What To Know About Metal Braces
Traditional braces are comprised of brackets that are affixed to teeth and wires that are threaded through slots in the brackets. Some patients may also have metal bands encircling back teeth. Wires are held to brackets by tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” or “o-rings.”
Brackets are generally made of stainless steel. Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Orthodontia
Traditional braces could be more effective at treating extreme overcrowding than other options like clear braces or Invisalign aligners and are less expensive. They give your orthodontist the control he needs to move the teeth in small increments at a time. The main disadvantage of traditional braces is the metal mouth appearance. While less noticeable orthodontics like Invisalign may seem like a better choice for those who are conscious of their appearance, today’s braces are more visually appealing than in past years, with a range of color options for both the brackets and the elastics. Wearing these types of braces also means that you don’t have to worry about ever misplacing your aligners.
Taking Care of Your Braces
If you and your dentist decide that metal braces are the right choice for your orthodontic needs, some things to keep in mind include
- Avoid foods that aren’t braces-friendly. Avoid chewy foods, like caramels or other soft candies, as well as very hard or crunchy foods that could damage your braces. Certain fruits and vegetables can get stuck in your braces, and should be cut into small pieces. Your practitioner will likely give you a list of foods to avoid to keep your braces in good shape and decrease your risk of cavities.
- Brush and floss appropriately. Taking proper care of your teeth is always important, but it is especially true when you have braces. Brushing and flossing regularly will keep your braces looking good and help you avoid staining your teeth. Your dentist may recommend you use a special brush designed to get into the crevices and different surfaces in metal braces. It may take some practice to learn how to brush and floss around your braces, but it will get easier with time.
- Keep your follow-up appointments. Seeing your dentist and orthodontist regularly allows for any adjustments to the braces to be made and gives you an opportunity to have any questions or concerns addressed.
You will be wearing your braces for a fairly lengthy period, so it is important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions and care for them properly. While braces may seem like an inconvenience, once the treatment is over, your new smile will be all the reward you need.