So, you've decided that braces are the solution to your dental problem? Or perhaps your teeth seem a little bit crooked, or you need to correct your overbite? Whatever the reason, you're not alone. Over four million Americans are wearing braces at this very moment. But, there are several things you need to know about braces before you pay a visit to an orthodontist. Our orthodontist at Washington Dental Clinic in Carson, CA, is ready to help you learn about metal braces and how you can use them to maintain the perfect smile.

What you Need to Know About Metal Braces

Metal braces are orthodontic appliances made with a high-grade stainless steel bracket held together using dental cement and a metallic archwire. The wire follows the curvature of your jaw and is stabilized by a frame. The archwire and brackets work together with rubber ligature elastic bands to gradually straighten the teeth into place.

Metal braces are used to tackle different forms of misalignment in your teeth to mitigate additional oral health problems resulting from them. In most cases, the desire to use metal braces is purely cosmetic and wants to maintain a better-looking smile.

Misaligned teeth can branch into many other problems such as insomnia, chewing issues, infections, chronic dental pain, excess plaque buildup, and breathing issues. They are also not aesthetically pleasing and should not be taken lightly. It can cause insecurity about your smile, leading to self-confidence issues and contribute to broader mental health like depression and anxiety. Dental misalignment is also a cause of gum disease, leading to heart conditions, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 

Signs That You Need Metal Braces

You are probably wondering whether metal braces are the best choice for your dental problem. Right? Well, there are common signs that prove that you need braces. So check out the following signs indicating that you need braces, and know whether it's time to visit an orthodontist.

Crowding of Your Teeth

Most people prefer to use metal braces due to their crowding teeth. Your teeth usually crowd if there isn't enough space in your mouth to fill all your teeth. Metal braces can be a suitable treatment at a young age, but patients who had their teeth braced at a younger age can still experience this as an adult. However, the crowding can worsen as time goes by and can make part of your teeth difficult to brush and floss.

If you are incapable of cleaning your teeth, plaque might build up and cause gum disease, decay, bone loss around your teeth, and bad breath.

Spacing and Gapping of Your Teeth

Gapping and spacing are the opposite of crowded teeth. People who have gaps in between their teeth might be missing a few teeth or have large jaws. Large teeth spaces can impact your ability to bite. Therefore, if your teeth seem far spaced, bracing your teeth might be the best way to handle this problem. 

Having an Overbite

An overbite usually occurs when your upper front teeth excessively overlap the teeth on your lower jaw. This is generally not noticeable, but it comes with several oral and health problems. An overbite can cause trauma on your front teeth and fracture your teeth in case of an injury. Overbites can also lead to severe gum recession and tooth wear.

Having an Underbite

An underbite usually occurs when teeth on the upper jaw sit behind those in the lower front jaw. An overbite occurs when a patient has a disproportionate jaw size. It is easy to realize that you have an underbite if you experience difficulty chewing or biting. Underbites can also lead to accelerated facial aging and an imbalance of your facial appearance.

Having a Crossbite

A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth cross behind the lower opposing teeth. This is an abnormal type of bite and shouldn't be left untreated. A crossbite can lead to extreme wear of your teeth, the increased recession of the gum above the affected teeth, and asymmetric jaw growth. Crossbites are fixable, but if you wait too long, there are chances that you can't restore your worn-out or fractured teeth. 

Having an Open Bite

An open bite is another type of abnormal bite that can be corrected using metal braces. It's characterized by the failure of your teeth to touch when you close your mouth. An open bite usually causes difficulty biting and speech problems. 

Apart from the signs indicated above, you should note other factors to determine whether metal bracing is the best option for you. Some of the symptoms that you can check are as follows:

Sticking of Food Between your Teeth

Routine sticking of food between your teeth can be a haven for bacteria that can cause tooth decay or gum disease. Braces can help you eliminate the pockets and gaps between the teeth that trap food particles and bacteria. 

Fouls Smell of Your Breath

Experiencing frequent bad breath even after flossing your teeth is an indication that bacteria has been trapped between your crowded or crooked teeth. It also indicates that pockets are available and might cause pus in your gums.

Lisp in Your Speaking

Lisp might occur due to malocclusion. Braces might be a suitable solution to eliminate the lisp by properly aligning your teeth. 

Experiencing Jaw Pain

Misaligned teeth might create extra pressure on the temporomandibular joints. These are the hinges between your jaw and the head. If you are experiencing frequent soreness in this area, you might need braces to align your jaw, correct your bite, and even the tension on your TMJ.

The Benefits of Using Metal Braces

Anyone who has never seen how successful metal braces are can be doubtful of their ability to restore their dental structure. Below are some of the benefits of using metal braces that you should know about.

Metal Braces Are Durable

Metal is stronger than plastic or ceramics. Both ceramic and plastic can break, but metal braces can take a while to damage. If you're a teen and live a reckless and clumsy lifestyle, metal braces would be the best orthodontic option. Apart from that, if ceramic and plastic break, they can be quite expensive to replace. Therefore, choosing something strong like metal braces is the right choice.

Metal Braces Are Versatile

Metal braces are capable of restoring the most severe orthodontic case. These are the only type of braces that can make adjustments for the most difficult mouth problems. Plastic and ceramic aren't strong enough to handle complex dental needs, meaning that metal braces are the best. This might seem like a limiting factor for your brace selection, but there is an added advantage for choosing the strongest option.

Takes Less Time to Work

Metal braces have the advantage of taking less time to achieve their purpose. They can do what other teeth straightening options can take to accomplish in less time. If you are a teenager, choosing metal braces would be the best option.

Metal Braces Are Affordable

The first thing that comes to your mind when you need metal bracing is how much it's going to cost you. Most orthodontic options are expensive, but metal braces offer a more affordable option. However, the improvements that have been made on technology over time have ensured that they become more affordable as time goes by. 

Metal Braces Are Simple

The level of simplicity that metal braces bring forth cannot be achieved using other forms of orthodontic care. They provide a hassle-free and straightforward treatment process that you cannot imagine. Once your braces are in place, you don't need to worry about swapping the aligner or putting them back. You'll only have to wear the same braces until the treatment is complete.

They are customizable

Patients can opt to customize their braces to make things a little bit fun using color bands. This is a popular option for teens and younger patients. 

Guarantees Constant Care

Traditional metal braces can remain in your mouth until your treatment is finished. This is beneficial since your treatment, and dental care cannot be interrupted. Apart from that, they are better than clear aligners, which patients must remove for brushing and during meals. This might seem advantageous to patients who want to avoid food restriction, but there is the risk of losing the aligner after removing them. They might even stop being effective if you lose them for 22 hours.

Patients Can Have a Mini Version of the Metal Braces

Modern braces are being made smaller than how they were in the past. Therefore, anyone who intends to use them doesn't have to fear the cumbersome metal in their mouth. Small braces are also aesthetically beneficial since their brackets are less noticeable. If you would want to maximize these advantages, you can opt for mini braces. 

Guarantees a Healthier Mouth

Like other means of straightening your teeth, metal braces can safeguard your mouth from chronic injuries and conditions. Straightened teeth are more hygienic and easier to brush, helping you avoid bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. In addition, there are fewer chances of being hurt with straight teeth when you hit your mouth against a protruding tooth. It also helps you avoid trouble sleeping, headaches, and a speech impediment.

Guarantees the Smile that You Love

Having a great smile is the source of pride for most people. Once you have your braces, you will never feel that you don't need to hide when meeting people. A beautiful smile gives you the confidence to feel great informal events like graduations, weddings, and formal business functions.

They're Suitable for Almost Everyone

If you are worried that you might not be the right candidate for metal braces, then you're probably wrong about them. Metal braces are a universal type of orthodontic care that can tackle any dental care, whether complicated or mild.

The Best Time to Have Your Metal Braces

The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that children have an appointment with an orthodontist after seven years of age. The logic behind this decision is to identify whether you need braces as early as possible and improve the outcomes early enough.

Children without visible crowded teeth or slants on their teeth can benefit from an early check-in with the orthodontist. Nevertheless, this doesn't rule out that adults cannot have their metal braces if they find it suitable to have them. For some people, treatment with braces can be impossible for some children due to specific reasons. Some of these factors include lack of diagnosis, inconvenience, and expenses.

Therefore, you're never too old to get braces. However, this doesn't mean that you should continue putting off the treatment.  Whenever you're ready to pursue treatment for your crooked or crowded teeth, you can schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.

Remember, as you grow old, your jaw continues to grow and can lead to increased narrowed and crowded teeth. Waiting for too long to treat the overbite won't solve the problem. The sooner you speak to a professional orthodontist and have your braces, the better the chances of restoring your dental aesthetics.

Procedure for Getting Metal Braces

As you prepare for your first appointment, you'll probably be wondering what to expect from your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will guide you through the metal bracing process and can help you with basic information as you head into the bracing process. Below is a detailed process that your orthodontist will use throughout your bracing process.

Initial Consultation and Examination

The first step of dental bracing is being referred to an orthodontist by your general dentist after raising concerns about your teeth' positioning in your jaw. In your first appointment, the orthodontist will manually examine your teeth and probably take an X-ray image. It's recommendable to discuss your dental history with the orthodontist since this information can guide the treatment decision.

When the initial consultation deems metal brace treatment as appropriate for your dental problem, your orthodontist will further discuss metal braces, the duration of your treatment, and what might be needed.

Fitting of Your Dental Braces

Your orthodontist will use a cheek retractor to ensure that your teeth remain dry and visible throughout the dental bracing process. The orthodontist will polish, condition, and air-dry your teeth before placing the brackets to allow the bond to form properly.

The orthodontist will use dental cement to hold the brackets against the teeth at the exact position determined during your initial consultation. They will then remove any excess cement, bond, and strengthen it using high-intensity light.

After the dental braces are placed as desired, your orthodontist will remove the cheek retractor and place the dental archwires. This process is relatively fast and can take less than twenty minutes.

Adjusting the Dental Braces

You must attend regular appointments with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth reposition as desired. These appointments are crucial since the elastic ties that hold the wires in places usually stretch and weaken with time. Therefore, the pressure exerted on your teeth will weaken.

During these adjustment appointments, the orthodontist will examine your teeth movement and the progress of your dental braces, which helps in making ongoing decisions. For example, they can remove and replace the elastic ties that hold the braces in and the archwires.

You might experience some tightness and soreness in your mouth shortly after the orthodontist appointment. This experience might last for four to six hours. You'll experience this due to the change of position of your teeth as it reacts to the pressure created by the dental wires and braces. Use simple analgesic medication like ibuprofen and paracetamol to relieve the pain.

Your dental appointments should be at an interval of at least three weeks to allow time for the teeth to move. Your frequent appointments depend on the movement of your teeth and the type of dental wire used.

Removal of the Dental Braces

As your treatment concludes, it means that your teeth have repositioned as desired, and the braces should be removed. This process is relatively simple and isn't painful.

The orthodontist will remove the ties and wires in the same process used during the adjustment appointments. He or she will then gently break the bond between the teeth and brackets by applying pressure at the bracket base to squeeze them and release the adhesive bonds. The adhesive dental remains on your teeth to avoid damaging your teeth' enamel during the removal process. Finally, your orthodontist can remove the remaining cement using a dental handpiece, similar to the one used while repairing a dental cavity.

Please note, the orthodontist must thoroughly clean your teeth to remove the trapped plaque and food particles. The orthodontist will then polish your teeth using a hand grinder to remove the adhesive remaining after your braces are removed.

After the cleaning process, your orthodontist might take a set of X-rays and probably a bite impression. This will check if the braces have done their jobs properly. The measurement of your digital model may be suitable in the making of your retainer.

Lastly, your orthodontist will inspect your wisdom teeth if you have them. If yours are coming out following the removal of your braces, your orthodontist might suggest having them removed to prevent future shifting of your teeth.

Most patients notice some inflammation of the gums after the dental braces have been removed. This will subside within a few days if you follow adequate oral care.

Use of Retainers

You will need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their new position after removing the metal braces. The time required to use a retainer varies, but the average time is twelve months.

What to Expect After Metal Braces Placement

When you have your braces in place, you might not experience any pain or discomfort straight away. However, you might start experiencing discomfort as soon as the braces on your teeth start to put pressure on them. The pressure of the braces can cause pain and discomfort that could last for a few days to a week. Other things that you could expect in the first week include:

  • Scrapes or soreness inside your cheek due to their rubbing against the metal brackets
  • Sores gums
  • Potential cuts of your tongue if you use your tongue to feel the braces
  • Soreness while eating food

After a while, you might notice the braces as they adjust to your teeth. Therefore, your orthodontist will tighten the braces periodically during your regular appointments. After the braces have been tightened, your cheek and tongue have probably adjusted to the braces. Therefore, you will less likely experience new abrasion on these parts of your mouth.

What to Expect After the Braces Are Removed

Typically, braces last for one to three years. When it comes to taking them off, you might experience some discomfort as the orthodontist removes them. However, there is no significant pain expected at this point of your treatment.

Tips to Relieve Your Pain and Discomfort

The discomfort or pain will go away within a few days. However, you should adopt several treatments for pain relief. Some of the treatment that you can pick include the following:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
  • Use your lip balm to nourish your lips as the orthodontist works on your teeth
  • Using warm water to rinse your mouth. Mix 1 teaspoonful of salt per ounce of water
  • Eating soft food like yogurt, soup, and ice-cream
  • Eating cold food or drinking cold beverages
  • Applying a cold cloth on your face
  • Applying topical anesthetics to your gum using a cotton swab or your finger
  • Ask the orthodontist for a soft wax to prevent the braces from cutting the inner cheeks or buying the wax from a pharmacy
  • Avoid eating sticky gum, foods, or any other food that might dislodge on your braces
  • Properly cleaning your teeth between the braces to prevent tooth decay

Find the Best Orthodontist Services Near Me

Knowing what to expect before and after having your braces makes the experience much easier. When your metal braces are finally removed, you'll realize that a little bit of inconvenience is worth it. Are you looking for an orthodontist or needing to know whether metal braces are right for you? Washington Dental in Carson, CA, is here to help you out. Our orthodontist is familiar with everything to do with braces and has been treating families in many areas. Contact us today at 310-217-1507, and let's help you maintain the perfect smile.