A Brief Guide to Braces, Part Two: How Do They Work?

For many people out there, braces are an average part of teen dentistry and even a symbol of an impending “coming of age,” so to speak. After all, so many people have had braces as teenagers, all for a variety of reasons. Around the same amount of people, however, either don’t remember exactly what their braces were supposed to fix, or have never worn braces and aren’t totally sure how they work. This can present a conundrum when it comes to educating and comforting a child on the verge of receiving this treatment. This article is part two of a guide meant to educate you on the benefits of braces and how they work to change your oral health for the better. Read on to learn more.

What Are Braces For?

The most common reason people have heard of children and teens wearing braces is for straightening their teeth. However, while this is certainly true, it isn’t the only reason braces are so often used in dentistry for kids and teens. In addition to simply straightening the teeth, braces can also be used for:

  • Speech therapy
  • Oral decay
  • Tooth erosion
  • Gum disease
  • Jaw abnormalities, such as underbites or overbites
  • Loss of teeth

The Mechanics of Your Child’s Braces

You can think of braces as a dental shield, meant to protect teeth from any further harm, while also giving them the structure they need to develop into a healthier shape. When a dentist applies braces to the teeth, the bands and wiring work together to gradually slide the teeth into a much better alignment. Depending on the severity of your child’s oral issues, they may need additional equipment to help their braces work as effectively as possible.

On a basic level, however, your child’s dentist will apply rubber bands, wires and brackets. The rubber bands help to hold the braces in place, as do the wires, which are what keeps the braces attached. The brackets will be directly affixed to the teeth and are responsible for the majority of the work.

The good news is your child likely won’t have to wear their braces indefinitely. The most common range is anywhere between one to three years, though it is worth noting the amount of time spent wearing braces depends on the extent of your child’s condition. You’ll learn more about how long your child will need braces and how to help care for them when you take your child to a dentist for teens for treatment.

While braces may be an embarrassing part of growing up, they’re worth it to ensure your child has a healthy and bright smile later on down the road. If you have any further questions about braces, feel free to contact us!