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Why do you need braces?
Braces and retainers are a type of treatment for people with crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Many general dentists can help with basic alignment and orthodontics, but orthodontists specialize in correcting irregularities of the teeth. The dentist or orthodontist will generally conduct a clinical exam, take photos and impressions of your teeth, and order X-rays of the mouth and head. In some cases, a removable retainer will be all that's needed to correct the irregularity but in most cases, braces will be needed (Mayo Clinic).
How do braces work?
Braces apply continuous pressure over a period of time to gradually move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone structure also changes shape as the pressure is applied. Braces are made up of small squares or brackets that are bonded directly the front of each tooth with a dental bonding agent or orthodontic bands that wrap around each tooth. Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit of individual teeth. There are a lot of other components mostly made up of steel or other clear material (like Invisalign braces) to ensure the braces are fastened in place and work as they should (WebMD).
What should I expect when I get braces?
Your teeth will be more sensitive in the first few days and you might experience some mild discomfort. Try eating softer food and in the first week after getting them in, take an over-the-counter pain medication as needed. You'll need to brush regularly and use a Waterpik to flush out food particles that get caught between braces and teeth. If something breaks on your braces, orthodontic wax may be used to hold things in place until you can get to your orthodontist. See your orthodontist routinely for checkups and to make sure you are keeping your teeth healthy while your braces are in place.