Metal braces are the most common type of braces for orthodontic patients. Today’s metal braces are much smaller, flatter, and more comfortable than in the past. Patients of all ages choose metal braces to help them achieve straight, beautiful smiles.
Traditional metal braces are made of high quality stainless steel or titanium. The three main parts of your braces are:
- Brackets — Brackets are attached to the teeth using special glue that bonds them to the tooth surface and holds them in place.
- Archwire — The archwire is the thin metal wire that connects each bracket and puts pressure on the teeth to help guide them into place.
- Ligature Elastic (also known as the “rubber bands”) — Elastics, or rubber bands, are the colored ties that hold the archwires to the brackets. Your orthodontist will change the elastics at each appointment. Elastics may come in a variety of colors.
Once placed on your teeth, braces place constant pressure on your teeth, and the force of the pressure helps move teeth into proper position. At each appointment, your orthodontist may tighten the archwires. In addition to braces, some patients may need to wear rubber bands or headgear. Patients wearing braces may notice their teeth feeling a little loose. This is normal and temporary; once the teeth are done moving this feeling will go away.
Traditional metal braces are still the most popular, quickest, and most cost-effective orthodontic treatment available. Your orthodontist can help you determine what treatment is best for your individual case. Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment and learn more about how braces can enhance your smile.
When your orthodontic treatment is complete, you can look forward to a lifetime of beautiful smiles and teeth, improved self-esteem, and better oral health. While you have braces, you’ll need to take special care of them and your teeth to ensure a successful treatment experience. Here are some tips, tricks, and general instructions by Dr. Sadek and the DentalZen team about living life with braces.
Avoiding foods you like may not be fun, but eating things that you’re not supposed to eat can cause broken wires or brackets. These can not only be painful, but can actually prolong treatment. In other words, break the rules and you could be stuck with your braces for even longer!
Do not eat:
- Caramel and gooey chocolate bars
- Very sticky or chunky peanut butter
- Hard candies
- Chewy candy, taffy, and gummy bears
Use caution when eating:
- Chewy bread such as bagels – tear into small pieces
- Chips – eat them carefully and one at a time
- Corn on the cob – cut off the cob
- Apples and carrots – cut into small pieces
- Soda and sugary drinks – avoid these whenever possible, as drinking too much can cause tooth decay
Finally, don’t chew on any hard items such as ice, pens, pencils, or fingernails.
One of the most common questions asked at our Whitby, ON office about braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort. Our answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious about the placement appointment. There will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the newly placed brackets, which may last for a few days to a week. Most patients experience some discomfort the first four days to a week after their braces, expanders, and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment and/or an activation appointment. Our appliances and wires are cutting-edge, and exert very light force that de-crease any soreness associated with orthodontic treatment. However, some mild discomfort is still to be expected. Each person will gradually adapt to the discomfort associated with the orthodontic tooth movement.
Brush thoroughly after each time you eat a meal or snack. If you cannot brush right away after a meal, be sure to rinse your mouth with water. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle tooth-brush. Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth. You’re doing a good job if your braces look clean and shiny, and you are able to see the edges of the brackets clearly. Fuzzy-looking or dull metal indicates poor brushing. Braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear.
Floss every night before you go to bed. Use a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath the wires easily.
If you have any questions about orthodontic services, how to care for your braces or what you can or can’t eat – don’t hesitate to contact our Whitby orthodontist, Dr. Hani Sadek.