What Are Braces and How They Help Your Teeth
What Are Braces?
Not many have to ask what are braces. That is because an estimated 4.5 million American kids and teens wear them, according to the American Association of Orthodontics. In fact, 80 percent of those undergoing orthodontic treatment are ages 6 to 18 and therefore grow up wearing braces. It is estimated that as many as 50% of young people in the U.S. require orthodontics.
Of course, braces are a dental appliance that orthodontists use to straighten or move your teeth. The purpose is to improve how your jaw aligns, how your bite works, and how your smile appears. In addition, they help prevent long-term health issues that could impact crowded or damaged teeth and gums. In the final result, they should also make eating more comfortable by spreading the pressure of your bite across all teeth.
How Orthodontics Help Your Teeth
Braces work by putting pressure on the teeth to slowly move them in the right direction. As the pressure takes effect, the bone in the jaw changes allowing your teeth and roots to move. Traditional braces are wire-based, fixed appliances that orthodontists use to correct crowded and misaligned teeth or jaws. Many people get them as young teens, but adults also benefit from braces. The goal is to properly align your teeth and jaws to produce an even bite and pleasing smile.
When it comes to correcting minor corrections, there is an optional treatment — a series of customized, removable appliances. These are clear aligners (not to be confused with invisible braces that are fixed). These may have a more acceptable appearance to some people. Your orthodontist can let you know if this solution is a good option for you. If you’re considering clear aligners, ask about the cost as well as the pros and cons.
For many people, a fixed appliance is the only option to properly correct alignment problems. The good news today is that modern materials and technologies make the experience of wearing braces more comfortable than ever before.