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In a 1998 survey conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, it was revealed that there is a significant problem on malocclusion in the US. Malocclusion is a condition characterised by dental professionals as “bad bite”, or more commonly known as misaligned teeth. Orthodontist and dental professionals cite that this is one of the most common conditions that are treated in their offices. In the US alone, about 50-70% of children wear braces even before they enter adulthood. This has resulted in the spread of different braces types to address the unique needs of each user.

How did this happen? And when did teeth deviation become such an epidemic? This is an important question to address given that dental and oral care is not inexpensive. By understanding how the problem occurs in the first place, steps can be taken to prevent them (and prevent you from spending tons of money, too!).

What It’s Like to Live with Braces?

Living with braces will require some form of adjustment on your end. If you have not worn braces before, there will be some level of pain or discomfort. Braces pain is common so don’t worry if you feel some type of pain – this is part of the process. As for the actual process of putting on the braces, this should not hurt at all. In fact, there are plenty of online services out there that enable you to order and put the braces on your own at home.

Wearing braces may require a little getting used to. Hence, a mild discomfort or soreness can be experienced but braces are painful only within the first few days or weeks. As the weeks go on, the discomfort will go away once there is movement on the alignment of the teeth. In general, it takes at least 24 hours from the time you put on the braces for it to fully adjust its position and for the adhesive to set.

Upon the first few weeks of wearing braces, the pain or discomfort you feel might go away or gradually lessen. There is no definitive way to predict as to when the pain or discomfort would cease. Each patient is different as your dental problems vary, too. This is why you need to work closely with your dentist or your braces provider to ensure that you get the right fit. When the braces are customized for you, it is easier to get the right position and to treat the problem within a reasonable amount of time.

It is important to note that you should follow the suggested list of foods while you are on braces. The following types of food are a no-no when you are wearing braces:

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  • Hard pizza crust
  • Tacos or other food items with a crunchy exterior
  • Chewing gum
  • Beer jerky
  • Suckers (or any candy that is hard and sugary)
  • All kinds of nuts
  • Ribs
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Corn on the cob
  • Popcorn
  • Any food item that is sticky such as marshmallow or caramel candy

In general, it is important to stick to soft food items when you are new to wearing braces (in some cases, a liquid diet is recommended). To give you an idea, these are the food items that you must consume while wearing braces:

  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Thin soup
  • Pasta
  • Seedless bread
  • Boiled vegetables

Depending on your level of discomfort and the type of at-home treatment program provided by your orthodontist, you might need to use dental wax. This will help to alleviate any irritation on your lips or inner cheeks by creating a smooth surface.

An over-the-counter pain medication can also help to ease any pain or discomfort you might feel. For best results, use this in conjunction with salt water rinses to eliminate any soreness. As your teeth become acclimated to the braces, it will become easier to eat and you can go back to your usual diet patterns.

On top of knowing what to eat (and what not to eat), it is important to know how to live with braces in your daily life. One of the most noticeable differences (or challenges) that you face when wearing a brace is that it could affect your speech. In particular, you might find it difficult to pronounce certain words. Lisping is a common problem for first-time wearers of braces. But like eating, you will have to adjust to it for a few days to weeks. Once you get used to wearing braces and when your teeth have moved gradually, your speech should be restored as well.

When you are into sports, it is something to consider when using braces. If you are into contact sport, dentists recommend that you take out your braces and switch to using a mouth guard. Make sure to put it back on as soon as you are done. For those with fixed braces, you must choose a mouth guard that will fit on top of your braces. If you cannot find one, you can visit your dentist’s office so they can customize it for you. This is important for those who are engaged in sports for a living because you cannot compromise one for the other.

For musicians, especially those who play wind instruments, the use of braces can definitely affect your ability to play. If you must really play an instrument (such as if you do this for a living), make sure to remove the braces when you are playing (only for the non-fixed braces). Put it back on immediately after playing your instruments.

Maintaining Oral Health with Braces

Oral health is very important (if not more important) when you are wearing braces. Braces play a vital role in restoring the proper alignment of your teeth. But you also have to make an effort to clean and maintain it so you can keep your breath fresh and your teeth healthy.

The most common dental problem that most people will encounter without proper oral hygiene includes inflamed gums and tooth decay. These problems could be easily avoided if you know how to give your oral health care and maintenance. Tooth decalcification is another common dental problem associated with lack of proper oral health care, which is also common among people who wear dental braces. This condition is when you lose calcium on the surface of your teeth. This could result in the formation of white spots on your teeth, especially after removing the braces. Using fluoride mouth rinses can help to prevent decalcification or decay on your teeth when wearing braces.

Make sure you clean your teeth and gums after each meal (but wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth). Ask your dentist about choosing the right kind of toothbrush to clean your teeth with braces. You might want to look for the specialized kind of toothbrushes with smaller bristles to ensure a thorough clean without damaging your braces, or causing pain every time you brush your teeth.

To ensure proper oral health after and while wearing braces, it is recommended to undergo regular dental health check-up. This will ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy while you are trying to correct your teeth’s position.

Types of Dental Braces: Overview

An integral part of oral health care for those wearing braces is to get the right fit and the right braces online. There are many braces types in the market today, each are adapted to suit different types of dental conditions. Make sure that you pick the right choice because it not only means you can get the perfect set of teeth, but to get your money’s worth.

Orthodontist braces are ones that are recommended based on the diagnosis of your teeth problem. A dental impression is vital for making that assessment. Whether you are getting your braces done in a dentist’s clinic or online, it is important to have dental impression done to get a custom fit on the braces.

Read on to learn more about the different braces types that are available, as well as the pro’s and con’s for each option. The information provided is for your guidance only. It is still recommended that a dental professional be the one to choose the ideal type of braces for you to use, based on your dental impression and diagnosis. When someone tells you that a certain type of brace is the best (over the others), don’t believe them. There is no such thing as the best braces because it varies according to the needs of an individual user.

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Traditional Metal Braces

The traditional metal brace is called as such because this is the most popular option in the market. This is actually made with stainless steel metal that is constructed using metal brackets. It is applied and glued together on your teeth using a special type of bonding cement. The braces are secured onto your teeth using arch wires and rubber bands. This helps to ensure that the teeth are locked into its proper position in order to correct the teeth’s alignment.

In comparison to a few years ago, the metal braces available nowadays are smaller and more discreet in style. This makes them less obvious when worn, especially for younger users who might feel conscious about wearing braces.

Clear Ceramic Braces

Speaking of choosing styles that are discreet, the advent of clear ceramic braces was specifically designed to address this issue. It is a sought-after style for adults who are recommended to wear braces.

The use of a clear ceramic material (or those that are similar to the color of the teeth) allows the material to blend in with your teeth so that it won’t be as visible when worn. In terms of function, though, clear ceramic braces do not have any major difference from the traditional metal braces. The choice between the two is, therefore, based on preference and personal style.

It is important to note that clear ceramic braces are only designed to be less obvious than the traditional metal braces. But this one is not invisible. It also costs more than the metal braces. One major downside that you might want to consider is the fact that it can get discoloured over time. When the braces suffer from discolorations, they could stain your teeth.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are not as common as the two discussed above but is one of many options that you might have. Lingual is a term that refers to the side near the tongue. It works just like the traditional metal braces but this is different since it is worn inside the surface of your teeth. For this reason, it is invisible because it is worn on the inner portion of your teeth.

This is a specialized type of braces behind teeth so expect it to be more expensive. They are also quite difficult to clean. It is recommended by dental experts only for specific orthodontic problems. It is also more difficult to adjust, so expect that the appointment for this will be longer than usual.

Due to the placement of the braces, it could affect your speech, albeit only slightly. The extra cost on lingual braces is worthwhile since they are more effective in fixing orthodontic problems.

Damon Braces

This is a specialised type of dental braces that can be purchased in either ceramic or metal versions. The Damon system comes with an adjustable sliding mechanism that makes altering the wires easier. The reason for developing this system is to allow the teeth to move freely. It was intended to combat the feeling of pain or discomfort that is experienced by users of traditional metal braces.

Another advantage with the design of Damon braces is the fact that there are no braces elastics. This provides fewer surfaces for bacteria and plaque to build up on. If you want better oral hygiene and ease of maintenance, this is the system for you.

Traditional metal braces on the left and Damon braces on the right

Palatal Expanders

If you have overcrowded teeth, you can either go for tooth extraction or wear palatal braces expander. In the past, most dentists would recommend tooth extraction to resolve this problem. But as modern technology and new types of braces were developed, wearing palatal expander is now an option.

This device is fitted into your palate and applies pressure towards the back of your upper molars. The pressure will force your teeth to move and create distance among each other. This is usually used prior to fitting other types of braces in order to achieve the right position on your teeth.

How Do You Choose?

When it comes to choosing from ceramic braces vs metal braces, or any other types of dental braces, the choice isn’t often up to you – the patient. It is typically your dentist or orthodontist who will give the recommendation based on the type of problem being fixed and the extent of the dental problem. For example, there are braces for loose tooth or braces for underbite problems.

But thankfully, as newer models are available, it is possible for patients to choose which braces to use based on a few lifestyle factors. For example, a metal brace is the main choice for anyone suffering from severe teeth misalignment cases.

Traditional braces made with metal are still the most effective option when dealing with severe cases. But newer styles are now available wherein the metal used is thinner and more lightweight. This type of braces is also more durable such that it is recommended for anyone needing treatment for more than a year.

If you are looking for discreet treatment, you can choose from either clear ceramic braces or lingual braces. Whether it is due to work or lifestyle factors, there is no need to worry about wearing visible braces because either of these options can fix your teeth without going through the stage of wearing unsightly braces. They are as effective as traditional metal braces but there is huge discrepancy in the aesthetic appeal of ceramic braces vs metal ones.

There are also ceramic braces with wires that are of the same color as the teeth, so it becomes even less noticeable. For its discreetness, this type of braces is available at a higher cost.

For total discreetness, there are removable clear aligners to the rescue! Removable clear aligners are also known as invisalign. They are made with BPA-free clear plastic that is worn discreetly to shape your smile. This type of treatment is recommended only for those with minor to moderate cases of teeth misalignment.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Still can’t decide which of the braces types to choose? Apart from your dentist’s recommendation, below are a few questions to help your decide.

How soon do you want to fix your dental problem?

Each type of brace offer different treatment period – some can last for a few weeks while others can last for one year.

What is your budget?

Just as each type of dental braces vary in the length of treatment period, it can also vary when it comes to budget. It is important to have a budget in mind prior to choosing.

Does it matter that your braces are visible (or not)?

Some are more visible than others. If you want to be discreet or less visible, choose braces that are made with clear materials.

Which is most effective?

A dentist or orthodontist can clarify this for when you consult with them about your options. In general, the most effective braces are the ones that are chosen based on the diagnosis of your dental problem. This is why making a dental impression is helpful as it provides dentists or orthodontists with an idea of the extent of your teeth alignment problem.

Braces Alternatives

Braces has been the go-to option for people who wanted to move their teeth back into proper alignment over a short period of time. But there are also other qualms about its use, such as the unflattering appearance of metal on your teeth. If you are looking for braces alternatives, you do have quite a few options available.

Clear aligners, also known as Invisalign, are the best alternative to wearing braces. This option rose in popularity because of its ability to fix your teeth alignment without making it obvious that you are wearing one. It is only visible when you examine the teeth closely. It is perfect for when you are in social gatherings and you do not want to let other people know that you are wearing one.

Invisalign might be more expensive and would also require a longer treatment period than orthodontist braces. It is made with BPA-free clear aligners that are fitted over your teeth. It is fitted to your teeth like a mouth guard does so you can take it off when brushing your teeth or flossing.

The shape and fit of the Invisalign will be based on a digital model of your dental impression. As your teeth moves over a few weeks’ of use, it is recommended that you change your aligners too. This ensures that you can get the right fit every time and that it can fix your teeth alignment problems.

Unlike fixed braces, Invisalign braces can be removed any time. But to ensure success with this treatment, dentists and orthodontists would suggest a minimum number of hours when they should be worn every single day.

The only downside to wearing Invisalign is that your teeth problem might recur when the treatment period is over. For this reason, you might be required to wear braces retainers after.

There are also a growing number of options to buy your clear aligners online. This makes it more convenient for people with minor to moderate teeth alignment problems to get their teeth fixed. If you need to wear one, make sure to check out these braces alternatives so you can

The Future of Braces

The dental and orthodontics industry is seeing a shift happening, and it is happening at a rapid pace. With the prevalence on misaligned teeth, there is disruption in the industry in terms of how patients gain access to the brace types and braces alternatives. There was a time when children and adult would need to get orthodontist braces, they would go to a dentist or orthodontist’s clinic. Today, several companies are now offering them at home.

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Indeed, it is now possible to order braces online and many reputable companies have developed this business model. The way it works is that they will send you a kit to get a model of your teeth. The dental impression is sent back, together with photos of your teeth, in order for your custom braces to be produced. Once the custom braces are done, they are shipped so you can wear them at home.

The dental experts also develop a tailored at-home care program that you can use to aid in the proper alignment of your teeth. Together with this, they will provide you with a recommended duration for the treatment and retainers that you can use once the treatment period is over.

The main criticism for this method of getting braces and fixing misaligned teeth is that the work of dentists and orthodontists might become obsolete. But in reality, they only make the services of dental professionals more accessible. There are certain pro’s and con’s to this business model, but if you choose a company that is reputable, then there is no reason for worry.

With orthodontist braces now available online, many traditional orthodontists express their concern. And their concern is absolutely warranted. It will be interesting to see how the market adapts in the years to come, but by the looks of it, it seems that consumers are embracing this new way to get perfectly aligned teeth.

Teledentistry: Exciting New Tool in the Dental Industry

As mentioned above, the dental industry is undergoing significant changes. This isn't totally new in an ever-evolving industry, but the advent of teledentistry is causing so much buzz because many believe that this gives an opportunity for the under-serviced sector of the society to have access to quality dental care.

One of the best tools now available in the arsenal of dental professionals is teledentistry. It is a new process of using technology to consult, educate, diagnose, and provide treatment for numerous dental health problems. In the case of services like Easysmile, it has made achieving that perfect set of pearly whites that much more easier to achieve.

In a simple 3-step method, you can get your invisible braces and aligners at home. With a flexible payment method (an option between one-time or monthly payments), it also makes dental services and braces more accessible. Prior to the advent of teledentistry and companies like Easysmile, it was difficult for people in the lower end of the socioeconomic scale to access these services. In particular, a larger percentage of the population can now have access to specialty dental care.

Do you have any issues with your teeth? If so, what type of braces are you currently using?