Questions about Braces in Dallas
What are clear braces?
Clear braces use plastic aligners to straighten your teeth rather than metal brackets and wires. The most famous example of a clear braces system is Invisalign®.
How do clear braces work?
Clear braces work using basically the same mechanism as traditional braces. Your bones are designed to remake themselves to relieve constant pressure. By putting constant pressure on your teeth, clear braces cause your bones to remake themselves around your teeth. Bone is removed from one side of the tooth and built up on the other side, allowing your teeth to move.
Because this process is basically the same for all orthodontic treatments, most orthodontic treatments take about the same amount of time. Your body is the limit, not the treatment.
Accelerated treatments like Invisalign Express (which may take only 6 weeks) are faster because they are used in cases where the amount of movement required is minimal, and usually only affects the front teeth that are not anchored as deeply in the bone.
How have traditional braces changed in recent years?
Although traditional braces use a basic technology that is more than 150 years old, modern options are also technologically advanced. Clear brackets and white wires allow them to be nearly invisible, and refinements to the technique allow for even more predictable and attractive results. Self-ligating brackets can be used that don’t require the use of small rubber bands that used to be common in braces.
Computer imaging and case planning have also been used to improve traditional braces.
What is the clear braces process like?
To have your teeth moved with clear braces, you will first have your current smile imaged digitally. This is basically an advanced photograph of your teeth. This data is fed into the computer, which then determines the ideal steps for moving your teeth into a straight alignment.
The manufacturer then makes a clear plastic aligner to complete each step. These are sent to your dentist’s office. Your dentist will then have you come in to fit the first aligner. If it seems good, you will wear it for two weeks, then switch to the next aligner. You will be given several aligners during each visit to your dentist, allowing you to go months between visits.
When you complete the series of aligners, your teeth will be straight.
What is the traditional braces process like?
For traditional options, you may have your entire treatment plan be done manually, using x-rays, photographs, and physical impressions of your teeth, but it’s becoming more common to use computer imaging for traditional braces as well.
Once a plan is made and agreed upon, brackets will be glued to your teeth. These brackets will then be attached to an archwire that has been bent into a precise shape that it will try to pull your teeth toward.
About every three to six weeks you will see your orthodontist again. The movement of your teeth will be checked. The archwire will be removed, adjusted, and/or replaced according to the needs of your case.
Will I have diet restrictions?
With clear braces, there are no diet restrictions. You can take your aligners out and eat normally.
With traditional braces, there are many diet restrictions. Orthodontists often encourage you to avoid sweets, avoid hard foods (including crusty bread and pizza), avoid foods you bite into with your front teeth (including apples, carrots, and meat on the bones), and chewy foods and candies.
Is special oral hygiene required?
There is only one special requirement with clear braces: you have to clean your teeth before putting your aligners back in. This means that you will have to brush and floss after every meal and snack, but it is still the same simple process as before.
With traditional braces, cleaning them can be difficult. First you have to brush your teeth around the braces. Then you have to floss teeth by threading them behind the archwire, using a different piece of floss for each tooth. An interdental cleaner is also recommended for cleaning teeth with braces.
Will I have to wear a retainer?
Yes. As with most orthodontic treatment, a retainer is required to ensure your teeth stay in their new positions while your body strengthens the bone around them. You will begin by wearing your retainer every night, then gradually shift to only occasional wear.
Can I speed up the process by switching to a new aligner faster?
No. You should wear each aligner for the recommended time. Remember, your body needs time to remake your bone around each tooth. Going through aligners faster can lead to loose teeth and a poor result.
What if I lose an aligner?
If you lose your current aligner before you’re finished with it, please contact us. We will either recommend that you go back to the previous aligner and wait for a replacement or move on to the next aligner.
Can brackets for my braces come away from my teeth?
Yes. If you bump your braces hard against something or eat very chewy or hard foods, they can come away from your teeth. This is not normally a concern, and can be quickly fixed.
Do clear braces hurt?
When you switch to a new aligner, you may experience some tightness and discomfort. This is typically less than people report from traditional braces. Normally, taking over-the-counter pain medication is enough to control your discomfort.
Am I a candidate for clear braces?
Most people who want to straighten their teeth can do so with clear braces. However, they are not appropriate for every orthodontic problem. The only way to know whether you are a candidate is to talk to a dentist.