Traditional braces have been around for many, many years, and have a pretty impressive track record of successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues. In fact, when it comes to straightening teeth and improving oral health, braces are one of the most useful tools we have. If you’re considering braces treatment with Thacker Orthodontics, it’s an exciting time and there’s a lot to look forward to! Most patients still tend to have a few questions and concerns before deciding on treatment, though. Below, we’ll outline everything you need before you get your braces so you can start off feeling confident in your journey towards a straighter, healthier smile!
What are braces made of?
Brackets are the part of the braces that are attached directly to your teeth. They are typically made from a mix of stainless steel, nickel, ceramic, or other materials, and have little hooks or doors, over which the wire is threaded. Brackets can be secured by closing the door, or by applying an elastic over the top of the wire.
This is what Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan will use to attach the brackets to your teeth, and it is technically a form of composite bonding material. In complex cases that require more intensive treatment, metal bands may be used together with the glue to give braces more leverage and stability.
This thin piece of metal runs from one bracket to another. Changes in the shape and curvature of the wire will help move your teeth in the desired directions. In some cases, the wire will attach all the bottom or upper teeth together; other times, we will cut the wire strategically if connecting just a few teeth is better for the overall treatment plan.
Elastics are essential for patients who need bite correction, and will usually be strung between an upper bracket hook and a lower bracket hook. This allows the upper jaw to be pulled backwards to correct an overbite, or the lower jaw backwards to correct an underbite. We also use rubber bands for several different situations, and they can be especially helpful when we want to put extra pressure on the teeth or jaws.
Other terms you may hear in connection with your braces are:
These stainless steel can provide an anchor for braces and other orthodontic appliances. They are cemented to the teeth using dental bonding agents, but we don’t use them with all patients.
Spacers are small elastic “donuts” or rings that can be used to create space in between the teeth when needed, typically before bands are placed. They may also be referred to as separators.
How does the treatment process work?
During your first visit with us, you’ll meet Dr. Jim, Dr. MaryEvan, and the rest of our team. We’ll then complete diagnostic records in order to assess the right course of treatment for your case. These records will typically include a medical and dental history, a clinical examination, digital study models of the teeth, photos of your face and teeth, and digital x-rays. We use this information to develop a custom treatment plan for each patient, and they are also helpful in tracking treatment progress as your teeth begin to move under orthodontic care.
Once our doctors have evaluated your records, we’ll discuss our findings with you in detail, including the orthodontic treatment we believe would most benefit your smile, your lifestyle, and your goals. We’ll also go over any investment you’ll be making for your particular case.
After this initial visit is over, we’ll schedule an appointment for you to get your braces put on. This will usually take 1-2 hours. You’ll then see us every 4-8 weeks for adjustment appointments, which will generally take about 15-45 minutes. Our regular office hours are Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we offer a later day on alternating Mondays with appointment up to 6:30 p.m.
Our treatment options
At Thacker Orthodontics, we offer both traditional metal braces and clear ceramic braces. Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces, and are generally made of high-grade stainless steel or a mix of quality metal materials. They straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires, and also give you the option of adding colored elastics for a fun pop of personality! Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are much less visible on your teeth than metal braces. However, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as the brackets are slightly larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts. This is why we tend to only recommend them for older teen and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. It’s also why ceramic braces tend to be used more on the upper front teeth than the lower teeth.
Both traditional and ceramic braces are very efficient at fixing oral issues ranging from simple to complex, and can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. Since they get right down to work, you’ll often notice some signs of progress in a relatively short period of time. Seeing even a slight improvement in your smile can give you a big boost of encouragement as you begin your orthodontic journey! The overall strength, durability, and affordability of braces make them a top treatment for orthodontic patients everywhere, year after year.
Caring for your braces
One of the most important parts of orthodontic treatment is maintaining a good dental hygiene routine, but braces can make that a little bit tricky, especially in the early days. Hang in there! With a little patience and a lot of practice, caring for your braces will soon be second nature. If you’re struggling to remove all the food particles and debris from your brackets, wires, and bands, there are many accessories available that have been designed with braces patients in mind. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to target and clear those hard to reach places, and ortho-picks are a really helpful tool for braces-specific flossing.
Caring for your braces doesn’t stop with brushing and flossing. To protect your braces and your teeth, you’ll need to avoid eating anything too crunchy or chewy until treatment is complete. This includes some raw fruits and veggies, popcorn, gum, nuts, and several types of candy and sweets. Although this takes some getting used to, remember that this part is only temporary! All your hard work and dedication will be more than worth it when your braces come off and we reveal your beautiful new smile.
As mentioned above, you’ll be scheduled for follow-up visits with us about every 4-8 weeks. During these appointments, Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan will check that everything is progressing according to your treatment plan. We do our best to keep these appointments short so you can get back to work, home, or school as quickly as possible, but please don’t skip these visits! They’re a crucial part of your overall treatment plan, and help us ensure you get very best results in the least amount of time. If you have an emergency and cannot keep an appointment, please notify us immediately. Rescheduling can be difficult since we book most appointments 4-8 weeks in advance.
“How long will I be in braces?” is the question we’re asked more often than any other….and one we still don’t have a “one size fits all” answer for it! Because every smile is unique and every patient responds to braces in their own way, treatment time will vary from case to case. The average treatment time for braces tends to be around 12-24 months, but it could be shorter or longer for you, depending on your particular orthodontic issues.
Get ready for a straighter smile with Thacker Orthodontics
The first step in any orthodontic journey is an initial consultation with an experienced orthodontist. Thacker Orthodontics is proud to provide complimentary consultations for patients in Cincinnati, Hillsboro, and the surrounding communities. For more information on how braces treatment can work to give you a healthier, straighter smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation. The smile you deserve is waiting for you!