Braces are used to help straighten teeth, close spaces between them, and correct a person’s bite. They consist of small metal attachments called brackets, an archwire, and connective rubber elastics. The brackets can be made from nickel titanium, silver, acrylic, porcelain or gold. They are cemented on the teeth that need to be altered in position, and are strategically placed on different teeth at each stage of the repositioning in order to perfect their alignment. Each bracket contains a small space allowing for the archwire to fit through it and connect the brackets with one another. The archwire is secured to the brackets with little rubber elastics, a continuous chain of elastics, or metal ties.

How it’s done

An orthodontic metal wire is banded in a specific way that is necessary to fix the misaligned teeth and is then attached onto brackets that have been bonded to your teeth. Gradually this wire will straighten, applying pressure to your teeth and shifting them in the process. This whole procedure will take from one to two and a half years, with adjustments made to the braces approximately every four to six weeks. After the desired outcome is established and your teeth have reached their optimal position, a retainer is worn to ensure that they won’t relapse.

How to maintain it

In order to safeguard your braces, try to stay away from tough meats, hard breads, raw vegetables and any sticky or chewy foods. It is vital not to bite into foods like apples, corn on the cob and carrots as this could lead to the detachment of the wire from one or more of the attached brackets or even the complete removal of the brackets themselves. If this occurs, a reattachment procedure will be necessary.

If you find the appearance of braces unsightly, a more comfortable and invisible option is the transparent aligner.