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Braces are also known as orthodontic braces.These are metal or ceramic devices and are elements of different shapes, sizes and designs used to correct and bring uneven misaligned teeth to their normal positioning in the mouth. They are the most efficient and accurate method for moving teeth.The component parts of braces are available as bands, brackets and wires made up of stainless steel. These are used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to correct the misaligned positioning of the palate, teeth and jaws.

Types of braces
If braces are indeed required by someone, an orthodontist (a dentist who specialises and has a Masters degree in braces) will prescribe an appliance in the form of braces. There is a wide range of braces available for different treatments. A few of them are:
  1. Traditional Metal Wires: These are stainless steel wires and are most commonly used in dental practice. Their purpose is to hold and maintain arches (upper and lower jaw) in their proper place
  2. Clear braces: These are used as cosmetic braces in place of traditional ones. There colour is almost similar to the colour of teeth and this gives them a more natural look which enhances  the confidence of a person
  3. Gold-plated stainless steel braces: These braces are advised to patients who are allergic to nickel, a common stainless steel compound. It can sometimes be used also for the look of gold compared to silver wires
  4. Lingual braces: These are specifically used on the back of teeth to make them appear invisible & hard for naked eyes to detect the presence braces
  5. Titanium braces: These resemble stainless steel braces in their looks but these are lighter and stronger as compared to the rest of the other types of braces. People allergic to nickel can also use these type of braces
  6. A-braces: These are a new concept braces and can be regarded as new generation braces. They appear similar to the shape of the capital letter ‘A’. They can be easily applied, adjusted, and removed and are also completely controlled by the user. They do not cause pain as they do not put much pressure on the teeth and they can be controlled easily by setting the wire from time to time
  7. Other types of braces: Smart brackets, spring aligners and progressive and clear removable aligners.

Conditions when dental braces are required

  • Dental braces are required to correct the bite, also known as the closing point of the upper and lower jaws. Braces can correct both over bite and deep bite
  • They can also be used to correct proper speech, and thus improve speaking ability
  • Dental braces are required to correct jaw or temporo-mandibular pain
  • Dental braces are required to correct difficulty in chewing or eating
  • They also can correct sleep disorders like poor sleep patterns, teeth grinding habits while speaking, mouth breathing and snoring habits
  • Dental braces can also correct the positioning of uneven teeth, overcrowding of teeth, tilted teeth and wide teeth


Teeth which need braces are either corrected by orthodontic surgery or directly by applying braces over tooth surface with the help of a bonding dental material. This procedure takes few minutes to hours for proper bonding depending on the number of teeth used and finally the braced teeth are left untouched for minimum six months to 12 months (or longer as the case may be) for very good results.

How do braces work

Braces work by continuously applying pressure on the teeth for a particular time period. Patients can benefit from the use of braces starting from the age of 12-14 years once the milk teeth (deciduous teeth) have been replaced by permanent dentition. Most successful results come up to the age of 23-25 years, though braces may be put at later ages also (adult orthodontics). Slowly but surely braces move teeth in a specific and desired direction. As teeth move and further pressure is applied, the bone eventually changes its shape and the moved teeth now occupy the desired location in either of the jaws.

Advantages of braces
These are beneficial in two ways:
  1. They eventually give proper shape to uneven, mal-aligned and improperly positioned teeth. A perfect smile, better looks and more confidence is the result
  2. The user can easily eat food and drink liquid while undergoing treatment

Disadvantages of braces

  1. In most of the cases, the major disadvantage is the sacrifice of teeth from either of the jaw. This sacrifice may also involve removal of two or three teeth
  2. Another disadvantage is that the user has to periodically go for dental check ups and adjustment of their braces
  3. Sometimes, braces cause pain, irritation, discomfort and are very time consuming
  4. Sometimes, the results are not up to the mark and the user has to go for the treatment again in the second attempt
  5. It is actually a very costly treatment and may not be possible for everyone to afford
  6. A person has to give up few eating habits like chewing gum, hard and sticky materials etc.
  7. Braces demand proper and special oral care like regular brushing with only special orthodontic brush after every meal, mouth wash rinses and periodic cleaning. Failure to do so may result in other dental problems while attempting to solve this one.


After complete removal of braces or orthodontic treatment, retainers are most definitely a must to maintain and keep the new shape, size, positioning and appearance of teeth. They have to be worn as per the orthodontist’s advice.

Complications and risk
  • The long term use of braces may cause complete change of shape of face, jaw and cheek bones
  • Chances of mouth sores are high. This may occur from any of the components of braces
  • Sudden breakage of braces can also occur, leading to the damage of adjacent soft tissues of the mouth, gums and may also cause fracture. Therefore, proper care is a must
  • The excessive pressure on teeth may also cause resorption of the tooth root
  • Prolonged use and improper care can lead to periodontal disease
  • In some cases, the success rate may be low and after removing the braces, the now correctly positioned teeth can return to their abnormal position. This may make the teeth appear more misaligned than they originally were.
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