Are you considering straightening your teeth? If so, braces or aligners may be the right solution, especially if you have recently received braces or aligners and are unsure how to manage them. Then don’t worry—this comprehensive guide is here to help.
This guide will cover all the information you need to know about braces and aligners, from types of braces to how to properly care for them.
By the end, you’ll be a pro in taking care of your braces and aligners. So let’s get started!
Definition: What are Braces and Aligners?
Braces are metal or ceramic devices attached to teeth with brackets and wires to move them into the desired position gradually. These devices can also be used in conjunction with plastic aligners.
Plastic aligners are removable trays that fit over teeth like a glove, applying gentle pressure that helps move teeth into their desired positions.
Both braces and aligners can be used to help achieve a straighter smile.
Types of Braces and Aligners
There are several types of braces you can choose from.
Traditional metal braces are the most common type and are usually made of high-grade stainless steel. Depending on your individual needs, your orthodontist may also suggest ceramic braces, which are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
In some cases, your orthodontist may recommend lingual braces placed on the back of your teeth and completely invisible. There are also self-ligating braces requiring less tightening and fewer visits to the orthodontist.
Aligners are an increasingly popular choice for people looking for a more discreet alternative to braces. Aligners are practically invisible and can be removed for eating and cleaning your teeth.
Plastic aligners come in two forms: clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth like a glove (similar to retainers) or customised trays designed specifically for each patient’s needs.
There are several types of aligners, including Invisalign, ClearCorrect, and more. Your orthodontist can help you decide which type of aligner is best for your needs. Each type of device has its pros and cons, as well as cost differences; therefore, it is essential to discuss your options with your dentist before deciding which type of device is right for you.
Additionally, special considerations should be taken when using metal braces due to their size; they can make eating certain foods difficult or even impossible until they have been removed or adjusted.
The Straightening Process with Braces and Aligners
The length of time required for treatment with either braces or aligners varies depending on the severity of the problem being addressed; however, it generally takes between six months and two years for full results to become apparent.
When you get braces, you’ll need to schedule regular follow-up visits with your orthodontist to have your braces adjusted, and your teeth monitored. During these visits, the orthodontist will check the position of your teeth and adjust the pressure of your braces to ensure that your teeth are moving properly.
Proper care must be taken for desired results to be achieved; this includes avoiding certain foods such as sticky candy or hard nuts, which can damage the devices, as well as brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to keep plaque buildup away from the gums and teeth surrounding the device.
As treatment progresses, adjustments will need to be made periodically for results to continue moving towards the desired outcome; these adjustments usually occur every four weeks during regular checkups at your dentist’s office.
Unlike braces, aligners don’t use pressure to move your teeth. Instead, they work by gently pushing your teeth into the right position. Aligners must be worn for at least 20 hours daily to be effective. It’s important to be consistent with your aligner’s wear, as this will ensure that your teeth move into the correct position.
When you wear your aligners, make sure you’re avoiding hard or sticky foods to clean them properly and avoid breaking them.
Benefits of Braces and Aligners
Improved Oral Hygiene: Braces and aligners can help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile while improving your oral hygiene. Having straight teeth makes it easier for you to brush and floss normally, meaning you’ll be able to keep your teeth in tip-top condition.
Better Quality of Life: Having straighter teeth can drastically improve your quality of life and give you more confidence to smile.
Aesthetics: Braces and aligners have been known to provide an overall aesthetic improvement to one’s smile, making one feel more attractive. This is a particularly common benefit for those with crooked teeth.
Correction of Malocclusion: Corrective orthodontics can help treat certain malocclusions like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. Fixing these problems through orthodontics can help restore someone’s speaking ability and eliminate jaw pain.
Care for Braces and Aligners
After treatment, proper care of your newly straightened teeth is critical to maintaining long-term health.
This includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly; additionally, it is essential to pay attention to regular visits with your dentist during this time so that any potential problems can be identified early on before they become more serious issues down the road.
Regular checkups will also allow your dentist access any needed adjustments, if necessary, due to shifting jawbones or other factors that may affect your ability to maintain straightened teeth over time without further intervention.
Below we will discuss some of the care and maintenance you should be performing:
Once you have your braces or aligners, it’s important to do your best to maintain them. Failure to do so could cause you to have your treatment extended or start over with a new treatment plan.
Here are a few things to make sure you do:
Brushing and Cleaning Your Teeth
Brushing and cleaning your teeth is essential to taking care of your braces or aligners.
You will need to brush at least three times a day: once in the morning, again before bed, and after every meal. Brushing after every meal is best because food can become stuck in your teeth if left to sit for too long after eating.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching your tooth brackets. Brushing your teeth thoroughly after every meal will help reduce your chances of plaque buildup and tooth decay around the brackets of your teeth, which can lead to cavities.
Flossing daily is also important for helping you maintain good oral hygiene while wearing your braces or aligners. Flossing will help remove any food particles that may be stuck between the brackets of your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Mouthwash is not recommended because it can dry out your mouth, making you more prone to tooth decay, especially in the areas around your brackets and wires. If you must use mouthwash, consult your dentist or orthodontist first to make sure it’s safe to use while wearing your braces or aligners.
Dental visits are important for helping you maintain good oral hygiene while wearing your braces or aligners. Your orthodontist will use this time to check your overall dental health and look for any potential problems with your teeth and gums during your treatment.
A cleaning will also remove any accumulated plaque on your teeth and around your brackets or wires, leaving you with fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums.
Dietary practice modification is vital to maintain healthy teeth and avoiding cavities, disease, and other health issues resulting from a poor diet. Soft foods must be avoided initially. Hard foods must also be handled carefully to avoid damaging the mouth and teeth during treatment.
In addition, it is very important to maintain a balanced diet throughout the treatment process.
Avoid Sticky Foods
Sticky foods should be avoided while wearing your braces or aligners because they can easily get stuck between your brackets and wires, making it difficult to clean your teeth properly.
Avoid Hard Foods
Hard foods should be avoided while wearing your braces or aligners because they can easily damage the wires or brackets in your mouth, which can cause damage or even breakage to your treatment.
Soda and Soft Drinks
Soda should be avoided because it contains acids that are harmful to teeth and can cause decay. Soft drinks should also be avoided to prevent staining your teeth and damaging your brackets or wires while wearing them.
Sweets and Chewing Gum
Sweets should also be avoided because they contain sugar, which harms your teeth and can cause decay and cavities during treatment.
Chewing on ice or hard candy should also be avoided for the same reasons. Gum and hard candy are very hard and can easily damage your braces or aligners.
Smoking can cause discolouration around your teeth’ brackets, making it harder for you to clean your teeth while wearing your braces or aligners thoroughly.
It’s also been associated with gum disease around the brackets of your teeth, which can cause tooth decay during your treatment.
Well, there you have it!
These are the most important things to remember when caring for your braces or aligners! So follow these recommendations and do what’s best for your dental health and overall well-being!
Thanks to modern technology, achieving a straight smile doesn’t have to be complicated! With different types of braces available (including metal, ceramic, and plastic) and custom-made plastic aligner trays designed just for you, straightening up those crooked smiles has never been easier!
This guide gave an overview of everything related to braces and aligners so that you can make an informed decision regarding which option works best for you when it comes time to get those pearly whites back into shape!
Make sure you speak with your dentist if you have additional questions about what type of device might suit you best.