Braces and Aligners


Braces are an orthodontic appliance used to straighten and correct the alignment of teeth. If you are a candidate for braces, your Orthodontist will recommend the type best suited for you.

An orthodontic appliance is prescribed based on a patient's age and his or her teeth and jaw alignment needs. There is a wide range of available orthodontic appliances.

The most commonly known orthodontic treatment are braces.

Braces can be prescribed for teens, adults, and children who have permanent teeth. They may be used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances prescribed to widen the palate or jaws or to shape the teeth and jaws. The average treatment time for braces is just over two years, but treatment time varies by the individual patient.

Fixed braces are not removable and worn 24 hours a day, everyday. Only an Orthodontist can remove fixed braces. Several types of fixed braces are available. Traditional braces (the most commonly needed orthodontic appliance), conventional braces (the type that most people think of) require elastic or metal ties to hold the archwire in place. Our orthodontists recommend are self-ligating braces which do not require elastic or metal ties. Self-ligating braces create proper tooth alignment faster, more comfortably, and with fewer adjustments or office visits than conventional braces. Ceramic braces are less noticeable than traditional braces because they tend to blend with the wearer's natural tooth color. They are similar to conventional braces, but because they are made from porcelain, they are more expensive and susceptible to damage.

Aligners are removable braces prescribed when teeth only need to be moved horizontally.

The patient must meet this criteria and be highly motivated to follow a strict regimen. Removable braces are worn 24 hours a day, everyday but may be removed for eating and drinking, or brushing and flossing. If removable braces are worn less than required, treatment time will be longer.

An initial review of your dental x-rays and exam of your teeth, gums, supporting bone structure, and any pre-existing dental work, an Orthodontist will recommend a treatment plan and answer your questions. If it is agreed between you and an Orthodontist that traditional braces are a good treatment plan, an Orthodontist will help you decide upon conventional or self-ligating braces.

When braces are first attached, each tooth that will receive the brace has its front surface prepared so it can receive a bracket bonding and composite material which is used to hold the small metal bracket to the tooth. A special light is projected onto the bracketed teeth to harden the composite material. Metal bands are placed on your first molar and archwires are threaded through the brackets If you receive conventional braces, either elastic or metal ligatures will be added. If you receive self-ligating braces, no ligatures are used. During the first week after being fitted with braces, or after having your braces adjusted by your Orthodontist, your teeth may feel achy. This generally subsides within a week. Typically, discomfort can be managed with the use of an over-the-counter analgesic used according to the package label. After the recommended treatment period, your Orthodontist will remove the braces and give you a retainer to wear for a prescribed time. The retainer helps keep your teeth from moving back to their original position.

We would be happy to discuss these orthodontic options for you or your child.