A beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. People like feeling confident about their teeth and smile. But, in addition to providing a gorgeous new smile, braces offer additional benefits. Orthodontic treatment can also improve how your teeth fit together and minimize or avoid how quickly your wear down your teeth. Braces can help put your teeth in the proper position so that they function better when eating or speaking. Straight teeth may also help some people clean their teeth better and avoid the tooth decay and/or bone disease that results from poor oral hygiene.
Orthodontic appliances are typically made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color and the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth with less discomfort to patients.
The length of orthodontic treatment is different for every patient and is largely determined by the severity of the problem being corrected. Patients also grow at different rates and will respond in various ways to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. However, treatment time typically ranges from one to three years for individuals who require braces on all their teeth. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive or early treatment procedures for younger patients may take as few as six months, but can also range as high as 18 months. The duration of treatment depends a lot on the growth of the individual patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem.