Braces are a common type of orthodontic device used to straighten or align teeth for patients suffering from malocclusion or other bite abnormalities. These devices apply continuous pressure to the teeth over the entire length of treatment. As the teeth gradually move to the desired, correctly aligned position, the patients' smiles become increasingly attractive.
Candidates for Braces
While braces were once considered a treatment specifically for older children and teenagers, today's braces can be effectively used to help patients of all ages achieve the appearance they desire. In fact, many orthodontic patients today are adults who are taking advantage of the advanced types of braces currently available. All children should have an orthodontic examination by the time they reach the age of seven to ensure optimal treatment results.
Types of Braces
Instead of only the traditional bands, patients who need braces now have a choice among several different types of appliances, many of which offer specific benefits, such as shorter treatment time, greater comfort and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Patients can choose tooth-colored brackets if they so desire.
Length of Treatment with Braces
The length of treatment needed varies for each individual patient, but can range from a few months to a few years. Patients will likely be asked to visit their orthodontist every six to eight weeks so that the movement of the teeth can be monitored.
Care After Removal of Braces
Most patients will need to wear a retainer after braces are removed in order to maintain the new position of the teeth and to prevent further movement. The retainer should be worn at all times for the first six months and thereafter only during sleep. Once treatment is complete, patients can enjoy and be proud of their straight, beautiful smiles.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine