Your smile plays an important role in your appearance — and it plays a big role in your self-esteem, too. That’s because everyone appreciates a beautiful, healthy-looking smile — and when your smile looks great, you can’t help feeling more confident at work, at school, and when you're socializing with family and friends. Unfortunately, no one is “born” with a perfect, flawless smile. Most of us have some issues with crooked teeth, poor spacing or alignment problems. The good news is, Surprise braces can fix all that — and probably in less time than you think. Millions of teens and adults in the U.S. have braces. If you’re considering braces for yourself or your child, here’s what you should know.
What are traditional braces and how do they straighten teeth?
The term “traditional” braces can be a little confusing, but really, it just refers to the regular metal braces that at one time were the only option for straightening teeth. Today, there are other options like tooth-colored ceramic braces and clear braces with “invisible” brackets.
No matter what type of braces you have, they all work the same way to straighten your teeth and align your bite: Brackets are placed on the surfaces of your teeth, either directly or using bands that encircle each tooth. Then a special wire is threaded through the brackets. Over time, the wire is adjusted to gently move your teeth into their proper positions. Even though you’ll only see the visible parts of your teeth as they move, the roots are shifting, too, helping to anchor your teeth so they stay straight even after your braces are off.
What issues can be treated with Surprise braces?
Braces are the workhorses of orthodontic treatment, and they can be used to correct lots of issues, like:
- Open bites
- Crowded teeth
- Gaps and other spacing issues
- Crooked teeth
- Other problems that affect your bite mechanics
At Dunn Orthodontics, your Surprise braces treatment will be tailored to your needs, no matter how complex those needs may be.
Can braces improve my oral health, too?
Most people think of braces as a cosmetic treatment, but the fact is, they just might improve your oral health, too. And like the cosmetic improvements, the oral health benefits may last for the rest of your life. How could braces improve your oral health? In two primary ways:
- First, when your teeth are straighter, it’s a lot easier to keep them clean with routine brushing and flossing. That’s because there aren’t as many angles and crevices where bacteria, sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits can form. When your teeth are clean, you’re less likely to develop problems like tooth decay, gum disease, infections and even tooth loss.
- And second, when your bite is properly aligned, your teeth “meet” the way they’re meant to. That means your jaw joints won’t be subjected to excess strain and stress, decreasing your risks of chronic jaw and facial pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a painful condition that occurs when your jaw joints get inflamed. Plus, when teeth are straight and aligned, you reduce your risk of uneven tooth wear that can lead to cavities, breakage and tooth loss.
Cosmetic improvements and oral health benefits, too — it’s easy to see why braces are so popular for teens and adults.
Are braces better than clear aligners like Invisalign®?
Both braces and Invisalign can straighten your teeth and correct alignment problems, but as versatile as clear aligners may be, they’re not always the best choice for correcting specific types of problems. Sometimes, braces are simply more effective in helping patients get the beautiful smiles they want. Plus, braces are less expensive than aligners, and many dental plans provide at least partial coverage for braces treatment. If you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, we can discuss the pros and cons of both options during your office consultation.
What happens during orthodontic treatment with Surprise braces?
Orthodontic treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and your bite pattern to understand the scope of the issues that need to be corrected. X-rays and other measurements will provide your Surprise orthodontist with in-depth details about your teeth, your jaws and your bite mechanics, which can be used to create a custom treatment plan optimized for your needs. Your Surprise braces will be applied during one visit, and you’ll receive complete instructions to help you care for your braces and your teeth.
During your treatment, you’ll visit us about once a month for adjustments. Afterward, your teeth might feel a bit sore for a day or two, and you can relieve that discomfort with over-the-counter pain medicine from your drugstore. Eating soft foods can also help. You’ll also continue to see your dentist for regular checkups.
Is it difficult to care for braces?
At first, it might seem a little awkward cleaning around the brackets and wires, but most patients find they adapt very easily. Our team will give you some pointers to help you clean your braces (and your teeth) effectively, and tools like water flossers and special rinses can also help. Before you know it, caring for your braces will be second nature.
Do I have to stop eating certain foods?
It’s a good idea to avoid foods that are hard, crunchy or sticky, not because they’ll necessarily interfere with your treatment, but because they can wind up breaking or bending your wires or getting stuck in your brackets. The list of foods you need to avoid is short — but if you do wind up breaking a wire or getting food caught in your brackets, give us a call and we can set up an appointment to get your braces back to “normal.”
How long will I need to wear my braces?
That really depends on the issues that need to be corrected. Most patients complete their treatment in about two years, but your treatment could take more or less time. Some people need to wear braces for about three years, while others can complete treatment in about a year.
Will I need a retainer?
Yes, once your Surprise braces are removed, you’ll need to wear a retainer while your tooth roots adjust to their new positions. At first, you’ll wear your retainer for most of the day and night. Eventually, you’ll be able to wear it for shorter periods of time. Many patients go on to wear their retainers overnight a couple times a week (or more) to maintain their smiles and keep them looking their best.
Braces from a top-rated Surprise orthodontist
As a leading orthodontist practice near Surprise, Arizona, Dunn Orthodontics is dedicated to providing the most advanced care, tailored to every patient’s unique needs. Our team of orthodontic professionals is skilled in treating all types of orthodontic issues, including complex cases — and we can help you enjoy a lifetime of more beautiful smiles, too. To get started, give us a call at 602-864-0004 and book an appointment today.