What are dental braces?

Dental or Orthodontic braces are devices used to control tooth movement, so they can be moved into their most correct positions, making maintenance of the dental arches easier & thus help improve dental bite and health.

If one needs to move a chair from one position to the other, he/she needs to get a proper grip on it. Likewise, to move teeth, the Orthodontist needs to get a hold of it! Earlier, when technology was not as advanced as it is now, orthodontists used to put metal bands around each & every tooth on which an attachment was put through which a wire was passed. The wires were shaped and contoured as per the need to move the teeth from one position to the other.

With the advent of technology, the metal bands are done away with & the attachment can now be directly stuck on the tooth with the help of special dental adhesives. The wire still remains a major force in making the teeth move into the most correct position.

Even though each and every component of an Orthodontic appliance has a specific name, the layman normally refers to the entire assembly as – BRACES.

Type of braces

Fixed Braces

Click the pics Metal Braces Clear Braces Invisible Braces Colored Braces

Removable Braces

Click the pics With Wire Wire Free
Teeth Movers
Jaw Movers

The examples above are just a concise list of appliances commonly used by an orthodontist in his/her day to day practice. the one best suited for an individual's treatment might not be listed here.

Please ensure you are in the hands of a QUALIFIED ORTHODONTIST, to ensure BEST results with the BEST suited appliance for you.

Parts of braces

Braces – is the common name given to an assembly of tiny components, which help move the teeth & jaws. These are either fixed on the teeth, or, put in and around the teeth and jaws. The collective purpose of all these components is purely to move teeth in their best esthetic, functional and the most stable position.

Fixed Braces

Braces which are fixed on the teeth have similar PRIMARY components

  • Bracket – It is that component which is stuck on the tooth, which makes it possible to get a hold on the tooth. These can be made of metal, ceramic or composite. Each bracket has a slot in it, into which the main arch wire is placed.
  • The main arch wire – It is a U shaped wire, which is placed within the slots of the brackets. This wire, not only serves as the track, on which the teeth moves, it helps the movement of teeth by applying the required pressure on the teeth. Depending of the stage of the treatment, wires made of different materials are used.
  • The Holder – It is something that holds the main arch wire within the slot of the bracket, or around it, as per the Orthodontist’s treatment plan. It can be a fine stainless steel wire, a small elastic module, or a clip like attachment (which is a part of the Bracket, it self) .

Removable Braces

Braces which are fixed on the teeth have similar PRIMARY components

Removable Braces are primarily made of cross-linked acrylic polymer. All removable braces are plastic in appearance. It may or may not have a Stainless Steel or similar wire, as a component. Certain removable braces may have a screw type attachment built within it, to assist the teeth movement.

Braces for sound sleep

This one is for the snorers.

Many of those who snore while sleeping have a condition called sleep apnoea. It is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing for upto several minutes, or, shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. When breathing is paused, carbon dioxide is building up in the bloodstream. This signals the brain to wake the person sleeping and breathe in air. Breathing normally will restore oxygen levels and the person will fall asleep again.

Sleep apnea is often diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called "sleep study" which helps the physician diagnoses the severity of the problem.

While, CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure), neuro-stimulation, medication, etc., are routinely advised in the severe cases. Certain cases with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea,fare well with the assistance of an Orthodontist.

The Orthodontists can fabricate an oral appliance, called a MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT SPLINT. It is a custom-made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward and opens the bite slightly, which opens up the airway, making breathing easy, for all

Braces for sensitive teeth

Rushing to the dentist, with pain in the tooth, or, sensitive teeth, is a norm. More often than not a cavity on the teeth is the culprit. The gums giving way, exposing the roots below, is another reason. Getting a cavity filling done, for sensitive teeth, is what one commonly hears. Braces ?? For Sensitive teeth ?? That’s unheard of !!

Time for some enlightenment.

While it is common to have the cause of problem limited to the particular tooth, sometimes it is the faulty POSITION of teeth adjacent to it, which is truly responsible for the cavity, or, recession in the first place. Getting the cavity restored, or the gum recession treated, will take care of the pain, for now; but it will not prevent the problems from recurring.

The BEST SOLUTION in such a situation would be to correct the POSITION of the adjacent teeth, as well, beside restoring the existing cavity and treating the gum condition. To move teeth within the dental arches, dental braces is the way to go.

This case presented with pain in relation to the upper front teeth. Cavity was seen on one of the teeth. On examination, the lower front teeth were also seen to be crowded. Patient was forewarned of the possibility of additional cavities on the lower teeth, given their position. The dentist advised orthodontic treatment to align the teeth while steps were taken to treat the cavities that were accessible for restoration.

As teeth were moved with the help of braces, the over lapping teeth were exposed and the cavities developing on it were revealed and restored.

At the end of the treatment patient got a set of teeth, which were beautifully aligned, allowing easy cleaning and maintenance, preventing or reducing the incidences of further cavities.

This patient approached the dentist for treatment of the gum on one of her lower front teeth. The dentist examined and inferred that the upper teeth hitting the bottom tooth, is the cause behind the gum recession on it. Braces were put and the upper teeth were moved into a favorable relation with the lower teeth.

Within a few months of treatment, the gum recession resolved spontaneously to a large extent, on its own. An evaluation with the periodontist revealed that the situation is stable and surgical intervention, for further correction, is optional, in her case.

Braces help guide teeth in its most stable, functional & esthetic position, which makes cleaning and maintenance of teeth easier, minimizing incidences of cavities or gum issues of the teeth.

Orthodontic treatment, as a treatment for sensitive teeth, is not a joke. In cases where it is essential, it is THE treatment that ensures, a long lasting healthy set of teeth.

Braces for artificial teeth

When teeth are extracted, for reasons other than orthodontic, it is advisable to get artificial replacements (denture / bridge / implant supported teeth) in place, in no later than 3 months.

However, quite often, the individual misses this deadline. Meanwhile, teeth on either side, and opposite the tooth that was extracted, start drifting into the space created. If prolonged, it ends in a situation where it becomes difficult to replace the missing teeth with an artificial one, which is normal in its size & shape. In certain extreme cases, the adjacent teeth have to bear the brunt, in the attempt to replace the missing one.

Braces help move the drifted teeth into their original positions and thus make it easy for the dentist to restore the missing tooth/teeth, without compromising the integrity of any other teeth.

This patient never had his front teeth in the lower jaw. Even his upper front teeth were disproportionate and had gaps in between. The Orthodontist could position the existing permanent teeth in their most correct positions.

As a result, all he needed were minimal build up of two teeth and a retainer on his lower jaw to substitute the missing teeth to control the tongue position, before he could decide upon implant supported teeth in that area.

This patient wanted to get the missing tooth replaced in the lower jaw. He had got one upper grinder removed, as well. One upper molar had grown into the space of the missing lower teeth, making it impossible to put a full sized artificial teeth in place. The Orthodontist could move up the upper molar and move it further forward, to almost close the remaining space.

Moving the teeth helped two fold. There was no need to put artificial teeth in the upper jaw, and an implant supported normal sized bridge could be placed to replace the missing teeth, in the lower jaw.