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The application of braces moves the teeth as a result of force and pressure on the teeth. This movement needs to be done slowly otherwise the patient risks losing his or her teeth. This is why braces are commonly worn for approximately one and a half years and adjustments are only made every three or four weeks. This helps shift the teeth into the correct position.

Traditional metal-wired braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with titanium, and are the most widely used. These include conventional braces, which require ties to hold the archwire in place, and newer self-tying (or self-ligating) brackets. Self-ligating brackets may reduce friction between the wire and the slot of the bracket, which in turn might be of therapeutic benefit.

"Clear" braces serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending in more with the natural colour of the teeth or having a less conspicuous or hidden appearance. Typically, these brackets are made of ceramic or plastic materials and function in a similar manner to traditional metal brackets. Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are available to be used with these clear braces to help keep the appliances less conspicuous. Clear braces have a higher component of friction and tend to be more brittle than metal braces. This can make removing the appliances at the end of treatment more difficult and time-consuming.

Lingual braces (examples of which are SureSmile QT, Incognito Braces) are custom made fixed braces bonded to the back of the teeth making them invisible to other people. In lingual braces, the brackets are cemented onto the backside of the teeth making them invisible while in standard braces the brackets are cemented onto the front side of the teeth. Hence, lingual braces are a cosmetic alternative to those who do not wish the braces to be visible.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES: An advantage is one can eat and drink while wearing the brace but a disadvantage is that one must give up certain foods and eating habits while wearing them, such as chewing gum and potato chips. Another disadvantage is they have to be periodically tightened by your orthodontist, causing increased amounts of discomfort.

The first step is to determine whether braces are suitable for the patient. The doctor consults with the patient and inspects the teeth visually. If braces are appropriate, a records appointment is set up where X-rays, moulds and impressions are made. These records are analyzed to determine the problems and proper course of action.

In order to avoid the teeth moving back to their original position, retainers may be worn once the treatment with braces is complete.

Patients may need post-orthodontic surgery, such as a fiberotomy or alternatively a gum lift, to prepare their teeth for retainer use and improve the gumline contours after the braces come off.

In order to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original position, retainers may be worn once the treatment with braces is complete for the patient depending on their specific needs. Retainers help in maintaining and stabilizing the position of teeth long enough to permit the reorganization of the supporting structures after the active phase of orthodontic therapy. If the patient does not wear the braces appropriately for the right amount of time, the teeth may move towards their previous position. For regular traditional braces, Hawley retainers are used. They are made of metal hooks that surround the teeth and are enclosed by an acrylic plate shaped to fit the patient's palate. For invisalign braces, an Essix retainer is used. They are similar to the regular invisalign braces and is a clear plastic tray that is firmly fitted to the teeth that stays in place. There is also a bonded retainer where a wire is permanently bonded to the lingual side of the teeth, usually the lower teeth only. Doctors will sometimes refuse to remove this retainer, and it may require a special orthodontic appointment to have it removed.

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