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Dental Braces

by admin on September 29, 2008

Orthodontic Braces (Dental braces or simply braces) commonly employed to straighten crooked or misaligned teeth come under a branch of dentistry known as Orthodontics.

Braces are employed in many cases of malocclusion such as open bite, deep bite, cross bite and other structural and cosmetic flaws. Braces shape your teeth in the desired form by constantly exerting pressure on the teeth in question. Braces can also used along with other orthodontic appliances for successful treatment of Orthodontic problems

Types of Dental Braces

Different types of Braces are required depending on the requirement of the patient. Orthodontic Braces are generally classified as

Traditional Braces

These are the ones that come to our minds when we think of dental braces. The stainless steel color wire covering the full mouth with metal brackets soldered on to the steel wire. These are now outdated and not preferred by patients generally but still present an economical option for the interested.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic Braces are not as apparent as the traditional ones and they tend to blend with the color of teeth and hence providing a more appealing alternative. They are susceptible to damage by accidental blows or trauma.

Lingual Braces

These are fitted behind the teeth and hence are not apparent from the outside.


Aesthetic clear braces resembling tooth color are marketed under the trade name Invisalign. They blend in with the teeth making them virtually invisible. Invisalign are a boon for patients who always needed braces but avoided them because of cosmetic reasons. They are removable enabling the wearer to snap them on and off when required.

However, Invisalign treatments tend to take longer, are costly and not preferred in complex orthodontic cases.

How Braces Work?

Braces work by application of constant pressure on the teeth over a period of time. Although the force applied isn’t substantially high, the constant pressure coupled with the time factor manages to reshape the teeth in the desired way.

When pressure is exerted on the teeth, they start moving in the desired direction. This causes the bony socket (which holds and serves as anchor point of teeth) to get remodeled based on the newly acquired position. This is known as bone remodeling which is carried out by selective deposition and resoption of the bone to support the newly acquired position.

Time is an important factor. You can’t apply a great force and expect to align your teeth in a few days as this will rather damage them. There is a limit to the force your teeth can handle. An optimum pressure along with suitable time achieves the best results in orthodontic treatments. The average tooth movement is 1mm per month although there is no standard and different people show different responses to the treatment

Procedure for getting Braces?

You should first consult an Orthodontist (A dentist specializing in Orthodontic Treatments) who will make an oral examination and determine whether you require braces.

Preliminary tests will be conducted such as impression making of your mouth and X rays. The results of these tests are analyzed to determine your exact requirements and a plan of action.

The Orthodontic treatment period can range from 6 months to 3 years or even more depending on the severity of the problem. In extreme cases, Orthognathic surgery might be the best viable option.

The teeth which will receive the brace will undergo a process called etching which creates micro-porosities on the teeth surface. A bonding agent is added which helps strengthen the bond between the teeth and composite. The composite is a material which is added to a single tooth and then a small square like metal piece (called bracket) is attached to it. A special light is then projected on the teeth with the bracket to help in hardening the composite so that it better retains the brackets.

This process is repeated for all the teeth which are to be shaped. Molar bands are metal bands that are placed on your first molar which make sure that the bracket sticks well. A typical archwire is then passed through the brackets and secured with ligatures.

Braces tend to hurt up to a week after getting them and the pain should subside soon enough. You should take regular visits to your dentist (generally at 1 month intervals) after getting your braces. The dentist may tighten, modify or even replace the arch wire depending on your teeth response to the brace.


Retainers are worn by the patient after the completion of treatment by the Dental braces. These are used to “retain” the newly acquired position of the teeth so that they don’t revert back to their original positions.

Retainers are essential to orthodontic treatments. Many people tend to give them a miss only to realize later that their teeth have shifted back to their original positions wasting all the time, money and effort they put in over the years.

The dentist will suggest a retainer specific to your needs and you need to make sure you stick to his directions.

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