Mom and child patient smiling at each other in the waiting room of Starling Orthodontics.

The Science Behind Braces: How Orthodontic Treatment Transforms Smiles

Crooked teeth and malocclusion (bite alignment problems) not only impact a person's appearance, but they can also be harmful to a person's oral health and comfort. Misaligned teeth are more difficult to keep clean which increases a person's risk of tooth decay, cavities, and periodontal disease. In addition to causing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), malocclusion can also result in irregular wear patterns that damage the surfaces of the teeth.  

One of the most common treatment solutions for crooked teeth, overly crowded teeth, and malocclusion is braces.  

What Are Braces?

A common orthodontic treatment, braces are an orthodontic appliance used to straighten the teeth, make space for crowded teeth, correct teeth with irregular gaps, and address malocclusion problems like open bite, underbite, overbite, and crossbite.  

Treatment Options at Starling Orthodontics: The Different Types of Braces

There are several different types of braces available. The type of braces that is right for you or your child depends on the severity and complexity of your orthodontic issues and your treatment preferences.  

Standard Metal Braces

These are the braces that most people think of when they think of braces. They are comprised of stainless steel brackets and wires bonded to the teeth. With these braces, patients use small elastic bands (ligatures) to hold the wires in place.  

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are very similar to standard braces. The primary difference is that they do not use elastic bands but rather have a built-in system that holds them in place.  

Clear/Ceramic Braces

These braces are similar to metal braces, as they work in the same way and consist of the same parts. These braces, however, are made of tooth-colored ceramic - instead of stainless steel - and are designed to blend in with a patient's teeth.  

Lingual Braces (Incognito)

Lingual braces also use the same parts as standard braces. The difference with lingual braces is that they are bonded to the backs (tongue side) of a patient's teeth instead of the front surfaces. This placement helps patients achieve a more discreet course of treatment.  

Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

Clear aligners differ significantly from the other types of braces available and offer several lifestyle benefits such as virtual invisibility and the ability to be removed for meals. These use a system of custom-designed and manufactured aligner trays made from clear plastic. These trays are worn over the teeth, like mouthguards. The trays exert gentle pressure on the teeth. With each set of aligner trays worn for about two weeks at a time, the patient's teeth are gradually shifted into the desired positions throughout the entire course of treatment.  

Braces Technology: How Orthodontic Treatment With Braces Works

While each type of braces uses slightly different technology and devices, the basic mechanics of all braces work the same way. Whether you have traditional braces, lingual braces, Invisalign, or another type, the orthodontic appliance is designed to put constant, steady, gentle pressure on the teeth. This pressure is applied in a specific direction and angle to gradually shift the teeth into the desired locations and proper positioning throughout the course of the treatment.  

Are Braces Right for You?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an early orthodontic evaluation by age seven. These appointments help us determine whether or not a child will need to have braces in the future. These appointments also give us an opportunity to use interceptive orthodontics to help mitigate the need for braces or shorten the course of treatment needed later.

For most children who need braces, the optimal treatment time will occur between the ages of nine and 14 when the child's jawbone and facial structures are still growing and developing.  

Although the optimal time for orthodontic treatment is while a patient is still growing and developing, adults are also candidates for orthodontic treatment with braces. Adults can use braces to correct several orthodontic issues such as malocclusion (bite problems), overcrowded teeth, or crooked teeth at any time.  

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment with Braces Take?

The length of treatment is different for every patient. Treatment time primarily varies based on the patient's age and the degree of misalignment that needs to be corrected. While some orthodontic treatments can be completed in less than a year, more complex cases could require as many as three years for completion.  

Start Your Smile Transformation Journey with Our Orthodontist in Brentwood, TN

At Starling Orthodontics, we're proud to provide patients of all ages with comprehensive orthodontic care. If you or your child has crooked teeth, bite alignment problems, overcrowding, or other orthodontic issues, we strongly encourage you to request a consultation with our orthodontist and dentist in Brentwood, TN. We can examine your teeth and bone structure, talk with you about your treatment goals, and provide you with a personalized orthodontic treatment plan designed to create a beautiful, comfortable, and healthy smile.  

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