If your dentist has recommended braces in your near future, you may be slightly worried. When most people hear that they are going to need braces, thoughts of extreme oral pain and long, tedious trips to the orthodontist immediately come to mind. However, learning about the entire procedure can clear up any misconceptions that you may have, and help you to understand how braces work to re-align and straighten your teeth and jawline.
When Braces Are Needed
You may want braces if your teeth are crooked or uneven, but braces can also help to eliminate underbites and misalignment of the jaw. In some cases, extreme tooth pain and oral complications can require the installation of braces in order to eliminate the discomfort of a patient. However, braces typically fall under the category of "cosmetic dentistry," and are rarely needed in emergency situations.
As braces are mostly an elective treatment process, you may need to contact your health insurance provider in order to determine whether or not your future braces will be covered by your insurance policy. However, many orthodontists finance the treatment through their own office, setting you up with a payment plan so that you don't have to pay the entire cost of the braces up front.
Preparing For Braces
Before your new braces can be installed, your orthodontist will need to perform some steps to prepare your teeth for the long road ahead. These steps are listed here:
- X-rays help the dentist to decide the best way to tackle your specific oral situation. Proper x-rays can determine how much movement needs to take place to correctly align your teeth and jaw.
- A putty impression of your mouth is taken to give the orthodontist a three-dimensional representation of your mouth. This allows for the dentist to track the movement and rearranging of your teeth throughout the entire process.
- Your teeth will need to be thoroughly cleaned pending an installation of new braces. Since portions of your teeth will be inaccessible by toothbrush or floss while the braces are installed, these areas need to be thoroughly detailed to prevent any dental decay or damage.
Once all the preparation work has been completed, your orthodontist will schedule an appointment for the installation of your braces.
How Braces Are Installed
A typical braces installation takes about two hours, and is performed in full at your orthodontist's office. Here are the steps that take place when braces are installed on your teeth:
- The orthodontist will place a small portion of a bonding agent the middle of a tooth.
- This glue will taste fairly sour, but it is non-toxic and completely harmless.
- A small metal bracket is placed on the bonding agent, effectively gluing the bracket to your tooth.
- Steps 1 and 2 are repeated for each tooth.
- Once the brackets are in place, a thin, metal wire is placed so that it runs through each bracket.
- This wire is used to pull all of your teeth into the shape and location chosen by your orthodontist over a significant amount of time.
- You will feel some pressure once the wire is installed, as it will be pulling on the brackets that are attached to your teeth.
- Small rubber bands are put into place over the brackets, keeping the sharp metal edges from harming your inner lips, tongue, and gums.
- When trying to overcome an overbite, longer rubber bands are installed between the upper and lower brackets. This small amount of pressure over time forces your jaw to move and settle wherever the orthodontist desires.
Once the braces are installed, you will feel some discomfort for about a week. Your gums will be sore, your lips will likely begin to chap, and you will be eating only mushy or liquid food for a day or two. However, aside from periodic adjustments, this is the only pain you will feel as a result of your new braces.
The More You Know
Now that you have an in-depth understanding of the braces installation process, you can decide for yourself whether or not it's worth it to have the procedure performed. However, with the added knowledge that the procedure is only mildly painful, you can see why many people choose to go through with the procedure.
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