Metal braces remain the most popular and effective method of orthodontic treatment. The numerous advancements in dentistry allow smile specialists to offer a variety of alluring treatment options, such as the usage of Invisalign transparent plastic aligners. However, metal braces continue to serve as the benchmark for their efficiency and cost. For decades, metal braces have been tested and tried, and they generally work efficiently, particularly when handling challenging cases.

We at Washington Dental offer a variety of smile enhancement treatments in Lomita, CA. We'll take into account what should be done to make your smile even more beautiful and assist you in choosing a treatment plan that best meets your requirements, preferences, and goals.

Different Kinds of Metal Braces

Metal braces are available in a variety of styles and variations. Furthermore, since the beginning of teeth alignment procedures, advances in orthodontics have made it possible to create better designs. Based on the dentist's or orthodontist's preferences, you can now select from a variety of metal braces. However, each technique similarly aligns your teeth by putting pressure on particular spots to move them into the right spots. The various types of metal braces consist of the following:

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating metal braces are also a fantastic option, especially if you like small-sized brackets without elastics to grip the archwire. A self-ligating metal brace is an advanced version of conventional braces. Their structure and design consist of metal brackets with anterior clips for opening and closing. Your orthodontist can easily change your archwire by opening the clips on the bracket and snapping them back into place.

While you'll enjoy fewer adjustment sessions with your orthodontist, the advancements in a self-ligating metal brace make the treatment experience more comfortable. If you use metal clips instead of elastics, you would be less likely to sustain injuries such as elastics that have snapped. You won't have to worry as much about setting up meetings every 2 weeks in return.

Additionally, the design for self-ligating braces enables your orthodontist to make modifications that will progressively realign your teeth over a longer period without requiring new archwire adjustments. The design of the metal brackets delivers a gradual and gentle pressure to the teeth, which gives you time to adapt to the metal braces before undergoing fresh adjustments. Therefore, you can carry out your everyday activities without stressing about missing dental appointments, particularly if the treatment regimen is flexible.

These braces are often preferred by patients due to their improved aesthetics. The metal brackets are considerably smaller compared to traditional metal braces. Utilizing clips in place of elastics ensures a monochromatic appearance of the patient's teeth since the bracket design consists of a stainless steel material. Therefore, if you want your teeth to look less colorful, you could consider selecting self-ligating braces.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are the most common type of teeth straightening treatment since they were the pioneers in addressing the issue. These types of metal braces are frequently chosen by orthodontic patients based on the success rates of recoveries that can be used as a benchmark. As a result, traditional braces have a higher likelihood of offering you confidence than other dental treatment options such as Invisalign.

The braces consist of three different parts that operate together to straighten the teeth. The stainless steel metal bracket that is attached to the crown of the teeth serves as the foundation for orthodontic treatment. An archwire that lies on the bracket helps with alignment. To make adjustments, the orthodontist would tighten the archwire or replace it entirely with a new one, depending on the kind of care plan you're undergoing. The archwire is flexible and composed of stainless steel.

Elastics are the final piece, and they keep the archwire in place within the bracket. After attaching the archwire, the orthodontist twists the elastic ligatures onto the metal brackets to make sure that the tooth alignment continues while you chew or have other things in the mouth. An orthodontist would often offer you a chance to modify the aesthetic of your metal braces by letting you pick the color of the elastic ligatures that you want for a pleasant treatment experience. As a result, you can choose to match various colors each time you get an appointment for teeth adjustment.

While traditional metal braces provide efficient orthodontic therapy, there are several things to keep in mind. For starters, the elastic ligatures in the metal brackets can put a lot of strain on the teeth, especially within the initial few days after adjustment or installation. Aside from that, you won't suffer any adverse effects despite the elastics' slight irritation on your teeth. Overall, traditional braces are a suitable alternative for you if you like normal Orthodontic therapy that provides satisfactory outcomes.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are another alternative to metal braces if you seek a more discreet orthodontic treatment. They are made up of brackets that are molded specifically for you and fitted over the backs of the teeth. Lingual braces differ from the other two variants due to their inverted placement, which makes them hard to notice. Nonetheless, the techniques used in tooth alignment are identical to self-ligating and traditional approaches. With the help of an archwire, an orthodontist can better align the teeth by pushing them into the appropriate position.

Even though most patients find lingual braces to be attractive, it's important to keep in mind that they're significantly more expensive than normal braces due to the tailoring that happens before the metal brackets are installed on the teeth. These types of braces are appropriate for players using wind instruments, athletes, and acting professionals. Also, the metal braces would work if you want your dental treatment to receive less attention.

Process of Installing Metal Braces

Metal braces offer a variety of elements that work hand in hand to address dental misalignments. These elements include brackets, wires, rubber bands, and glue to name a few. The following is a guide to what to expect throughout the metal brace placement process:

  1. Referrals

Every treatment process starts with a recommendation, in which a healthcare professional determines that you have a dental alignment issue and refers you to an experienced dental professional. In this situation, your physician would refer you to a licensed orthodontist who would also carry out additional tests and provide an accurate diagnosis. Typically, you will get a referral upon visiting a dental professional for regular dental check-ups.

However, in some cases, a patient could notice an issue on his or her own and opt to schedule a visit with an orthodontist directly to get further clarification. In either case, the referral connects you to an experienced orthodontist who oversees your dental care.

  1. Consultation

After settling on a dental specialist to begin the orthodontic process, you will book a consultation visit during which the orthodontist would analyze your dental formation. During the appointment, the dentist assesses whether you're an eligible candidate for teeth alignment with braces by examining the physical appearance of your teeth and jaws.

  1. X-Ray Imaging

X-Ray images are one of the most essential sources of crucial information about your dental alignment. These not only disclose the internal dental and jaw formation but also shows any tooth that has yet to emerge through the gum. It is essential to identify such teeth to avoid extending treatment or aligning teeth due to the newly emerging teeth.

An orthodontist will often take a Lateral Cephalogram and OPG scan to examine both the frontal and side views of your teeth placement. The X-ray scans simplify the process to determine the kind of oral structure issue you have.

For instance, let's say the OPG scan reveals that the lower jaw is much farther apart from the upper one. In this situation, an orthodontist could identify the issue as an underbite and provide a tailored treatment plan to address it. On the other hand, before starting the process, the imaging will show whether there’s enough room to move individual teeth into their appropriate positions.

  1. Physical Examination

The professional will also perform a physical evaluation of the structure and shape of the mouth. They will apply frequent observation skills in examining various tooth positions and detect potential concerns. It's also normal for an Orthodontist to assess the gap difference between your lower and upper jaws to identify whether the patient has an underbite, crossbite, or overbite.

The dentist would also request you to close and open your mouth so that he or she can examine the teeth as you move your jaw. The information gathered would be included in the record used to develop a plan of care after making several observations.

  1. Tooth Impressions and 3D Image Screening

Also, you'll be required to have impressions made of your teeth using a specialized mold utilized in dental treatments. The first step in the procedure is the creation of the mold by mixing powder and water. The mold would then be attached to a mouthpiece that is put into your lower and upper jaws one at a time by an orthodontist or a dental assistant.

Once the teeth make imprints on the molds, the dentist would allow it to dry and recreate your tooth structure. The models created from the molds are useful to your dentist since he or she counts on the molds to determine the optimal placement alternative for your metal braces.

Having 3D imaging studies of the mouth also aids the specialist overseeing your treatment because they make it easier for them to determine where your braces should be fitted. To accurately predict and monitor therapy, your orthodontist could utilize 3D imaging to develop realistic study models of the mouth. For instance, it is easy to adjust the photos to produce a visual representation of the desired outcome following orthodontic treatment.

  1. Treatment Plan

Your orthodontist will create a tailored treatment regimen for you once they have all the necessary details from the images and tests you submit during your consultation phase. Since each patient's condition is unique, it is preferable to undergo the consultation process rather than receive advice from relatives or close acquaintances who have previously worn metal braces.

As a result, if an analysis is not done properly, you can be given an inefficient treatment plan, that lengthens the time it takes to treat you, and ultimately doesn't produce the results you were hoping for.

  1. Tooth Extraction

You'll be scheduled to undertake a variety of procedures after the orthodontist has finalized the plan. For instance, if you're dealing with a crowding issue, teeth removal will be necessary to make enough room for realigning your teeth into their new position.

The procedure of having teeth extracted does not take very long, particularly if you simply need a tooth or two removed at a time. Performing all of the extractions while the patient is under local anesthetic will take around one session. These procedures need to be performed before the actual treatment. If you're prepared for the entire treatment process, you can even have the braces fitted on that day.

If teeth still haven't sprouted from the gums, the patient needs to have a minor dental surgical procedure. As a result, you might need some recovery time from the teeth extraction procedure before having the metal braces set. Having as many as six teeth pulled requires a substantial amount of recovery time.

Jawbone surgery could be necessary as part of other pretreatment procedures to eliminate problems like oral abscesses that, if not properly controlled, could affect your treatment. Even though these techniques are important, you won't have to use them if your orthodontist gives you the go-ahead for the immediate insertion of your braces.

The Installation Procedure

When you're prepared, you'll schedule a 30-minute- to 1-hour appointment to have the metal braces placed. We recognize the anxiety you may have about getting braces, particularly if you have no idea what to anticipate. The procedure for beginning the alignment, nevertheless, is a simple one that simply requires attaching the metal brackets on your teeth and fitting the archwire.

After you get to the clinic, the dentist will perform a dental cleaning to get rid of any plaque or other microorganisms that can prevent the insertion of the metal brackets properly. The cleaning process should be quick because the dental aides will only require a handful of tools to get rid of any resistant plaque as well as other debris from the teeth. Cleaning your teeth first prepares the tooth surface for smothering, which keeps the bracket firmly in place.

To create a smooth surface for the tooth, the orthodontist utilizes a tiny spinning instrument to slightly shave the teeth. Although the machine could be loud in the dentist’s office, there's no need to be concerned because the smoothing procedure is painless. During the process of smoothing out your dental crown, the only feeling you will experience is vibration, along with a small amount of pressure.

After rinsing, the affected tooth is dried and prepared for the cement adhesive. This cement adhesive will be applied to the rear of the metal bracket, which will thereafter be positioned precisely on your teeth. Since the mixture is only slightly viscous, drying time is required for it to provide solid support. A specific Ultraviolet light emitter will be used by your orthodontist to speed up the drying of the cement.

The placement process can then be repeated on every tooth after your dentist is satisfied that the metal bracket has been firmly put in place. The average time to fix all brackets is between thirty and forty minutes. However, since your Orthodontist could be required to take extra precautions, you should not worry about the length of time it takes.

When all of the brackets are properly bonded to the teeth, the archwire could be inserted to hold the braces. It also takes only a short amount of time to install an archwire because all the orthodontist has to do is make sure each metal bracket holds it in the right spot. The orthodontist will modify the wire so that it is of identical length for both your lower and upper jaws. This is necessary because the wire is usually bigger than what is needed.

The remaining will be snipped off using pliers once the required size has been placed into each bracket. It is important to exercise caution when cutting the additional sections of archwire made of stainless steel so that you do not accidentally swallow any of the fragments. Thus, your Orthodontist will exercise great care and expertise to avoid hurting the soft tissues of your mouth. Also, the pliers utilized to trim the excess archwire have a tiny compartment to collect the bits of metal. You are therefore less likely to accidentally swallow tiny fragments of wire.

Based on the style of metallic braces you select, attaching the self-ligating fasteners or elastic bands is the last step in the installation process. When installing traditional braces, your orthodontist would use elastic ligatures all around bracket components to hold the archwire in place.

Alternatively, if you’ve had self-ligating brackets, your orthodontist will close the clips that secure the wire so that your teeth are properly aligned. If everything is installed properly, there shouldn't be a need for replacement or readjustment of damaged wires and brackets, except if several external conditions cause such consequences.

Scheduling Appointments for Adjustment

The orthodontist responsible for developing your treatment regimen should provide you with extensive details on the anticipated goals at every phase before any adjustment.

Missing scheduled adjustment sessions will make the treatment take longer since your teeth won't be put under the proper amount of pressure to realign. Delaying an adjustment procedure could occasionally cause the teeth to shift back into their original positions, which could result in the need to pay extra for the realignment of the archwire and metal braces.

Thus, it's essential that you attend all of your scheduled appointments since the dentist has a plan in place for how to best straighten your teeth. In most cases, patients with traditional braces will need to visit their orthodontist every 2 weeks.

Patients using lingual or self-ligating braces could go for as long as a month between adjustments. It is crucial to keep in mind that each patient's timelines will vary, and they will consequently need to be adjusted to ensure effective treatment.

Tips For Maintaining Metal Braces

After your braces are finally installed, you could face several challenges in the days following their installation. The majority of patients complain of intense pressure on their teeth, which makes them extremely vulnerable to any sort of contact, such as biting.

As a result, you must follow an aftercare schedule that enables you to modify and maintain adequate care for the braces. Here are a few tips:

Avoid Eating Hard Foods

Your teeth will be subjected to more pressure during the alignment process, making you more likely to experience pain and irritability when biting into hard food. Furthermore, sticky and crunchy foods might damage your brackets since they make them more brittle and susceptible to stains. So, avoiding such foods is crucial for living a healthier lifestyle while using braces.

Thoroughly Brush the Teeth

Before getting braces, you might have been accustomed to cleaning your teeth while not paying close attention to removing all food debris. However, you should take extra care when cleaning your teeth so as not to promote the growth of bacteria that can cause illness.

To keep food particles from getting stuck in your braces, we advise brushing your teeth right after each meal. To further improve your oral hygiene while wearing braces, you could also employ interdental toothbrushes to clean the spaces between your teeth.

Moreover, you can use these specialized brushes in place of dental floss if you are unable to use regular floss. You can also choose to use water floss to clean your teeth rather than traditional dental floss.

Find a Los Angeles Orthodontist Near Me

If you want to improve the appearance of your smile or address an underlying dental issue, having your teeth fixed is a worthwhile investment. If done correctly, orthodontic treatment can improve a patient's smile for a lifetime. That's why it's important to choose a qualified specialist to install your metal braces.

Our orthodontists at Washington Dental in Lomita are available and ready to assist you. Get in touch with us today at 310-326-5183 to learn more about metal braces as well as our installation services.