Many adults still have painful memories of the big clunky braces from the past. Luckily, times have changed, and so have metal braces. Modern metal braces are smaller and more comfortable than ever before with low profiles and strong adhesives.
If you are considering metal braces you may want to know how they are fitted. Firstly, your orthodontist will map your mouth by taking x-rays and impressions, in order to plan where your teeth need to move to.
The braces are carefully fitted to best suit you. It is a pain free process with as little discomfort as possible.
Your braces are made individually to fit your mouth. Your orthodontist will prepare your teeth ready for the bonding “glue” that attaches the metal brackets to the surface of the tooth. A special light is then quickly held over the surface of the bracket to set the bond.
Then a wire (archwire) is placed through the braces. Little rubber bands are placed on the braces. That’s it! You’re done! Each row of teeth takes about half an hour, so if you’re having a full set of braces, it will take about an hour.
For the first few days, your teeth may feel sore and be tender to biting pressures. Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they get used to the surface of the braces. Orthodontic wax applied to an offending bracket will help relieve discomfort.
Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once you’ve become accustomed to your braces, you may even forget you have them on.
You will need to have your braces “adjusted” every 6 to 8 weeks. This is to move the teeth into the desired position and create the smile you want. You won’t feel your teeth moving, it is a very subtle and gradual process that takes 12 to 18 months.
At each appointment the elastic bands may be changed and a new wire may be put on. After an adjustment, you could have some discomfort.
Taking off your braces is easier and faster than you might think. When your braces are ready to be removed, your orthodontist will clip the curve on the back of the braces with special pliers.
This breaks the adhesive bond between the bracket and your tooth. Each bracket comes off clean, leaving a layer of the bonding adhesive on the tooth. This can be easily buffed off the teeth and it will also polish the enamel where the adhesive was removed.