What to Know About Metal Braces?

A variety of orthodontic options exist today for people looking into getting braces. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign aligners, it can be a challenge to decide which choice is the best for your particular needs. Your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist who can work with you to explain the benefits of each type.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Orthodontia

Traditional braces are more effective at treating extreme overcrowding than other options like clear braces or Invisalign aligners and are less expensive. They give your orthodontist the control he needs to move the teeth in small increments at a time. The main disadvantage of traditional braces is the metal mouth appearance. While less noticeable orthodontics like Invisalign may seem like a better choice for those who are conscious of their appearance, today's braces are more visually appealing than in past years, with a range of color options for both the brackets and the elastics. Wearing these types of braces also means that you don't have to worry about ever misplacing your aligners.

Taking Care of Your Braces

If you and your dentist decide that metal braces are the right choice for your orthodontic needs, some things to keep in mind include

  • Avoid foods that aren't braces-friendly. Avoid chewy foods, like caramels or other soft candies, as well as very hard or crunchy foods that could damage your braces. Certain fruits and vegetables can get stuck in your braces, and should be cut into small pieces. Your practitioner will likely give you a list of foods to avoid to keep your braces in good shape and decrease your risk of cavities.
  • Brush and floss appropriately. Taking proper care of your teeth is always important, but it is especially true when you have braces. Brushing and flossing regularly will keep your braces looking good and help you avoid staining to your teeth. Your dentist may recommend you use a special brush designed to get into the crevices and different surfaces in metal braces. It may take some practice to learn how to brush and floss around your braces, but it will get easier with time. Learn more about proper flossing techniques in the Colgate Oral Care resources.
  • Keep your followup appointments. Seeing your dentist and orthodontist regularly allows for any adjustments to the braces to be made and gives you an opportunity to have any questions or concerns addressed.

You will be wearing your braces for a fairly lengthy period, so it is important to follow your orthodontist's instructions and care for them properly. While braces may seem like an inconvenience, once the treatment is over, your new smile will be all the reward you need.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Oral Care Tips Related to ADULT ORTHODONTICS

  • Flossing – creating a flossing routine is important during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists and hygienists may recommend interdental brushes or floss threaders to make getting in between teeth easier.

  • Brushing routine – using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. Begin brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.

  • Fluoride mouthwash – after brushing and flossing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and white spots.

  • Mouthguards – wear a mouthguard if you play sports. Mouthguards can protect your cheeks and lips from serious cuts and can prevent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance if you fall down or are hit in the face.