Some people think that getting braces is purely cosmetic, but it’s actually functional. Indeed, one of the main purposes of orthodontic treatment is to create a functional bite. As such, the dazzling smile that dental braces create is just an awesome bonus.
With such benefits, it’s no wonder that orthodontics has become a $2-billion industry in the US.
If you’re thinking about getting braces yourself, you may be wondering how it works and what to expect. Read on, as this guide gives a brief overview of orthodontics.
How Do Braces Work?
Properly placed braces exert pressure to move the teeth to an ideal location. This pressure causes tooth roots to press against the supporting membrane and bone. As a result, some parts of the membrane and bone dissolve, thereby creating space.
The pressure from the braces also shifts and moves the teeth into those holes.
After about a month, the tension of the braces’ archwires, brackets, and bands slacken. This occurs because they’ve already moved the teeth. According to experts, the mechanical force from braces moves teeth at a rate of about 1 mm to 1.5 mm in four to five weeks.
For the same reason, you’d need to see your dentist every month to get your braces retightened.
What Does the Process of Getting Braces Entail?
The first step on how to get braces is to schedule an initial consultation with an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in teeth and jaw positions. They diagnose, prevent, and correct malocclusion, the term for misaligned teeth and bites.
During your initial consultation, your dentist will give you a comprehensive oral checkup. You can also expect to get a dental x-ray.
If it’s a digital x-ray, the dentist gets immediate results. In this case, they can study your mouth structure on the spot.
From there, the specialist can determine which type of braces best suits you. Don’t worry, as they’ll explain all your options, as well as the estimated treatment time. If you’re ready, you may be able to get the braces the same day as your first appointment.
So, Does It Hurt to Get Braces?
Getting braces placed isn’t painful per se, but it can be uncomfortable. That’s because you’d have to open your mouth wide for about one to two hours.
During that time, your dentist would clean and dry your teeth. This ensures the optimal adhesion of the brackets onto your pearly whites.
Once the glue dries and secures the brackets in place, your dentist then loops the wire into the brackets. Depending on the type of braces you get, the dentist may need to apply orthodontic bands, too. You can check out this article to learn more about other orthodontic options.
After placement, your mouth may also feel weird since the brackets touch the inside of your lips. Within 24 hours, you may start to feel some slight soreness due to the braces already doing their job. This discomfort often diminishes within a few days, though, and you’ll start to get used to your braces.
Getting Braces for a Healthier, More Dazzling Smile
Keep in mind that having crooked teeth is a risk factor for periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease, in turn, affects about half of folks 30 years and older in the US. What’s more, periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
That’s enough reason to consider getting braces if you have crooked teeth or bite issues. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get your teeth straightened out and cleaned better.
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