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You are planning on receiving braces to have a confident smile with white, even teeth. Before seeing the dentist, it is important for you to learn the basics of this treatment.

Braces structure

Braces consist of the following components:

  • Brackets: small squares that are attached directly to the front of each tooth using a dental bonding agent. They can also be bonded to orthodontic bands. Brackets serve as a handle that holds the archwires used to move the teeth. Brackets are typically made of stainless steel or tooth-colored hard plastic. They are sometimes bonded to the back of teeth to not be seen.
  • Orthodontic bands are made of stainless steel, clear, or tooth-colored materials. They are bonded to teeth using a dental bonding agent. The dentist will wrap the bands around each tooth to secure them and give the brackets and anchors to move teeth to the new position.  
  • Spacers: separators that fit between teeth to produce a small space before orthodontic bands are placed. You have to wear spacers 1 week prior to receiving braces
  • Archwires: are attached to the brackets and used to create tracks to direct the movement of teeth.
  • Ties: small rubber rings or thin wires used to fasten the archwire to the brackets
  • A buccal tube is placed on the band of the last tooth to keep the end of the archwire fixed in place
  • Springs: placed on the archwires between the brackets to push, pull, open, or close the spaces between teeth
  • Rubber or elastic bands are attached to the hooks on brackets and worn between the upper and lower in a variety of ways
  • Retainers can replace braces once the procedure has been successful. Retainers are created to fit with your teeth after removing the braces to keep your teeth securely in place so they won’t shift back to their original position.

How do braces straighten your teeth?

After the dentist has attached brackets to your teeth, the archwires (made of springs or rubber bands) will create a pressure on the orthodontic bands and teeth, moving teeth in a certain direction. The jawbones will also readjust and develop to support the new positions of teeth.

Teeth will move 1 mm per month. The dentist will determine the time needed for a brace treatment based on the placement of braces. It is from 6 months to 3 years on average.

Step 1: Examine teeth

First off, the dentist will set an appointment with you to check your oral state. This includes examining your teeth if there are any decayed or chipped teeth and whether the gums are inflamed or swollen. Besides, they will ask for your dental history to see if you have ever received dental veneers or dental implants or any other dental procedures. After asking for your information and examining your teeth thoroughly, the dentist will discuss with you the right dental braces as well as give you the cost and estimated duration for the procedure.

Get to know about the many types of dental braces and how to choose a suitable one for you.

Step 2: Preparation

  • X-rays. The dentist will typically use a 3D X-rays machine to give the best idea of your teeth to attach the brackets, archwires, and spacers to the exact positions.
  • Take impressions of teeth. This step won’t cause pain so you don’t need to worry about it. The dentist will take impressions of your teeth for monitoring and comparison during the treatment.
  • Place the spacers. These spacers (usually made of rubber) are placed between teeth to spare the space for the orthodontic bands. However, spacers are not placed in every gap between two teeth. They can be placed in the lower or upper teeth or both. There are also cases they are not placed in any as the teeth are too short.
  • Extract tooth (for decayed teeth). If you need to have more than 1 tooth extracted, the dentist will ask you to come back after a few days for another extraction.

Step 3: Attach the braces

This is the most important step of the treatment and also the time when you’ll experience pain. Orthodontic bands, brackets, and archwires will be bonded to teeth, causing you some discomfort at first. The pain will continue for 2 weeks and 99% percent of the time you’ll have to have a porridge-only diet. After this period, congratulate you on achieving nice-looking teeth.

Step 4: Check-ups

This is the last step and also a positive phase of orthodontics. The dentist will typically ask you to come to the office every 4 weeks following the treatment to replace the archwires and move teeth to the ideal positions. If any problems arise, you will need extra brackets or tooth reshaping. After every check-up, you will suffer from pain for 3-5 days then it will get better gradually.

Step 5: Remove braces

Once the dentist (and you also) is satisfied with your new teeth, the braces will be removed. The time needed for step 3 to proceed to step 5 can vary from person to person, from 12-24 months on average. This article will give you further insights regarding the period for wearing dental braces.

Step 6: Maintenance

After the braces are removed, you need to wear retainers to keep your teeth from shifting to their original state. Usually, there are two forms of retainers: fixed and removable. If you don’t wear retainers according to the dentist’s instructions, your teeth will shift back and return to their normal state. You may need to wear retainers for 9 to 12 months.

Learn more: Will overbite happen again when you remove braces?

Are braces painful?

Are braces painful or not depends on the stage of braces as well as the pain of each person.

Initial alignment

At this stage, the dentist will attach the elastic band between the teeth to create space for the teeth to move when braces. This causes a dull and aching sensation when eating, and the food may stick between teeth. This feeling will quickly disappear after a few days.

Tooth extraction

Not everyone will pull their teeth when braces. But in the case of tooth extraction, you will be injected with anesthetic and feel a little moist after the extraction, this situation will go away after 1-2 days.

Attach archwires, braces

This is the stage that makes most people uncomfortable with braces. Archwires and braces will begin to use force to move the teeth and cause soreness, dullness. You will feel like it is a mess, eating or communicating ... if you have good adaptability, after a few weeks, you will gradually get used to this feeling.

Periodic tooth checkup

After attaching archwires and braces, you will see your dentist every month to monitor the condition of the braces and adjust the tension of the archwires. After each re-examination, you will find that your teeth are a bit hurt, but this feeling will soon disappear. If the pain is too long, tell the dentist right away because the force may be too strong.

In social activities, braces may scratch the lips or cheeks, the dentist may prescribe painkillers or apply wax to the area where the braces hurt the gums to remedy this.

How to reduce pain after braces?

  • Apply ice: Put ice packs in the affected area after braces or for each tooth tightening will ease the pain, soreness significantly.
  • Eat soft, chewy food: Your teeth will feel moist when braced, which makes you uncomfortable when eating hard, crunchy dishes due to the force of biting. Therefore, soft, spongy foods will limit chewing and help you reduce pain.

What to do and avoid while wearing braces?

1. Oral hygiene

Oral hygiene plays an essential role in your brace treatment. If you too lazy to brush your teeth thoroughly and use dental floss properly after meals, your teeth are at high risk for decay and discoloration (even though they look perfectly straight and nice after the braces are taken off).

Some oral hygiene products you need to get are a mouthwash (or saline), a soft-bristled toothbrush, dental floss, and toothpaste. Please note that you only need to use dental floss and brush after eating. Wash your mouth only after waking up in the morning.

2. Nutrition

In this stage of “biting the bullet for a better look”, unfortunately, you need to say goodbye to hard foods. Soft and easy to chew foods such as porridge, cereals, smoothies, eggs, and milk are wise choices. You should also cut foods and fruits into small pieces before eating.

Dental care after braces removal

After the procedure has been completed, braces will be removed. At this point, your teeth will be completely cleaned. Your dentist may recommend having an X-ray to see if your teeth are upright and if any wisdom teeth are developing. If so, you will have to remove the wisdom tooth that is about to grow in case the wisdom tooth is out of place, affecting the surrounding straight teeth.

Learning about the procedure for braces can help you prepare better for this procedure, thereby improving the effectiveness of braces. In addition, to achieve the best results, you also need to choose a reputable dental facility, such as East Rose Dental (former Rose Dental Clinic).


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