Braces & Retainers – Everything You Should Know About the Orthodontist

Why Should You Care?

Well to begin with, looks are important. You want to be able to smile with confidence. Straight teeth help a lot. It’ll boost your self-esteem (which has been proven in medical studies). You’ll be the best person in your Christmas and school photos, and overall, you will just look awesome. So orthodontics matter! I’d suggest braces, but there's also (and sometimes with braces) retainers. Most often the your teeth with be moved with braces, and then kept in place with a retainer. Retainers are worn when you sleep, so they shouldn't trouble you at all.

Medical Benefits of Dental Braces

Problems You May Face WITHOUT Braces:

  • Grinding your teeth - straight teeth won’t wear against each other
  • Overbite and Underbite - besides appearances, this will often lead to problems at older ages
  • Painful problems when you’re older

You can prevent all of these simply by straightening your teeth with braces. Also your teeth are:

  • Easier to clean - straight teeth are much easier to brush and clean
  • And you can smile confidently with straighter teeth

History of Dental Braces

That’s where braces and retainers come in. They may look scary, but they’ve come a long way. A few decades ago, the metal wires were literally hammered - hammered! - onto your teeth. The orthodontist would take a mallet and hit the metal into place within your mouth. Unbelievable!

We’re past that now, so don’t worry! But let’s see how it’s really done . . .

The Actual Procedure for Braces

  1. More often than not, your first step in getting braces on that fateful day will be photos of you smiling, and/or impressions. Those impressions are taken by biting into a mold (not the fungi).

  2. The orthodontist will have you open your mouth and will insert a not uncomfortable, piece of plastic that fits over parts of your lips. This is known as a cheek retractor. Its purpose is to keep your mouth open wide enough that the orthodontist can see, and later fit inside a tool that dries the glue linking your teeth and brackets. It also helps keeping your teeth dry.

  3. Your teeth will be polished, similar to what is done at a dentist.

  4. This next step may sound uncomfortable, but isn’t. The orthodontist will choose either your upper or lower teeth (normally lower first). They will dry out all the saliva with a suction tool you have almost definitely seen before at the dentist.

  5. Once that’s done, the orthodontist will place each bracket, with glue on the back, against your teeth. Immediately after, it will be adjusted and excess glue removed. Then the orthodontist will move onto the next tooth. This continues until all the teeth on either the lower or upper level of the mouth are done.

    1. Note: the orthodontist will likely pause after finishing each side, to dry out the other side of the mouth.

  6. After all the teeth of one row are done, the orthodontist will use a high-powered light to solidify the glue.

  7. There may or may not be a pause in between the application of brackets to your upper and lower teeth. However there will definitely be a pause for you to brush after they solidify the glue for the final time.

  8. Once your teeth are brushed, the orthodontist may or may not give you a week or so to get used to the presence of brackets on your teeth before installing the wire. In my experience, it happened on the same day, but I’ve encountered other procedures in my research.

  9. After the brackets are on, your orthodontist will give you a speech on how to brush, what to and what not to eat, etc..