Today’s orthodontics offers more teeth-straightening options than ever before, but perhaps none are quite so well known as traditional metal braces, the metal wires and brackets that most people call to mind when they think of the word “braces.” By applying constant pressure to shift teeth into their proper positions, traditional braces can help solve a variety of mouth, jaw and periodontal-related problems, such as helping to improve patients’ orofacial appearance; correct jaw position, crowded or misaligned teeth, as well as overbites and underbites; and prevent gum disease.
Modern-day metal braces have come a long way since they were conceived in the early 1800s; they’re now smaller, less conspicuous and more comfortable than ever before. As a result, they remain one of the most popular and affordable orthodontic treatments for people of all ages who are wishing to attain healthy, dazzling smiles. Even celebrities such as Nicolas Cage, Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning, and Danny Glover have used metal braces to straighten their pearly whites.
What is the Procedure for Getting Dental Braces
The procedure for getting metal braces typically requires three phases of pre-treatment (the initial exam, diagnostic record exam and consultation), followed by a braces application session, monthly adjustment appointments and removal.
During the exam, we will discuss your desired results, the orthodontic problems you wish to correct, projected timeframe for orthodontic treatment and alternatives to traditional metal braces. If metal braces are deemed the best option, we’ll schedule a follow-up appointment during which we’ll gather diagnostic records of your face and teeth.
Diagnostic Record Examination
Information gathered during the diagnostic record examination will be used to create your custom treatment plan and provide a reference point for your progress during each phase of treatment. Diagnostic records may include photos of your face and teeth, plaster models of your teeth, and X-rays of your teeth and jaws.
After we’ve analyzed your diagnostic records, we’ll schedule an appointment with you to lay out the proposed treatment plan, discuss payment options and decide whether or not you wish to proceed in getting metal braces. If you decide to move forward, we’ll schedule your braces application appointment.
During your braces application appointment, we will thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. Next we’ll affix the brackets to your teeth with a medical-grade bonding glue. Once the glue has bonded, we’ll connect the brackets with archwire and secure them with o-rings in the color(s) of your choice. Typically, it takes 1-2 hours to complete the initial application process.
Adustments & Tightening
After getting your braces put on, you’ll need to come in for monthly appointments (roughly every 3-6 weeks) in order to make adjustments to the archwires and o-rings, and ensure that everything is going smoothly. Most patients keep their braces in place for 1-3 years before having them removed.
During the removal appointment, we’ll use dental pliers to remove all the brackets from your teeth, scrape and clean all the glue from your teeth, and take a mold of your mouth to fit you for your new retainer. Expect this appointment to take about an hour.
To hold your teeth in their proper positions, we recommend that you wear your retainer for at least 1 year, followed by nightly wear while you’re asleep. For best results, we recommend wearing your retainer at night for several years or indefinitely to prevent your teeth from shifting out of place.