November 30, 2018
When it comes to straightening teeth and improving oral health, traditional braces are one of the most useful tools we have. Braces have been around for many years, and have an impressive track record for creating beautifully aligned smiles! Starting treatment with Central Virginia Orthodontics can be exciting, but most patients do tend to have a few questions and concerns before having their braces put on. Below, we’ll outline everything you need to know before starting braces treatment so that you’re ready to proceed with confidence towards a straighter, healthier smile!
What are braces made of?
Brackets are what will be attached directly to your teeth, and are typically made from a mix of stainless steel, nickel, ceramic, or other materials. They have little hooks or doors, over which the wire is threaded, and are quite durable. Brackets can be secured by closing the door, or by applying an elastic over the top of the wire.
This is what our doctors will use to attach the brackets to your teeth. The glue is technically a form of composite bonding material. In complex cases that require more serious treatment, metal bands may be used together with glue to give the braces more leverage and stability.
This thin piece of metal runs from one bracket to another. Changes in the shape and curvature of the wire will move your teeth in the desired direction. In some cases, the wire will attach all the bottom or upper teeth together, but we sometimes cut the wire strategically if connecting just a few teeth is better for the overall treatment plan.
Elastics are essential for patients who need bite correction. They will usually be strung between an upper bracket hook and a lower bracket hook, pulling the upper jaw backwards to correct an overbite, or the lower jaw backwards to correct an underbite. We use rubber bands for many different situations, and they are especially helpful when we want to exert extra pressure on the teeth or jaws.
Other terms you may hear in connection with your braces are:
These stainless steel rings are cemented to the teeth using dental bonding agents, and can provide an anchor for the braces and other orthodontic appliances. They aren’t used with all patients.
These small elastic “donuts” or rings can be used to create space in between the teeth when needed, typically before bands are placed. They may also be referred to as separators.
How does the treatment process work?
At your first visit to our Lynchburg office, you’ll meet Dr. Baugher, Dr. Claiborne, and the rest of our team. You’ll be shown around the office before we get down to business by taking some diagnostic photos and X-rays. Once you’ve discussed your concerns, one of our doctors will complete a thorough exam before suggesting the best treatment options for your smile. We’ll then schedule you for an appointment to begin your orthodontic journey. This will usually be the day your braces are put on, and our team will be available to answer any questions you may have.
At Central Virginia Orthodontics, we offer traditional metal braces and clear ceramic braces. Both are extremely efficient at fixing tooth issues from simple to complex, and can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. You’ll often be able to see some signs of progress in a relatively short period of time with braces, something that can give you a boost of encouragement as you begin your orthodontic journey! The strength, durability, and affordability of braces make them a top treatment for orthodontic patients year after year.
Caring for your braces
Maintaining braces can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, especially in the early days, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of a good dental hygiene routine in no time! This is important for everybody, but particularly orthodontic patients. Food particles can get stuck in the nooks and crannies braces create, but brushing and flossing with brackets, wires, and bands can be tricky! Fortunately, there are a number of accessories available to help make oral hygiene easier for braces patients. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to help rinse hard to reach places, and ortho-picks are an excellent choice for braces-specific flossing.
There are also a number of food restrictions that come with traditional braces. To protect your braces and your teeth, you’ll need to avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy, like some fruits and veggies, popcorn, gum, nuts, and several types of candy and sweets. Keep in mind that this part is only temporary, and it will be more than worth it for the smile we reveal when your braces come off!
During the treatment process, you’ll be scheduled for follow-up visits with us about every 4-8 weeks. During these appointments, our doctors will check that everything is progressing according to your treatment plan. We do our best to keep these appointments short so you can get back to work, home, or school as quickly as possible, but it’s important that you don’t skip these visits! They’re an essential part of your overall treatment plan, and help us ensure you get very best results in the least amount of time.
“How long will I be in braces?” is the million dollar question…and one that doesn’t have any “one size fits all” answer! Because every patient is different, and responds to braces in their own way, treatment time will vary on a case-by-case basis. Though the average time spent in braces tends to be around 12-24 months, it could be shorter or longer, depending on your particular issues.
The first step towards a straighter smile with Central Virginia Orthodontics
The first step in any orthodontic journey is an initial consultation with experienced orthodontists like Dr. Baugher and Dr. Claiborne. If you’re in Lynchburg or the surrounding Central VA communities, and would like more information on how braces treatment can work to give you a healthier, more attractive smile, get in touch today to schedule your first visit with our talented team. We look forward to giving you the smile you deserve!