5 Fast Facts About Braces and Their Impact on Your Teeth

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Braces are the most popular form of orthodontic care and something we’re all accustomed to seeing on the smiles of kids and adults. But if you haven’t had first-hand experience with wearing braces, they can seem like a foreign object!

If you’re about to begin your straight-smile journey or have a child or teen who needs braces, here are the facts you should know to get started. And if you still have questions, our Omaha orthodontist, Dr. Leslie, offers a free consultation to get you started off right.

1. Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth and bites.

Orthodontic care encompasses a wide range of oral appliances, especially for pediatric orthodontics, but braces and clear aligners are the most common options. 

If you think you need braces, you’re in good company. Misaligned teeth are a common problem. In fact, as many as 9 in 10 people have some level of crookedness or crowding in their smile. A significant portion of the United States’ population opts for braces, with roughly four million people wearing braces. Of these four million, 25% of them are adults.

2. People choose to have braces for various reasons, including functional and cosmetic benefits.

Orthodontic care offers numerous benefits, and people choose to straighten their teeth for many reasons.

Bad bites and severely misaligned teeth can impair the function of your mouth, making it difficult or even painful to eat and speak. They can also contribute to or cause TMJ disorders, headaches, and chronic neck pain. Orthodontic care is a necessity in these situations rather than a luxury.

The cosmetic benefits of orthodontic care should also be considered. A straight smile can make you feel more confident and attractive, and even help you achieve more success in life. Straight teeth also tend to be healthier teeth as they are much easier to keep clean between checkups. 

3. The best type of braces for you will depend on malocclusion severity, age, and personal preference.

Your orthodontist will consider three factors when determining which method will yield the best results for your smile.

The first factor is the severity of the malocclusion (misaligned bite) and teeth misalignment. Moderate and severe alignment issues often require traditional metal braces as clear aligners can’t effectively treat them. Mild to moderate misalignment with otherwise healthy, well-shaped teeth can be treated with clear aligners.

The second factor is age. Now, age isn’t a factor in receiving orthodontic care, meaning you’re never too old for braces or clear aligners, but it does play a role in clear aligner candidacy for children and teens. Young kids or teens who may not be responsible enough to wear their aligners, will benefit much more from braces.

The third factor is your own personal preference. Unless you have a specific malocclusion issue that necessitates braces, it’s really up to you to decide which orthodontic option you want.

4. Treatment time can be as short as eight months or as long as two or three years, depending on your smile.

Treatment time varies widely between patients, so it’s impossible to know how long your plan will take until you’ve seen an orthodontist.

Mild malocclusions can be fixed in as few as eight to 12 months, especially if clear aligners are being used. Moderate to severe cases will naturally take more time to resolve, especially since traditional braces will likely be necessary. If your teeth have a lot of big gaps, crowding, or you have a significant over or underbite, you may need to wear braces for two years or more.

5. Wearing a retainer after braces are removed is essential for keeping teeth in place during the first six months to a year.

The feeling of having your braces removed or tossing away your last clear aligner is incredibly exciting! You’ve stuck through your orthodontic treatment, and now you have a beautiful, straight smile to share with everyone around you. The last thing you want is your teeth to shift back to their former alignment.

Following your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing a retainer will ensure your teeth remain correctly aligned. Even though it can feel like a bummer to go from one oral appliance to another, retainers are essential during the first six months to a year. Stick with it, and soon you’ll only need to wear it at night.

Dr. Leslie can give you all the information you need to start.

So, what’s the next step in your journey toward a straight smile and optimal oral health? We recommend booking a free consultation with Dr. Leslie, our dedicated Omaha orthodontist at The Tooth Doc.

Dr. Leslie provides orthodontic treatment for all ages and will make you feel welcomed, comfortable, and confident during every step of your treatment plan. Your initial consultation will allow you to meet Dr. Leslie, find out if you’re a candidate for the orthodontic option you have in mind, and have a one-on-one discussion about your ideal treatment options. You’ll also be able to ask Dr. Leslie any questions you have about braces, clear aligners, and straightening teeth.

Book your consultation today by calling The Tooth Doc office or requesting a visit online.