What Most People Want to Know About Getting Braces

Getting braces is still a popular option for people who want to have straight teeth, whether for themselves or for their teenager. There are more choices for braces than ever before, and the process of having them on might not take as long as you assume. Note a few things that most people want to know about getting braces and then discuss this option with an orthodontist.

1. How long do people need to wear braces?

There is no one answer to this question, as it will depend on the severity of the problem being addressed by braces and if the mouth and jaw should change shape and grow while the braces are on. It also depends on the person; if you fail to take care of their braces, wear the supportive rubber bands that help keep them in place, and so on, it might take much longer to get your teeth straightened.

2. What if I only need one or two teeth straightened?

There are options available today for those who only need a few teeth straightened, usually just their front teeth to improve their smile. An orthodontist can apply a partial set of braces over just the front teeth, or just your top teeth, or wherever you have issues with your smile, an overbite, and so on. Don't assume that you need a full set of braces to correct just one or two misaligned teeth, but discuss the options available to you with your orthodontist and note what would work best for your condition.

3. Can a retainer work instead of braces?

A retainer works to "retain" or keep teeth in place, not to nudge them into a new place. Most people wear a retainer after having gotten their braces off to keep teeth in place while they heal and become permanently affixed in their new spot. A retainer itself often does little good to correct crooked teeth, so you might not want to count on that option for yourself.

4. Why get braces for crooked teeth if I don't care about their appearance?

Very crooked teeth can be difficult to clean so they can lead to tooth decay and even eventual tooth loss. Your jaw may not be getting proper support when teeth are misaligned, leading to jaw pain. Very crooked teeth can cut into your cheeks and gums and, in turn, make you more susceptible to oral infections. These are just a few reasons to consider braces even if you're not concerned about the appearance of your teeth.