Teeth Braces

Last Updated: December 05, 2012

Teeth braces are a form of either metallic or plastic alignment support that are firmly secured in front of and around certain teeth for the purpose of permanently adjusting tooth anatomy and cosmetic orientation.

The newest types of braces are nearly invisible in look and design, but many dental patients still choose to go with the traditional metallic types for different reasons.

Braces are usually worn for several years at a time for the best results. There are some braces that are stiffer and harder than and some which are softer and more flexible.

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Dental braces are many times used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to help widen the palate or jaws and to otherwise assist in shaping the teeth and jaws.

What are the benefits of braces?

Better looking teeth make individuals feel more positive about themselves. They can feel much more confident when they talk and smile. These are the main psychological benefits.

But there are tangible or physical benefits as well. These include a better ability to chew and masticate food, an improvement in many speech defects such as lisps, and a more comfortable feeling inside the mouth when the tongue rolls over and against the newly aligned teeth.

Are there any risks involved?

With some dental braces, there's a significant risk of soreness around the gums and gum line. There can also be some problems with the braces rubbing against and irritating the lips and tongue.

It's possible for tiny cuts to occur because of the sharpness of some parts of the braces. There's also a small possibility that part of the braces can break off and be swallowed, causing some internal gastric problems until the foreign body is removed from the system.

Am I a good candidate for braces?

Excellent candidates for getting braces are usually adolescents with crooked teeth. At this stage, the teeth are much more malleable and amenable to realignment.

Many adults, however, also get braces to try to correct overbites, underbites, teeth of different heights and thicknesses, and due to problems with normal mastication.

Some people with mandible problems may also need the services of a qualified, licensed orthodontist for the purpose of installing braces to alleviate some malfunctioning teeth and biting issues.

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Braces are often used to correct underbites, malocclusions, overbites, cross bites, open bites, deep bites, crooked teeth, as well as various other flaws of the teeth and jaw.

How are braces installed?

Braces should be installed by any licensed orthodontist or dentist trained in orthodontics. They are usually put in with small sections at a time working on specific upper or lower teeth.

For many of the newer, plastic braces, the patient has to return to the dentist every two or three weeks to be newly fitted with additional brace sections that have been made to adapt to the teeth that have already started to become aligned.

Typical treatment times vary from six months to two and a half years depending on the complexity and types of problems.

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