Braces, also known as orthodontic braces, are dental devices used to correct misaligned teeth and jaws for better oral health and aesthetics. They consist of metal brackets, wires, and elastic bands that work together to gradually shift teeth into their proper positions over time.
The concept of braces dates back to ancient times, with evidence suggesting that early civilizations like the Egyptians and the Greeks attempted to straighten teeth using various methods. However, modern braces, as we know them today, were developed in the early 20th century. The process of getting braces typically begins with a consultation with an orthodontist, who will assess the patient’s dental condition and create a customized treatment plan. During the initial appointment, small brackets are bonded to the surface of the teeth using a dental adhesive. These brackets serve as anchors for the wires that will guide the teeth into their desired positions.
Once the brackets are in place, the orthodontist threads a thin wire through them and secures it with elastic bands. The tension from the wire exerts gentle pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into alignment. Over time, the wires are adjusted and replaced as needed to continue the progress of the treatment.
While traditional metal braces are the most recognizable type, there are also alternative options available, such as ceramic braces, which are less noticeable due to their tooth-colored brackets, and lingual braces, which are attached to the back of the teeth for a more discreet appearance.
The duration of treatment with braces varies depending on the severity of the misalignment and the individual’s response to the treatment. On average, most people wear braces for one to three years. Throughout the treatment period, patients are usually advised to avoid certain foods that could damage the braces and to maintain diligent oral hygiene practices to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.