Braces have been an important part of dental health for decades, with 4 million people wearing them today (and 25% of that total being worn by adults).
Braces can be used to adjust and correct many dental conditions, including crowded, crooked, or otherwise misaligned teeth. So, to help make your mouth healthier and your smile more attractive, let’s look at how braces work, what types of braces are available, and how best to take care of them.
Residents of Mamaroneck, New York, and Stamford, Connecticut, looking for braces to help their teeth and other dental services can get help from Dr. Gennadiy Kravets and All Bright Dental. We are a dental practice that specializes in focused, individualized care for the whole family, including a variety of preventative and corrective treatments.
How braces work
Your teeth are connected to a membrane underneath your gums surrounded by bones that root your teeth to your jaw. Dental braces exert pressure on misaligned teeth, causing the jaw to gradually adjust to the new alignment.
The membrane under your gums also controls teeth positioning and responds to the pressure exerted by your braces. Over time, all of these factors help shift your teeth, resulting in better health and more functional teeth.
Types of braces
Many people probably still picture the metal braces many kids grow up with to manage alignment, but braces come in a variety of forms:
- Traditional: These are bracket and wire metal braces
- Self-ligating braces: Similar in appearance to traditional braces, but these use clips to hold the wire in place
- Ceramic: These are similar to traditional braces, but they use naturally colored ceramic materials to make the braces less noticeable
- Lingual: This option is also made of metal, but they are positioned on the inside of the teeth, making them less visible
- Invisalign: These custom made plastic aligners fitted over the teeth and are replaced regularly as your teeth align
An oral exam of your teeth, jaws, and mouth will give us a better idea of what braces will be best for your specific needs. X-rays, plastic models, and extractions may also be necessary to get the best results.
Proper care for braces
Caring for your braces means doing many things you normally do to care for your teeth regularly, including:
Using a small-sized brush with fluoride toothpaste is vital to the health of your teeth while wearing braces. It’s important to brush from the top of the brace (or bracket) and aim toward the tooth. Also, brush back and forth to properly clean underneath the dental appliance. Be sure to brush the biting surface and the tooth area facing your tongue, and use circular motions to avoid damage to the braces.
Flossing is important for removing particles between the teeth because they can also get trapped in your braces. Cut a long piece of floss, making it easier to fold around the index finger of both hands. Holding the ends firmly will help get a proper grip and make it easier to avoid harming the gums and braces. Place the floss between the wires and teeth, aligned to the space between your gums and teeth. Gently remove food and plaque, using a C shape around teeth for best results.
While wearing braces, avoid eating certain foods, like hard foods (bagels, rolls, apples, nuts), sticky foods (candies, caramels, chewing gum), crunchy foods (popcorn), and sugary or processed foods. Anything that increases the risk of creating hard-to-reach particles or risk damaging the brackets should be avoided.
So, if you’re ready to see what braces can do for your health and your smile, make an appointment with Dr. Kravets and All Bright Dental today.