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People of all ages can benefit from braces. Braces, like other orthodontic procedures, are designed to straighten your teeth. Straight teeth are not only easier to care for and less likely to suffer from injury and decay, but also improve your confidence.

What Do Braces Do?

Braces and other orthodontic appliances apply gentle pressure to your teeth over a prolonged period of time, slowly shifting them into the right position.

What’s Wrong With Crooked Teeth?

The position of your teeth and jaws affect your bite, which is how well your top and bottom teeth come together. When the top and bottom teeth don’t come together correctly, its called a malocclusion or a bad bite.

Missing, crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth can all cause or contribute to a bad bite, as can thumb or finger sucking.

Individuals with bad bites may have trouble chewing some foods, and their teeth may wear down more quickly than those of individuals with good bites. Protruding teeth are also more likely to become chipped or broken, and crooked and crowded teeth can be difficult to clean. When we aren’t able to clean our teeth properly, we develop gum disease and tooth decay, which can lead to other serious health problems.

Bad bites come in many types, including overbites, crossbites, underbites, overjets, and open bites.

How Are Braces Applied?

Braces can be applied by either a dentist or orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specially trained dentist who has completed additional training in orthodontics. Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with correcting and preventing malocclusions.

First, your dentist or orthodontist will use glue to attach brackets (or bands) to each individual tooth. These brackets are then attached to archwires, which are typically held in place using rubber or wire ties.

The severity of your dental problems and your age will determine how long you need to wear your braces. While wearing braces, you will need to visit your dentist or orthodontist regularly over the coming months or years so that your braces can be adjusted. It typically takes longer to treat adults than children or teens, but most people who have braces wear them for about 2 years.

You may experience some discomfort when your braces are first put on, and each time they are adjusted by your dentist or orthodontist. It may take some time for you to get used to your braces, and your lips and cheeks may become irritated during this transition period. To protect your lips and cheeks, your dentist or orthodontist may provide you with relief wax, which you can apply to any parts of your braces that are causing irritation.

When your braces are first applied, or have been recently adjusted, you may want to stick to soft foods until any discomfort passes.

Could I Benefit From Braces?

Contrary to popular belief, orthodontic treatments such as braces aren’t just for children and teens. Your teeth can be moved at any age, and it’s becoming more common for adults to undergo orthodontic treatments to improve the look and health of their smiles.

Your dentist or orthodontist can tell you if orthodontic treatment is right for you.

In some cases, it may be better to begin orthodontic treatment before the adult teeth arrive. This is called interceptive orthodontics. Your dentist or orthodontist can conduct an orthodontic screening on your child, and determine if they will require treatment. By starting treatment before the adult teeth come in, your dentist or orthodontist may be able to treat or stop problems as they develop.

How to Care for Your Braces

It’s important to care for your braces properly, both to prevent damaging them and to avoid hurting your teeth or gums.

Never bite on hard things such as ice cubes or nuts, and don’t chew the ends of pens or pencils. You should also avoid sticky foods, such as toffee and gum because they can distort the wires of your braces, loosen the brackets, or even pull the braces off your teeth entirely. If your braces become damaged, you will need to visit your dentist or orthodontist to have them repaired.

If the ties or elastics come off one of your brackets, you may be able to replace it using a pair of small tweezers. If a wire is sticking out and irritating your lips or cheeks, you may be able to gently push it back into place using the rubber eraser end of a pencil, or carefully trim it using nail clippers.

However, it is vital that any problems be assessed by either your dentist or orthodontist. If problems are not fixed promptly, you may need to wear your braces for longer than originally planned.

While it’s already vital for you to brush your teeth at least twice per day, and floss at least once per day, individuals who wear braces need to be extra vigilant. This is because food, plaque, and other debris can easily build up around the edges of your braces. If plaque isn’t properly removed, it can cause permanent white or brown marks to appear on the surface of your teeth.

Wearing braces means that brushing and flossing is going to take you longer than it did before you got your braces. It’s critical that you brush your braces as well as the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

When your dentist or orthodontist installs your braces, they will teach you how to properly brush your braces and floss your teeth using a floss threader.

Children with braces should be supervised by their parents while they brush and floss to ensure they are doing so correctly.

While some of our older patients may remember braces as being large and obvious, modern braces are much smaller and less noticeable than their predecessors. Braces can now be made with tooth-coloured ceramic braces, which are less noticeable than metal ones.

Both braces and elastics are now available in a rainbow of colours, allowing you to personalize your braces and celebrate your unique personality.

For more information about braces, and whether you or your child might benefit from them, please speak to your dentist.

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275 Shawville Blvd SE
Calgary, AB T2Y 3H9

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