Our dental practice is pleased to offer braces in Chicago, Illinois, to help our patients achieve healthier, more beautiful smiles! If you are interested in straightening your smile with braces, we invite you to learn about our orthodontic team by clicking here, and by reviewing the information below. If you have any questions, and if you would like to set up your braces consultation, we invite you to contact us today at (773) 327-6500.
What are Braces?
Dental braces are a simple, effective, and time-tested way to straighten crooked teeth and correct a misaligned bite. Braces work by cementing a bracket to each individual tooth and stringing a wire through each bracket. The wire and brackets are held together with small rubber bands. The entire braces system is held in place with a few bands that wrap around at least one molar on each side of your mouth.
When to Get Braces
There is no set age limit for patients to receive braces. Generally, braces are ideal for children between the ages of 10 and 14 because their mouths are still growing, and it is easier to move their teeth or bite into the correct position. However, older teenagers and adults are also good candidates for braces, receiving treatment that is just as effective as it is for younger patients.
Because every patient is different, there is no set treatment time. The length of your treatment will depend on your condition and what results you are looking to achieve. Treatment time will also vary based on how well you care for your braces. Those who maintain good dental hygiene, wear their rubber bands as directed, and follow other directions provided by their orthodontist can expect to finish their treatment on time; those who do not care for their braces may have to extend their treatment time.
Most braces treatments last for about 13 months. However, treatment time can extend up to 18 or 24 months, or it can be around a year. When you come in for your consultation, your orthodontist will evaluate your condition and create a treatment plan that is specific to your needs, informing you of how long you can expect your treatment to last.
Benefits of a Straighter Smile
Some people get braces to straighten their teeth and achieve a more attractive smile. While it is important to have a smile that you enjoy, straighter teeth also make it easier for you to maintain good oral hygiene. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, which makes it easier for you to avoid developing dental issues such as cavities and periodontal disease. Braces can also correct misaligned bites, which can reduce jaw pain associated with structural issues in the jaw, and it can make it easier for you to chew and speak.
Caring for Your Braces
During your braces treatment, it is important to maintain a routine of good dental hygiene, just like you would without braces. By properly caring for your braces, your teeth will remain healthy throughout your treatment, and your treatment may be able to be completed faster. To care for your braces, simply follow these guidelines:
- Regular brushing and flossing: brushing your teeth should be the same as what you did before you got your braces. Flossing, however, may prove to be more difficult. In order to floss properly, you will need to insert the floss underneath the wire. Your orthodontist can show you how to floss when you begin your braces treatment.
- Wear mouth guards: although your brackets are cemented to your teeth, they can break off with enough force, such as during a sports game. To prevent a bracket from becoming loose or breaking off, wear a customized mouth guard during any sporting activity, including practices.
- Eat healthy: because it is a little harder to clean your teeth with braces, it is important to avoid excessive amounts of sugary or acidic foods and drinks. By limiting the amount of harmful foods that you eat, you can limit the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth.
Foods to Avoid
When you have braces, it is important that you maintain a diet that is braces-friendly. This means avoiding foods that can damage your brackets or get stuck around your appliances. During your treatment, your orthodontist will help you know which foods are okay to eat and which ones you should avoid. Generally, however, you should avoid the following foods:
- Sticky candies, such as caramel and taffy
- Hard taco shells
- Hard candy, such as Jolly Ranchers
- Hard crackers or cookies
While it is important to avoid hard foods, you do not have to cut every hard food out of your diet. In some cases, you can cut harder foods into bite-size pieces. Some of these foods include:
- Raw fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, and celery
- Hard rolls and bread, such as French bread
- Corn on the cob
- Sub sandwiches
If you have any questions about braces or what you can expect during your braces treatment, please feel free to contact our office and talk with your orthodontist. We want your treatment to be successful, and for you to achieve the straighter, more beautiful smile you want!