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Braces are used to move teeth into the ideal position and align how they bite together. While some patients may have the ideal bite, they may suffer from varying degrees of crowding or spacing, another factor associated with a misaligned bite. Crowding is a condition that causes the teeth to overlap, rotate, and in some cases, grow into the incorrect position in the mouth, or in more extreme cases, cause the tooth to become trapped in the bone. Crowding may be caused because the dental arch is too small for the adult teeth, or the adult teeth are larger than normal. Crowding may also be caused by losing the primary or baby teeth early or retaining them in the mouth longer than normal. These factors may inhibit the adult tooth, forcing it to erupt or grow into an incorrect position. Crowding makes it difficult to brush and floss the teeth correctly, possibly resulting in tooth decay or gingivitis.
Alternatively, varying degrees of spacing may be present, due to smaller teeth or jaw size. The most obvious example of spacing is the diastema, a space between the upper two front teeth. Misaligned teeth and an incorrect bite may affect more than just the appearance of your smile. The following conditions may potentially be corrected by orthodontics:
• Speech impediments
• Jaw or TMJ pain
• Difficulty chewing and eating
• Sleep apnea caused by mouth breathing and snoring
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth
• Gum disease and tooth decay

TYPES OF BRACES

Traditional Braces
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Ceramic Braces
These work in the same way as metal braces, but the brackets are made from a clear, transparent ceramic material. The braces are less visible to others, which makes them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment.
Lingual Braces
If you don’t want a traditional braces which are more or less visible outside then you have the choice of Lingual Braces. Lingual braces look just like traditional metal ones, but are placed behind your teeth out of the public eye to give you a more discreet smile-correcting experience. Lingual Braces are not ideal for all the patients.
Clear and Removable Aligners
Invisalign is a type of clear aligner that you can use instead of metal or ceramic braces. This involves a range of clear plastic aligners that resemble mouth guards, which are custom-made for you. They are removable for eating and cleaning, and you change them out for a newly made aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes the adjustment of your teeth one step further.
Clear aligners are also recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.

Orthodontic Treatment Process

The Examination
The Examination As a first step in orthodontic treatment, you will be examined and your dental and medical history will be completed. Measurements of your teeth, jaws, joints, face and profile with x-rays will be evaluated, and study models will be made. After the complete examination, your dentist will explain the details of your particular bite problem, and what type of treatment is indicated to correct it.
The Treatment
The next phase (the active phase) is the placement of orthodontic appliances. There are two types of appliances that are used in different circumstances – removable and fixed. Removable appliances can be removed by the patient, and fixed appliances are attached to the teeth and are not removable. Generally, appliances are placed to stimulate the jawbones to grow and increase in size and width, during growth spurts. They may cover the tissue on the roof of the mouth on the upper jaw, or be attached to teeth on the lower jaw. Braces are fixed to individual teeth and connected together with wires. Braces are much smaller and more esthetic today (some are clear) than they once were. Sometimes they can even be placed on the inside surfaces of teeth so they don’t even show. It is the orthodontic wire that does the actual work of moving the teeth. These wires apply constant forces over a long period of time causing the teeth to move through the bone. The newer wires being used today decrease the number of visits and the overall length of time in braces. Wires are adjusted during regular visists, so that the teeth are moved correctly and efficiently. Tenderness of the teeth during the first week in braces and following adjustment visits is normal and to be expected. This tenderness subsides after several days and can be helped by taking pain medication. A soft diet during these times may also be beneficial. Treatment time varies with the amount of correction required, but in general ranges between 12 –24 months. During treatment, routine dental care must be maintained for cleanings, check-up visits and fluoride treatments. It is more difficult to clean teeth once braces are on, so regular cleaning appointments and good oral hygiene are more important than ever, to prevent dental decay.
Retention
After treatment is completed, retainers will be used to hold the teeth in their new position. Some retainers are designed to be removable, while others are cemented in place. This retention phase is important to prevent the teeth from relapsing back to their original position. Orthodontic treatment is a long process but can improve both the functionality and appearance of your teeth.

Having straight, beautiful teeth is a gift for a lifetime.