If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite there are several treatments that can help straighten your teeth, including braces and retainers.

You will need to see an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in braces and retainers.

At Image Dental, our orthodontist, Dr. Kate Nguyen, will conduct a clinical exam, get impressions of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of your mouth and head. After getting all this information, she can help you with an appropriate treatment plan.

If you’re a candidate for braces, then we will explain to you how braces consist of bands, wires, and other appliances. Braces apply continuous pressure that slowly moves your teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied.

Braces include brackets, which are handles that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth. These handles hold the arch wires that move the teeth.

Orthodontic bands wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. These bands are stainless steel, or tooth-colored materials that are cemented to the teeth.

Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit.

The time required for braces varies, but they usually remain in place for one to three years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer 24/7 for the first six months and then only during sleep for many years.

Dr. Nguyen will want to see you every month to make adjustments in the wires, springs, or rubber bands of the braces. Sometimes, headgear may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night. The headgear also helps move the teeth into the correct position.

Some of the adjustments Dr. Nguyen may make to your braces may cause your mouth feel sore or uncomfortable. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin or Tylenol can help relieve the pain.

You should care for braces in the same way that you would care for your teeth. Brush your teeth three times a day and floss. You have to be careful not to damage the braces and you will have to put more time into dislodging food that gets stuck. Try to avoid sticky or hard foods, which can damage braces. Do not chew gum.

After braces are removed, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. We may want to take another set of X-rays and bite impressions. Dr. Nguyen will also fit you with a retainer, a custom-made, removable appliance that helps your teeth stay in their new position. The time frame for wearing a retainer will vary from patient to patient.

If you think you may need braces or would like to learn more, please call (702) 803-1787 and schedule an appointment with us today.