Dental braces are devices used to correct crowded or crooked teeth, or a misaligned jaw, known as malocclusion.
Braces are most often used during adolescence, but more and more adults are getting corrective dental braces later in life.
Braces are made of metal or ceramic, wires, and bonding material that attaches them to your teeth. An orthodontist is a doctor who specializes in this kind of device and treatment for misaligned teeth.
Types of Braces
The type of braces that your orthodontist recommends will depend on several factors, such as your age and whether you have an overbite in addition to having crooked teeth. Braces are custom-made and individual to the needs of each person.
Classic braces that come to mind for most people are made of metal brackets that are glued individually to each of your teeth. An archwire puts pressure on your teeth and jawline, and elastic O-rings connect the archwire to the brackets.
The archwire is adjusted periodically as your teeth slowly move into the desired place, and the elastic bands are switched out at orthodontist appointments.
Other types of braces include:
- ceramic “clear” braces, which are less visible
- lingual braces, which are placed completely behind your teeth
- invisible braces, also called aligner trays, which can be taken off and placed back on throughout the day
Retainers are aligner trays you’re usually given after completing treatment with traditional braces. They’re used to keep your teeth in their new place.