Dental braces take their time when treating your oral issues, no matter what type you use. Misaligned or crooked teeth can not only visually affect your smile but also alter the functionality of your bite, the structure of your face, and your overall oral health profile, so it makes sense that big changes take a lot of time to properly fix.
If you plan on getting braces, you may be wondering how they work, which type you should get, and how long it will take for the braces to straighten your teeth. Since braces are a significant investment in time and money regardless of your treatment plan, these are valid questions every patient deserves to have answered.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
How Do Braces Straighten Teeth?
Dental braces consist of two main parts: an arch-wire that bends around the outside of the teeth and the brackets, which are fastened to each tooth separately to connect the wire. The force of the wire gradually loosens the ligaments that hold teeth in place and convinces them to move into new positions over time.
This change can do more than straighten teeth. Braces can also fix an uneven bite by correcting the shape of your arches, which could be the source of your jaw pain or speech impediment. Underbites, overbites, and crossbites can be potentially treated without surgery by strategically using braces to correct the malocclusions that have caused the bite to be uneven in the first place.
With the rise of new technologies like 3D scanning and printing, orthodontists can create more accurate models of your teeth, plan treatments more effectively, and correct issues more quickly than ever before.
What Do Braces Feel Like?
Since braces use tension to create changes in your oral structures, you can expect a feeling of pressure that lessens over time as you get used to it. At each adjustment appointment, usually every 4-6 weeks, your orthodontist will review your progress and possibly tighten the wire to keep the treatment on schedule.
Braces should never hurt, however. If they do, the appliance may be broken. Contact your orthodontist if you experience a sharp pain or pain that won’t go away.
What Types of Braces are Available?
Different types of braces work slightly differently depending on the materials used and the straightening methods they employ. For example, while ceramic braces work similarly to metal ones, Invisalign or “clear braces” work using removable plastic aligners that are swapped out every 1-2 weeks as treatment progresses.
The type of braces you choose changes how long you will need to wear them, so factor this into your decision when asking your orthodontist about the right appliance for your needs.
How Long Do Braces Take to Work?
There is no single answer for how long braces take to work since every person is different. However, metal braces typically take 1-2 years to finish treatment, after which the patient has to regularly wear a retainer to ensure that the teeth remain in their new positions.
Several factors change how long braces take to straighten a patient’s teeth, including:
- The severity of the issue – Larger bite discrepancies, wider gaps, and more severe crowding take longer to treat.
- The age of the patient – As we age, our teeth become less receptive to change, making braces take longer to create the necessary corrections.
- The type of braces – While metal braces take 1-2 years, ceramic braces are less durable and usually take 1.5-3 years. Additionally, Invisalign usually takes only 6-12 months, though every patient is different, regardless of the appliance.
- Your oral hygiene routine – Believe it or not, by brushing and flossing inadequately, you could cause your braces to work less efficiently. This is both because your braces can become damaged by a buildup of plaque but also because cavities discovered during your treatment need to be treated right away, which often requires taking the braces off to visit the dentist.
- Damage to the braces – Braces can be damaged such as in an accident, a contact sport, or through disregarding your orthodontist’s dietary limitations. Hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods can damage dental appliances, preventing them from working properly until your doctor repairs them.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.