At any given moment, there are around 4 million Americans wearing braces.

Braces are one of the most common dental procedures, and while they’re most commonly given to children, there is a large percentage of adults with braces too. 

The braces procedure is lengthy, expensive, and at times uncomfortable. There are lots of people who should get braces but are scared to commit. 

If you or your child needs braces, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the braces procedure.

Why Do You Need Braces?

People who need braces typically have crooked or crowded teeth. This means the teeth are growing at the wrong angles, or there isn’t enough space for all the teeth to fit in your mouth comfortably. 

But getting braces isn’t only a cosmetic procedure to correct misaligned teeth. These dental problems are serious health problems.

Misaligned teeth can cause damage to your jaw and damage to each other. This means you’ll have problems eating food, and your teeth are likely to decay much faster. 

If you show any signs you need braces, it’s best to follow through with an orthodontics specialist appointment. Trying to go without braces when you need them will only complicate things (and be even more expensive to fix) later in life. 

Typical Process

While the timeline for braces varies, there is a standard process that your journey will follow. 

First, you’ll be referred to an orthodontist after a dentist advises that you need braces. Don’t panic at this appointment – this is just a consultation where the orthodontist gets a sense of your situation, and you can ask any questions you have. 

Next, you prep your teeth for braces. This includes professional cleaning and any other minor procedures that should be done before the braces come on. 

At your first appointment, your orthodontist will take x-rays of your mouth and possibly some pictures for reference. Regardless of the type of braces, an accurate mold of your mouth is vital. 

The most common way to make the mold is by biting down on a soft impression material for a few minutes. But some orthodontists have started using digital scans to map out your mouth and create a mold. 

The application process is usually pretty straightforward. The procedure lasts a few hours, but there isn’t much pain. Then, the orthodontist bonds the braces to your teeth, runs the wire through them makes sure everything is set, and you’re good to go! 

You’ll come back for follow-up appointments every four to eight weeks. This is to check your progress and adjust the braces’ tightness as needed. The first few days after getting braces or adjustments can be mildly painful, but don’t worry, it’s only temporary! 

Your orthodontist will remove your braces and bonding material residue at your final appointment. You’ll be fitted with a retainer to wear at night so that your teeth keep their new shape. 

Other than check-up appointments every few months, the process is complete!

Timelines For Braces

Most people wear their braces for 18 to 24 months. But this is only a ballpark figure. 

Braces tend to work faster for children because they’re younger and their bodies are still developing. This means their teeth problems aren’t as bad as adults, and they’re more easily corrected. 

For adults, it’s normal to wear braces for up to three years. That’s because, by the time you reach adulthood, your dental problems are usually worse. 

Book a virtual consultation to get an assessment and estimate your braces timeline. 

Types of Braces

There are five types of braces today, each with varying popularity. The most popular choice is metal braces. But clear options like Invisalign are quickly gaining popularity. 

Metal braces are efficient and have the most affordable cost. They’re an excellent option for children because they don’t need as much patient compliance, meaning the braces work even if the kids don’t look after them as well as they should. They also have a variety of colors available. 

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces but a bit bigger. They work similarly to metal braces but have a more discreet coloring and a comparable price. 

Self-litigating braces function similarly to metal braces and also come with ceramic options. They use clips instead of elastic rubber bands to hold the wires. They’re more expensive but work well for patients who can’t handle much discomfort. 

Lingual braces are often thought of as the best but most expensive option. These braces work similarly to traditional metal braces but are entirely hidden behind the teeth. They are popular for their discretion and efficiency but can cause speech changes for the first few weeks. 

Clear aligners like Invisalign are sweeping the orthodontic market. These are popular choices for adults who value discretion in their braces journey. They’re removable and more comfortable but not as effective as other options. 

Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign

While traditional braces are more pronounced, they’re also more effective.

Invisalign is an excellent option for people who only need mild intervention for their teeth alignment. This is usually people with work done when they were younger or with mild misalignment and no jaw problems. 

If your teeth need more intervention, Invisalign doesn’t work for you. Traditional braces don’t offer the same discretion, but they will solve your problems more efficiently. 

Knowing the Braces Procedure

The braces procedure is different for everyone. Timelines differ depending on age, how badly misaligned the teeth are, what type of braces you get, and what you can afford. 

A lot of people think braces are scary. But it’s a process that millions of Americans go through every year. Having all the information upfront can keep you calm and guide you through the process. 

Meet our team and contact us for all your dental needs. We’re happy to help at any stage in the braces process.