Bay Area Orthodontics

Metal Braces

Metal braces are one of the most common methods for tooth alignment. They are often the first thing that comes to mind when talking about braces. With metal braces, the dentist will attach brackets made of stainless steel to the teeth with glue, wires, and elastic bands. These will help the teeth move into the intended alignment over time.

Modern metal braces are much smaller than before. There is also some customizability with the rubber bands attached. You even find some braces that use clips instead of elastics. Here are some of the most asked questions people have about metal braces:

Are Metal Braces Better?

There’s a reason metal braces are the common choice when it comes to tooth alignment. They’re exceptionally durable, resisting most chemicals from food entering the mouth and flexible enough for adjustment, with wiring to align the teeth. One of the only downsides of metal braces is that they’re noticeable.

Some may not want metal braces because people could make fun of them, and some lose confidence in their smile because of the metal. On the other hand, there are ceramic braces that can blend with tooth color. However, they’re a lot more expensive. They’re also more fragile than metal ones and can stain easily compared to metal braces.

Today, there are more modern techniques of alignment, like clear aligners. However, these are very expensive methods. Metal braces are also more effective at alignment when it comes to moving teeth into the desired position. They provide the balance of affordability and durability which makes them the better choice for many who want straight teeth.

How Long Do Metal Braces Stay On?

The length metal braces stay on depends on the condition of the teeth. Small gaps or minor crookedness problems will take around a year to fix. However, noticeable issues with alignment can lead to 36 months (about 3 years) of wearing braces. The amount of time all depends on the dentist’s assessment. Most people must wear braces for 12 to 24 months before removing them.

If you adhere to the dentist’s schedule and follow their suggestions, treatment may progress smoothly. For example, you should avoid eating hard food that may cause the brackets of the braces to dislodge. When this happens, you must visit the dentist again, and they may have to retighten your braces.

Tightening should also happen on a schedule to help ensure that the teeth constantly stay in position. Missing your tightening appointment may mean more time is needed to align the teeth. You might have to wear the braces longer than necessary.

Do Metal Braces Work Faster?

Compared to other treatments, metal braces do work faster. However, there is an argument that lingual treatments can be faster, but they do not work for all types of dental issues. Metal braces are a much more versatile tool, and, with their treatment speed, they’re a priority option for most dentists. Newer treatments like clear aligners work slower as a tradeoff for being almost invisible.

Ultimately, metal braces are a possibility you can always take. You’ll save the most time by using them to treat your teeth alignment issues.

Braces are a proven system, one that has worked for many patients since their inception. You’re sure to get the results you want compared to more experimental treatment. Because braces have been here for much longer, science has made advancements to make them more comfortable to wear. They’re also smaller nowadays while retaining the same efficiency. Braces decades ago were large apparatuses that made them uncomfortable for the wearer.

You’ll find that metal braces are one of the fastest options available. The average of two years wearing braces can fly by fast. From then on, you won’t have to worry about wearing braces again. The benefits of a beautiful smile will stay with you for the rest of your life.

How Painful Are Metal Braces?

Metal braces don’t have much pain associated with them. During application, one won’t feel anything at all because placing the braces isn’t invasive. The only time people will begin feeling something is during the first few days after the braces are tightened. Many people feel a slight discomfort, while others feel a nagging soreness from their mouth area as their teeth begin moving.

Many patients need some time before they get used to the feeling of the metal braces in their mouth. Their lips and cheeks may feel weird, but it’s usually a minor discomfort. Some may have to adjust the way they speak because of how braces feel in the mouth. In the worst case, patients can take over-the-counter medication if they can no longer tolerate the discomfort. Medicine like Advil works well for relief.

Other than that, patients only experience pain if the wire loosens from the bracket. In this case, the wire hits sensitive parts of the mouth, like the inner cheek. When this happens, it’s recommended going to the dentist as soon as possible to fix the problem. Doing so will resolve the issue, remove the pain, and ensure you’re on time with treatment.

What Braces Should I Avoid?

Most braces are fine, but you should be careful about the color of the rubber bands you choose. They can either complement you or make your teeth look weird. Some dark colors aren’t encouraged because they may be mistaken for food in your teeth. You should not have black rubber bands on your braces because they make your teeth look rotten.

Brown and green aren’t recommended either because they also look like food. They’re easily noticeable and won’t complement the teeth well. It’s also not recommended to have white rubber bands because of staining. White elastics tend to absorb color from food and drinks, turning yellow. In the same way, you shouldn’t wear yellow rubber bands because it will make your teeth look unhygienic.

One way to select colors for brace elastics is to choose one that complements your clothes or skin tones. Darker-skinned individuals can use gold, turquoise, violet, or blue rubber bands. Lighter-skinned people may want reds, lighter blues, or dark purple for their braces. Some darker colors are generally advised because they make the teeth look whiter.

You can also choose a color that you wear often to complement the colors. Some people may even choose rubber bands that match their eye colors.

Do Metal Braces Take Longer?

All types of braces tend to have the same treatment time. Again, it all depends on the condition of the patient’s teeth. Some people can have their teeth fixed within one year, while others may require three years. The dentist will give you a clearer picture during the consultation.

On average, metal braces take around 20 months (about 1 and a half years) to complete treatment. However, later assessments may have the braces staying for shorter or longer times.

The durability of the metal braces is what helps ensure their treatment time. People who have clear or ceramic braces tend to find that the treatment lasts longer. This is because the brackets are more fragile, and they have to return to the dentist more frequently. Instead of having continuous treatment, there are instances where they must get repairs and realignment much more often.

How Often Do Metal Braces Get Tightened?

A dentist can have someone with braces come back for regular checkups every four to six weeks because they will need to tighten the braces to slowly readjust the teeth. You must adhere to the recommended schedule to ensure that alignment happens much faster. This habit will prevent any setbacks that could lead you to wear braces longer.

Another reason why checkups are necessary is that the doctor will check the tooth and gums’ condition. They can clean any stuck food or plaque using specialized tools, which prevents infection and tooth decay. They can also check if the brackets are still intact and fix any issues they see.

The tightening of braces is noninvasive. Dentists will often replace the rubber bands with tighter ones to facilitate the alignment process. Each tightening may lead to some discomfort felt over the next few days, but it will eventually pass, and patients can take medication if they feel the pain or are bothered too much by it.

Assessments are when they evaluate your teeth’s alignment to see if you still need braces. Some people can have complete treatment in a shorter time than expected, leading the dentist to remove the braces earlier. There’s also a chance for the opposite, where the patient must wear them for a little longer. After removing braces, the dentist will clean the teeth, and you can enjoy a new smile.

Contact Us Today!

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call Bay Area Orthodontics today at (408) 709-7599 and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you.

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