Whether you were advised to wear invisible aligners or braces, we’re sure you have a lot of questions for your orthodontist. It’s important to ask these questions before choosing an orthodontic device. Keep in mind that once you’re under treatment your orthodontist will demand your complete commitment and cooperation to achieve a promising outcome. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about braces you need to read about before deciding.
What are braces and what makes them different from clear aligners?
You can instantly tell the difference between metal braces and clear aligners by simply looking at them. Metal braces consist of a wire that runs across your teeth and are held in place by metal brackets. Your orthodontist will glue one bracket for each tooth. Meanwhile, clear aligners are made of removable plastic trays. When it comes to fixing extremely complex dental issues most orthodontists would recommend traditional braces because they work faster compared to Invisalign or clear aligners.
Another obvious difference between the two is that braces are fixed while clear aligners are removable. However, your orthodontist will give you specific instructions to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day. The trays must also be changed every 2 weeks to accommodate your shifting teeth.
Typically, the average treatment time for metal braces is between 18 months and 3 years. The average treatment time for Invisalign is 6 months.
How Do Metal Braces Work?
How do braces cause your teeth to move? Braces function by constricting the ligaments on your teeth in one side while stretching the other side. While the ligaments are being compressed, the blood support on that side of the bone is cut off causing it to become necrotic. Your body responds by instigating the inflammation process wherein osteoclasts or bone-eating cells are released and eat the bone away on that side allowing the tooth to move. This explains why during the first few days following the adjustment of your braces you will feel pain and discomfort. Don’t worry; the pain is only temporary. On the side where the ligament was stretched, osteoblasts or bone-creating cells are released and generate new bone on that side of the tooth – a process known as deposition. It will then cement the tooth in place.
Do Your Teeth Return To Their Old Position After Your Braces Are Removed?
As soon as your braces are removed the only thing that will hold your teeth in their position is the bone underneath it. This is why it takes time to wear braces so that your teeth can be guided in their movement. When your braces are finally off your bone will begin to heal around your teeth and fix them in their positions. The entire process will take roughly 6 months but during this time your teeth are mobile and they can still move out of position. This is the reason why you will be asked to wear either fixed or removable retainers while you wait for the bone to heal completely.
Are Braces and Clear Aligners Safe?
Braces and clear aligners are definitely safe to use as long as a professional and licensed orthodontist installs them. Do not attempt to purchase DIY braces and watch YouTube tutorials online on how to make and install them as these can potentially cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. The safest way to straighten your teeth is to visit an orthodontist referred by your general dentist.
Although braces and clear aligners come with a price, if your teeth are crooked and overcrowded you may want to consider getting treatment. Crooked and overcrowded teeth are hard to clean and they can predispose you to oral health problems like tooth decay, cavities and periodontal disease.