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Metal Braces

Grand Rapids, MI Orthodontists

Consisting of metal brackets adhered to your teeth and connected by wire, metal braces are the most traditional option in orthodontics. Crooked and crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and jaw problems can all be corrected with metal braces. 

Treatment length can vary but our Grand Rapids, MI, orthodontists can brief you on how long it will take to gradually straighten teeth and align your jaw.

Here’s what you need to know about metal braces. 

Metal Braces Grand Rapids Orthodontist

How Metal Braces Work

Have you always wondered exactly how braces work to straighten your smile? Well, when brackets and wires are placed on your teeth, they apply controlled force that gradually moves teeth into position over time. Your jaw also responds to the pressure being applied and will in turn adapt with regards to shape.

There are several components that go into metal braces and those include:

  • Ligature Elastics: These are the colored rubber bands you see around each bracket. They help attach the archwire to the brackets and provide support.
  • Archwire: This is the metal wire that connects each bracket together. One archwire will run along the upper teeth and another will do the same for the bottom teeth. The archwire plays a major role in moving your teeth into position as it curves around teeth and puts pressure on them.
  • Brackets: These small metal pieces are bonded to the front of each tooth using an adhesive. Commonly, they are made of stainless steel but can also come in tooth-colored and clear bracket options as well. Brackets are responsible for holding the archwire in place for the teeth.

In addition to the three main components above, patients may also have springs, elastic rubber bands, headgear, spacers, and more. Before any special parts are installed, we will explain their purpose and how long they’ll need to be adhered so you’re aware.

You’ll notice some soreness for a few days after braces are first put on but that feeling should subside as your mouth adjusts. Please let our orthodontists and staff know if your discomfort continues for longer than a couple of days and we can do our best to make adjustments if necessary. 

Length of Treatment 

Like mentioned above, the amount of time each person has to wear braces can differ depending on the level of correction needed. However, on average, most patients will have braces for 1-3 years. When instructions are followed and braces are properly cared for outside of our office, the treatment process can move smoothly and you can avoid delay. 

What to Avoid With Metal Braces

With metal braces, certain foods are best kept off limits until you finish treatment. Those include crunchy, sticky, and chewy foods that can become stuck to brackets, trapped between your braces and gum line, or damage components. 

Examples of foods to avoid when wearing metal braces include:

  • Most gum (unless sugar-free)
  • Caramel or other sticky candies
  • Corn on the cob
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Hard pretzels, crackers, or chips
  • Ice

Because food particles can make their way underneath wires and near brackets, it’s important that you practice oral hygiene every day. Be sure to gently brush your teeth at least 2-3 times per day using a soft-bristled toothbrush, especially after meals if possible. Also remember to floss in between teeth to remove leftover food. 

We can provide you with tips on keeping your teeth and braces clean throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you’re ever unsure about anything, please ask and we can help you get the answers you need.

Request An Appointment 

Our experienced orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI, are ready to give you the smile you deserve. If metal braces are determined to be the best option for you given your dental needs, our entire staff at Miller Orthodontics will provide you with the highest standard of care from start to finish. Call (616) 942-9320 today or request an appointment online.

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