Types of Braces
Braces are a big commitment, but the benefits they provide are tremendous for both your oral health and appearance. Better yet, our dedicated team here at Lakewood Orthodontics will do everything we can to make the process as smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a better, happier smile.
Dr. Patricia Simon offers several types of braces so that patients of all ages in the Lakewood area can be sure to undergo the orthodontic treatment that best meets their unique needs and preferences. These include:
Traditional Metal Braces
This is still the most common type of orthodontic treatment available, and thankfully, advances in the field have made them much more comfortable for patients. These braces are created from high-quality stainless steel and rely on brackets and archwires to slowly straighten your teeth. Children will definitely enjoy the option of having colorful elastic ties attached to their smile for a cool, unique look.
If you’re in the market for a less noticeable orthodontic option, ceramic braces could be your ideal treatment option. They’re made from ceramic and are more fragile than metal braces, but provide the same control of tooth movement as the metal braces. Dr. Simon will typically recommend for ceramic braces to only be placed on the upper front teeth instead of those on the lower arch.
Lingual braces are another more cosmetic-minded option for your smile. They’re customized to match the unique shape of your teeth and then placed behind them so that they’re virtually unnoticeable from the other side. Athletes, models, actors, musicians, and others who work in a professional field where appearance is crucial may be the best candidates for this orthodontic treatment.
Self-ligating braces are very similar to traditional braces in most ways but one – they actually don’t depend on the use of elastic ties. This seemingly minor difference can mean good things for the patient; they don’t have to attend as many check-ups at our office, and their teeth aren’t as exposed to same high level of friction during treatment. Metal or clear(ceramic) brackets can both be used, depending on your preference. After your initial consultation, Dr. Simon can tell you if this orthodontic option is right for your unique smile.
There are also several additional oral appliances that may need to be worn during or after treatment so that patients can achieve the most exceptional results possible. These include:
- Elastics – Also known as rubber bands, elastics help to improve how your upper and lower teeth fit together during treatment. All patients need to do is wear them as prescribed.
- Headgear – Headgear is primarily used in cases of overbites or underbites. They pull on the teeth so as to minimize any additional forward movement of your upper teeth and jaw.
- Palatal Expander – This appliance applies pressure on the palate so that your upper jaw can widen. Adjustments need to be made at regular intervals, and it needs to be worn for several months so that the changes can be solidified and the risk of regression is minimal.
- Positioners – For some patients a positioner is used for the final, permanent movements of the teeth once your orthodontic treatment is nearing its end. Patients should only need to wear them for four to eight weeks to achieve ideal results.
- Retainers – Retainers are a necessary element of orthodontic treatment, and they’re used to maintain the changes that braces have created after they’re removed from the patient’s teeth. Dr. Simon and her team members will be sure to explain how to properly care for your retainer and for how long you should wear it.
- Separators/Spacers – Separators may be placed between your teeth in order to push them apart, making room for bands. They’ll be removed before the bands are placed; in the meantime, patients should avoid particularly sticky foods and the use of toothpicks or floss in these areas.
So what happens after you’ve had your braces placed? You may experience some tenderness or soreness in the beginning, which is completely normal – we promise that it won’t last forever! One homemade remedy for relieving some of the discomfort is to dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a small amount of lukewarm water and swish the solution for a couple of minutes. Make sure not to swallow the saltwater. It’s also possible that early on, you also might experience teeth that feel strangely loose. This is also nothing to worry about, as this step is crucial when it comes to moving your teeth into the correct position. Once they’ve been successfully repositioned, they’ll get back to feeling fully normal.
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, many patients worry about how their diet will have to change as a result. Thankfully, there’s still a wide variety of foods you can enjoy worry-free, including most dairy products, bread items, grains, meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and sweet treats. We do strongly recommend, though, that you avoid particularly chewy foods, crunchy foods, sticky foods, hard foods, or foods that require some force to bite into, such as apples or corn on the cob, which can be cut into smaller pieces before eating.
Last but not least, make sure to wear a mouthguard if you play any sports so that your braces and teeth can be protected against potential damage. If an injury does occur, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Simon right away here at Lakewood Orthodontics.