lila McCann, Linda Gray, Cher, Nancy Kissinger (wife of former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger), Brett Favre, Randy Moss, Marquis Daniels, Josh Howard, Kelly Clarkson, Alyssa Milano, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kyo of Dir en grey, Cristiano Ronaldo and University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins. Paula Jones, who gained fame during the late 1990's for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against then-President Bill Clinton, wore braces during the months when she was going through other physical and wardrobe changes.
  • Wearing dental braces as a fashion statement  appears to catch on among the young in some parts of the world.
In the USA most braces treatment is done by orthodontists, dentists specializing in diagnosis and treatment of wrong bites (malocclusions) of the teeth and/or jaws.

How Dental Braces Work

The teeth move due to the use of force. The force applied by dental braces through the archwire pushes the tooth in a particular direction.

The jaw bone is created on one side of the moving tooth and resorbed on the opposite side (bone remodeling).

Treatment Times and Procedures

Usual treatment times vary from six months to six years (two years is average) depending on the difficulty and types of problems.

The tooth to be braced will be cemented with a bracket. An archwire will be threaded between the brackets and affixed with elastic or metal ligatures. The archwire will creating constant light force on the teeth.

Elastics are used to create a stronger force to pull teeth or jaws in the desired direction. Brackets with hooks can be placed to affix the elastic to.

If required, orthodontic spacers may be inserted between the back teeth to make room for molar bands to be placed at a later date. Molar bands are required to ensure brackets will stick.

If there is lacking space in the mouth for all the teeth to fit properly, there are two main procedures to make extent. One is tooth extraction: teeth are removed to create more space. The second is expansion: the palate or arch is made larger by using an expander.

For some patients, the Invisalign system might be a practical choice to braces. This system uses a series of clear plastic trays to move teeth into their position. However, Invisalign requires a longer treatment time, because the appliance is removable.


Types of Dental Braces

There are many types and varieties of braces are offered by several orthodontic supply companies:
  • Time brackets by American Orthodontics, SmartClip™ Brackets by 3M Unitek, SPEED, or Damon brackets, Clarity™ Braces by 3M Unitek.
Traditional braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with nickel titanium, and are the most widely used. Usual stainless steel brackets include conventional braces that require ties and newer self-tying (or self-litigating) brackets.
Ceramic braces offer a less visible alternative. They blend in more with the natural color of the tooth. But ceramic brackets are slightly larger, are not as strong as metal and may require longer treatment time.
Gold-plated stainless steel braces are for people allergic to nickel (a component of stainless steel), but may be also chosen because some people simply prefer the look of gold over the silver-colored braces.
Lingual braces are fitted behind the teeth, and are not visible. This braces can be more difficult to adjust.
Smart brackets braces are containing microchip capable of measuring the forces applied to the bracket/tooth line. This braces could significantly reduce the treatment times and to set the non-harmful applied forces.

Braces Care: Proper Tools and Best Products

Plaque develops easily when food is retained in and around braces. Plaque is the reason that patients need to be on the alert about dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment.
If plaque is left on teeth and around braces, patients may develop gum disease (swollen gums), bad breath, scarred and discolored teeth, and tooth decay (cavities).
To help fight against bacterial plaque, dentists recommend the following tools and dental products:

Dental Braces: Complications

Tooth pain
after adjustment, mouth sores, allergic reaction to the latex rubber in elastics or to the metal, punch the back of the patient's cheek from the archwire may be produced by components of the braces.
  • Latex-free elastics and ceramic braces can be used instead.
  • Eating soft foods during this period can help avoid additional pressure on the teeth, gum, and soft tissues.
Braces can also be damaged if proper care is not taken, orthodontic brackets may pop off due to the forces involved, or due to cement weakening over time. Several damage to braces can prolong treatment.
  • It is important to wear a mouthguard to prevent breakage when playing sports.
  • Chewing gum and certain sticky, crunchy or hard foods, such as raw carrots, chewy-like taco chips, caramels, taffy, un-popped popcorn kernels, peanuts, large hard pretzels, and toffee should be avoided because they can damage braces.
  • The orthodontist or dentist should be contacted immediately for advice if braces damage occurs. In most cases the bracket is replaced.
Bone loss due to gum disease or periodontal disease may lead to tooth loss during treatment.
Some degree of root resorption could be noticed in a few cases during the teeth displacement.

Dental Braces: After Treatment

Retainers and pre-finishers are required to be worn once treatment with braces is complete:

  • A Hawley retainer - An Essix retainer - A bonded retainer - Rubber pre-finisher similar to mouthguard
If a patient does not wear the retainer or pre-finisher as recommended, the teeth might move towards their original position (relapse).
Retainer and pre-finishers are the temporary appliances and can be moved in and out of the mouth.
Contact Dentist
Looking forward to hearing from you

Aleksandr V. Melekhin, DDS


Return from Dental Braces to Philadelphia Dentist



Home ] Up ]

This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in
rendering medical, dental advice or professional services. If you feel  
that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your
Dentist or health care Practitioner.
Copyright © www.oralcareshop.com 2005 - 2014. Aleksandr V. Melekhin, DDS. All rights reserved.