It may seem that the sole purpose of braces is to create flawless, beautiful smiles. However, straighter teeth and a properly aligned bite actually promotes better oral health. For patients considering braces, ask your dentist so he/she can recommend an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in straightening crooked teeth. But before you decide to speak with your dentist, you may have a few questions about braces. Such as the benefits of braces, how they work and how to care for them.

The Benefits of Straighter Teeth

As mentioned earlier, the benefits of braces may seem purely cosmetic. Yet, ask any dentist and they will assure you they make for an overall healthier smile. Sometimes, a dentist may even recommend orthodontic treatment to correct a malocclusion or bad bite. This is caused by crowded, crooked or protruding teeth or jaws that do not meet properly. Crowded teeth may cause oral health problems because they are harder to clean. As a result, people suffering from malocclusion are more apt to more oral health issues. Such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and jaw problems.  When teeth are straight it is easier to floss and clean those hard to reach spots. Also, having a properly aligned jaw prevents abnormal wear to tooth enamel.

How Braces Work

Braces work by applying continuous pressure to teeth, shifting them into a better, straighter position. There are two options for patients seeking a healthier smile. The traditional style, using brackets is fixed and can only be removed by a dentist. The other is a removable aligner that can be taken out. Both options may be offered by your orthodontist or he/she many recommend one over the other.

At first, it may take some time getting used to braces. They can cause soreness and discomfort for the first few days. The duration of the treatment depends on the severity of the patient’s bite and teeth alignment. However, most cases take anywhere from one to three years to treat. Afterward, a retainer may be required to keep teeth in their new position.

Proper Care

Proper oral care is detrimental to ensuring the best results while patients have braces on. It is important to continue a regular oral health care routine of brushing and flossing daily. However, it is recommended that more time is spent brushing and flossing. Sometimes, even special floss is used to get between wires and teeth. In addition to a strong oral health routine, patients with braces will need to avoid sugary foods. They can cause excess plaque buildup that can damage teeth. Avoiding foods such as caramel, gummy candies, popcorn and other foods that can get lodged between braces is also recommended.

Maintaining a healthy smile takes time and dedication. But there are things you can do to help get the best smile possible. Visiting your dentist regularly, having a consistent oral health routine and having straight teeth all are key components to a healthy smile. And though most orthodontic treatment is started between the ages of 8-12, that does not mean that there is an age limit to getting straight teeth. Braces and teeth aligners are effective at any age!! So contact your Dentist today and find out how you can improve your oral health!

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