Crooked teeth do more than just impact the quality of your smile. They significantly impact your oral health, leaving you more vulnerable to cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage. Crooked teeth can also place uneven pressure on your teeth, leading to grinding and clenching. You may be faced with uneven tooth wear, pain in your jaw and temporomandibular joints, and even in your shoulders and back. At First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults, we can correct the alignment of your teeth with metal braces.

What are Metal Braces?

Metal braces are the traditional orthodontic treatment. They are still very popular, and highly effective. Metal braces consist of 3 basic components:

  • Brackets. Metal brackets are affixed to the front surfaces of your teeth using special dental cement. These brackets are placed during your first appointment and remain in place throughout the duration of your entire treatment.
  • Metal bands. These bands are placed around your very back teeth. They function to anchor your wires in place.
  • Wire. A metal wire spans across your arch of teeth. It is affixed to each bracket with an elastic O-ring, or ligature. The wires perform the work to move your teeth.

There are a few other types of components that may be used during your treatment to help achieve proper alignment. These components may include things such as rubber bands, springs, or power chains. During your initial consultation, we can help to determine exactly what components will be needed to optimize your orthodontic treatment.

How Do Metal Braces Work?

With metal braces, the wires, also called archwires, are responsible for the realignment of your teeth and jaws. The wires put pressure on your teeth. This puts pressure on your periodontal ligaments, widening them and causing your teeth to become loose. The wires are then able to guide your teeth into proper alignment. Once aligned, the wires help to hold your teeth in place while your periodontal ligaments and jawbone heal around them, stabilizing them in their new positions. It takes about three months for new tissue to begin growing, and about a year for your teeth to be stabilized.

Who is a Candidate?

Metal braces are typically seen in adolescents, typically between the ages of 11 and 13. At this age, the jawbone is still growing and developing, making it easier for the teeth to be moved to their ideal positions. Braces are typically recommended after the last of the adult teeth, except for the wisdom teeth, have grown in.

While braces are common in young adolescents, they can also be an effective treatment for older teens and adults as well. Older patients who get braces tend to do so because they could not afford treatment at a younger age or because they have previously undergone treatment, but their teeth have shifted back out of alignment.

Benefits of Metal Braces

Metal braces offer several benefits, including:

  • Improving your smile.
  • Improving your oral health, reducing your risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage.
  • Improving your ability to chew properly, which improves your digestion and overall nutrition.
  • Alleviating pain associated with bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder.

With metal braces, we can help improve your smile, your oral health, and your quality of life. For more information, and to find out if metal braces are right for you, call First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults today at (203) 292-9595.