Braces: An FAQ Guide

Dr. Kyle Hornby

How do Dental Braces work?

Patients at our Kitchener Dental Office ask about aligning their teeth commonly. Most patients want to know what to expect and how Dental Braces work.

Well, Dental Braces apply pressure to make teeth move. The system includes metal brackets that bond to each tooth and a thin metal arch wire that connects to each bracket. The teeth gradually move to conform to the natural curve of the arch wire. Your Kitchener Dentist or Orthodontist can increase pressure on teeth by tightening wires gradually.

At a more basic level, braces apply pressure to teeth which triggers inflammation and jaw bone remodelling. The pressure and inflammation guides a slow and gradual change in bone allowing tooth roots to slowly move and change position over time.

In this manner, you can move teeth into a more desirable position or alignment.

How much does Orthodontic Treatment with Braces cost?

Orthodontic alignment with Dental Braces (or Invisalign) can vary in cost. That is, costs depend on the complexity of a case and how long it will take to complete. Costs also depend on who is completing treatment. If you want straight teeth, you can seek treatment with your Kitchener Dentist or with a Kitchener Orthodontist.

Generally, Dental Braces with a Family Dentist will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. An Orthodontist will typically charge between $5,000 to $ 8,000. Orthodontists must complete a 3-year training residency after Dental School. Any Dentist can offer Orthodontic treatment. Many who do, choose to complete additional training but this training can vary in how comprehensive it is.

How are Braces put on?

Your Kitchener Orthodontist attaches brace brackets to your teeth by chemical bonding. This involves the same materials and process by which a Dentist would place a white filling.

Will Braces fix an overbite?

Braces can certainly fix an overbite. People commonly use the term "overbite" to describe when upper front teeth stick out far beyond the lower front teeth. In fact, that tooth misalignment is an excessive "overjet". An "overbite" refers to the degree to which the upper front teeth overlap or block the lower front teeth. The good news, however, is that Braces can reduce and treat both excessive Overjet and Overbite.

Can Braces pull a tooth down (into place)?

Upper canine teeth that are out of place or too high are very common. Often teens express a desire to have these teeth brought down into line with their other teeth. This process is known as "orthodontic extrusion" and it involves the use of braces for guiding teeth down and into place. Extrusion is a routine and predictable process.

Can Tooth Alignment fix TMJ?

So, I'd like to be optimistic but conservative with my answer here. The way that your teeth fit together at rest determines the resting position of your jaw, temperomandibular joint or "TMJ". There is a range of positions that allows for all parts of the joint to fit comfortably together. But, if the resting position is too far forward or back, then you can develop jaw dysfunction and resulting discomfort.

So, in theory, you can use braces to establish a fit of the upper and lower teeth that holds the jaw in a comfortable and functional resting position. And, fortunately, in many cases an Orthodontist can use Orthodontic treatment to improve TMJ disorder. However, I have also seen cases where better alignment and a more functional resting position for both teeth and jaw didn't lead to increased comfort.

For this reason, most Orthodontists will advise that jaw improvements are possible but they will not promise that improvements will occur. And, I think that that approach is pretty reasonable given variability in past treatment outcomes with respect to TMJ.

Are Braces better than Invisalign?

This is a great question! It really depends. Invisalign is clear. You can remove Invisalign aligners to make cleaning your teeth easy. Those are huge advantages over traditional braces. However, the fact that Invisalign is removable is also a weakness. Invisalign aligners must be worn 22 hours a day (that's right, during sleep too!) and, for many teenagers, compliance is a real issue.

So, although dental braces are reversibly bonded to your teenagers teeth, it removes any concerns about compliance. That is, you'll never have to worry if they're sticking to the game plan and wearing their braces simply because they have no option to take them out.

Will it be more time consuming to clean my teeth with Dental Braces on them?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Dental braces create additional nooks and crannies to access for cleaning. Plaque accumulates quickly around dental brace brackets and, if left over time, can cause white and orange spots due to demineralization of tooth enamel.

The answer is to increase cleaning time and there's no way around that. You can consider using an electric toothbrush as that will increase brushing efficiency. I would estimate that thorough brushing and flossing should take 4 minutes under normal circumstances. With dental braces on your teeth, you are probably looking at 7-10 minutes of cleaning time at night. In the morning, a 3 minute brush is likely to be sufficient if you've fully cleaned your teeth the night before.

Should I get my Dental Implant before or after braces?

This is a common question and it's a great one! Many people are considering tooth replacement with either a dental implant or dental bridge while also focusing on eventually aligning their teeth. With most major treatments, it's best to set the alignment of your teeth first. Any dental implant, bridge or dental crown will be custom made to best fit the current alignment or "bite". For this reason, it makes sense to proceed with braces or Invisalign before placing and implant or bridge.

The other, more basic, reason for aligning teeth before getting a dental implant is that you cannot move a dental implant. The implant is fused to bone and it will not move no matter how much force you use. Once an implant is in place, it's in that position forever.

For this reason, make sure to let your Kitchener Dentist or Kitchener Orthodontist now if you're considering tooth alignment in addition to the dental crown you're discussing!

Are Dental Braces Attractive?

Dental braces were stigmatized historically for their non-aesthetic metal appearance. More recently, the look of braces has become somewhat more desirable. However, if you have concerns about the appearance of metal braces but would like to align your teeth, consider Invisalign, white porcelain braces, or lingual braces (which are bonded on the inner surfaces of your teeth!).

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Dentist in Kitchener, ON

Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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