Curious about how braces work and whether they’re suitable for adults? Orthodontic braces can yield impressive results for those who once resigned themselves to enduring dental and cosmetic issues throughout their lives. However, deciding to pursue orthodontic treatment near you as an adult is a significant decision. You may wonder how those crooked teeth will eventually straighten out. Let’s simplify the process for you.
Orthodontic braces in Culver City achieve their magic by consistently applying pressure to the teeth and jaws, prompting them to shift position and improve your smile. Brackets, secured to the teeth, hold an archwire that exerts pressure on the teeth. Over time, this pressure compels crooked teeth to move into proper alignment.
Understanding how braces work is aided by knowing how teeth are structured. The visible portion of a tooth is surrounded by gum tissue called gingiva, while the tooth’s lower part is encased in soft tissue referred to as the periodontal membrane or ligament.
When force is exerted, the periodontal tissue expands on one end and condenses on the opposite, enabling the tooth to have some mobility. New bone then forms to support the tooth. This process, called bone remodeling, is where the magic happens to straighten crooked teeth.
We’ve discussed metal braces, but there’s another option: clear aligners, often called clear braces. Unlike metal braces, clear aligners use a series of plastic trays worn sequentially to gently guide teeth into their desired positions. Each aligner shifts the teeth in small increments until they’re straight and even. Generally, aligners are recommended for minor to moderate cases, while metal braces near you can correct minor to complex issues.
Orthodontic braces treatment usually unfolds in three phases:
Level and Align: The initial step involves aligning the teeth side by side, potentially moving them up, down, or across to create a straight line.
Bite Adjustments: The second phase addresses bite issues like underbite, overbite, and crossbite. If there are gaps in the smile, they are typically closed during this phase.
Fine-tuning: In the latter months of treatment, dentists make final adjustments to ensure every tooth rests in its optimal position before removing the braces.
While orthodontic braces apply constant pressure, teeth don’t move daily. Patients may experience soreness for a few days after adjustments as they adjust to the new pressure. The braces primarily maintain teeth in their desired position until the next appointment.
Braces need to move teeth gradually for effectiveness and comfort. Rushing the process may lead to pain and potential damage to tooth roots and surrounding bone. The time it takes to move teeth varies, with some patients wearing braces for only six months and others, with complex cases, possibly wearing them for up to three years.
Though you’re never too old for braces, starting treatment earlier offers advantages. Adolescents have a still-developing jaw, and their underlying tissue is more responsive to change. Braces are particularly effective at correcting crooked teeth in young patients, often resulting in faster treatment times compared to adults.
While traditional orthodontic braces are highly effective, they may not be the ideal choice for everyone. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to consider:
Clear Aligners: Clear aligner systems like Invisalign offer a discreet way to straighten teeth. They are removable, making eating and cleaning easier.
Lingual Braces: These orthodontic devices resemble conventional braces but are positioned on the teeth’s inner side. Hence, they’re less conspicuous.
Ceramic Braces: These braces use tooth-colored or clear brackets, blending in better with your teeth for a less noticeable appearance.
Retainers: In some cases, minor alignment issues can be corrected using retainers alone, especially for those who have had previous orthodontic treatment.
Veneers: For purely cosmetic adjustments, veneers can be used to cover minor imperfections and create the appearance of straight teeth, though they don’t address alignment issues.
Surgical Orthodontics: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct jaw misalignments in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.
So, now that you understand how braces work, what’s your next step? There’s no better time than the present to address those crooked teeth. Consider scheduling an appointment with the experienced team at Relate Dental Care, located right here in Culver City, CA. We offer both orthodontic braces and clear aligners and are eager to discuss your best options for a straighter, more confident smile. Contact us today to book your appointment!