For many patients who question whether they should get braces, the answer is pretty straightforward. Our Charlotte orthodontics team often recommends that braces are a good choice to solve dental problems for patients from young to old. Although there is no set period of treatment, the time it takes to straighten your teeth can vary, often depending on age, physical condition, and the level of dental correction required.
Not only can dental braces help resolve multiple types of problems in your mouth, but they can also help you feel much better about yourself. In cases where teeth are misaligned, there is an overbite or underbite, or where a tooth is missing, we might suggest that patients get braces so their mouth will have a more natural and uniform appearance.
Braces may also help the patient chew more evenly and can help reduce some pain they may be experiencing. Today, there is far less concern about comfort levels and appearance with braces than ever before. In the “old days” getting braces might have been a cumbersome process, but modern orthodontics offers many comfortable and natural-looking options. These can vary from appliances which are attached to the teeth to using a series of trays to help bring teeth into a better alignment:
- Metal Braces: These are probably the type of braces that most people are familiar with — the traditional brackets, wires, and “rubber bands.” But they are not the bulky kind you might remember. Great advances in orthodontic care have made today’s metal braces much smaller and far more comfortable than they were in the past. Many of our teen patients even choose from a variety of colors to show school spirit or make a unique fashion statement!
- Clear Braces: People might not want others to know they are wearing braces for a variety of reasons. Although this is more likely in our adult patients, some teens prefer the ceramic or clear braces option as well. These alternatives achieve the same goals as traditional metal braces but are simply not as apparent to the casual observer. The wearer does not feel self-conscious about wearing braces and can smile with confidence.
- Invisalign Clear Aligners: With a similar purpose of readjusting teeth in the mouth, clear aligners differ from braces in that they are not directly attached to the teeth. They are instead a series of custom-made plastic trays that gradually shift the teeth into their desired position and are usually most effective for those patients who only need a minor orthodontic correction.
What are the Dental Conditions Which Might Affect Your Ability to Get Braces?
In most cases, the decision to get braces is simple and straightforward — you have a dental condition that can be corrected with braces, and we have many options to suit your specific needs. But some patients have had previous dental work completed in their mouth which can make them concerned about the effect of adding braces. That is certainly a valid question to ask as they don’t want to lose the investment they have already made, and definitely, do not want to do any damage to the work that has been completed.
This concern is expressed most often with patients who have dental implants, crowns, and veneers. They wonder whether it is a good idea for them to get braces, or if they should just leave their mouth in its current condition. Although each case is different, and our orthodontists will make a recommendation only after a thorough evaluation of your tooth, jaw and gum structure, we do have many options we can access that will help make braces work for you.
Braces with Veneers
A veneer is a thin layer of ceramic, porcelain, or dental composite material which is placed over the visible portion of a tooth to improve its appearance. Although we would prefer to apply the braces before the veneers, this is not always possible with all patients. In the case of veneers, we will use a very precise technique to attach the braces and may use a special adhesive for this purpose. We also remove the braces very carefully so as not to cause damage to the veneer. In some cases, we might recommend the use of Invisalign clear aligners in place of the traditional brace structure.
Braces with Crowns
A crown is a “false” tooth made of ceramic, porcelain, gold or other materials that is affixed over the base portion of an existing tooth. They are usually placed on teeth that have been cracked, chipped or broken. The natural tooth structure remains in place under the gum line and can be moved through the process of braces. If you have an existing crown, we can fit braces over it and will use a different type of adhesive to apply the braces so that we do not damage the crown. Here again, it might also be helpful to use the Invisalign clear aligners as they do not require any adhesive at all. In some cases, we may recommend that you wait until after the course of braces has been completed to have any crowns placed in your mouth. This will help achieve an even greater degree of uniformity with your newly-realigned teeth.
Braces with Dental Implants
Dental implants are different from dental crowns in that they affect the root structure of the tooth and are used to replace teeth that have been severely damaged or lost. A titanium post is inserted directly into your jaw bone to replace the missing tooth structure. A crown is then attached to this post to simulate the appearance of your natural tooth.
When it comes to braces though, the fact that the post is inserted into the jaw means that it is not moveable; however, that does not mean you cannot get braces. We may be able to work with you before the implant is placed to rearrange the surrounding teeth while leaving a space for your new implant. If the implant is already in place, we can still go ahead with braces if the teeth that need to be aligned are not in the surrounding area.
In other cases, we can use the dental implant as an anchor point and use that to provide the force necessary to move the surrounding teeth or focus on other areas so that your teeth are not strictly moved to be in alignment with the implant. In the most unlikely scenario, we can remove the implant, realign your teeth, and replace the implant after the course of treatment with braces is complete.
In any case, it is always best to have an experienced orthodontist place the braces in your mouth and follow your course of treatment carefully. After a thorough examination and discussion of your medical history, our dental care team will develop an individual care plan that is just right for your unique dental needs. Call the OrthoCare Orthodontics office nearest you to set an appointment for a complimentary consultation, and let us help find the braces that best meet your exact orthodontic needs.