Dreaming of the ultimate Hollywood smile and weighing up the different options for orthodontic treatment is bound to leave anyone feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive – are braces painful? How do they work? How long will it take to straighten my teeth? How will I look both during and after treatment? These are questions we hear from patients every day. So if you are considering orthodontic treatment and think metal braces could be the solution for you, here’s everything you need to know:
All About the Metal
The traditional metal brace is one of the most effective orthodontic solutions for treating overcrowding – it’s durable and the most affordable orthodontic solution to getting the smile you’ve always wanted.
The traditional ‘train track’ braces are a thing of the past – we’ve evolved! Modern metal braces are smaller than ever before and more comfortable with strong adhesives too.
Made from high-grade stainless steel, metal braces are very small and thin, and straighten your teeth with brackets and arch wires. The metal braces are fitted to the front surface of the teeth with bonding ‘‘glue’’ and a thin metal wire runs across each bracket. The brackets push the teeth into the desired position by the consistent, but gentle pressure of the wire.
Some patients will also need orthodontic bands adding to their brace to help improve the alignment of their bite. The bands are very small and act as an additional pressure to help move the teeth to the corrected position, hooking onto the brace from the top teeth down to the bottom.
Patients also have the option to customise the colour of their brace for a treatment plan as individual as they are, and they can change the colour during each check-up appointment too. If, however, you were hoping for a more discreet look, then you can have clear/tooth-coloured braces instead.
The duration that patients need to wear their metal brace varies, but can take up to 18 months. The variation will depend on the severity of the misalignment. During this time patients will need to have their braces adjusted every 6–8 weeks (approximately) so your orthodontist can monitor the progress of your teeth and, if necessary, adjust the brace to ensure it continues to exert the right amount of pressure to move the teeth.
Fitting and removing metal braces is a straightforward process. Your orthodontist will use a special metal device to loosen each of the brackets which will pop the braces off in one piece (both the brackets and the archwire).
Aftercare for Metal Braces
Once your brace is removed, your dentist may fit a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new position after treatment. Some patients are required to wear their retainer for a set period of time both during the day and whilst sleeping, others just need to wear retainers at night – your orthodontist will explain what is best for you.
It’s no secret that maintaining good oral hygiene is essential. During treatment, it is recommended that patients brush their teeth after every meal and avoid sugary drinks and crunchy/chewy foods that could damage the brace. And after treatment, patients are advised to continue brushing their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day in order to keep their teeth clean and remove any food debris that may have got stuck in their mouths.
The Pros and Cons of Modern Metal Braces
- Metal braces are the least expensive type of orthodontic treatment making them a popular choice among patients.
- They are very robust and incredibly durable too.
- Despite the development of metal braces in recent years, they are still more noticeable than their competitors (ceramic and lingual braces or Invisalign for example).
It’s important to remember that braces aren’t forever and there is no age limit for orthodontic treatment. At Orthodontics For You, our friendly team of specialists are on hand to help you feel as comfortable and as confident as possible, one smile at a time!
So what are you waiting for? Why not book a virtual consultation today?