Ask The Dentist – October 2023

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Should I Get Braces?

Most people will benefit from orthodontic treatment in some way. While some will benefit more than others, the main benefits include: improved esthetics, a more even bite and teeth that are easier to clean. The primary benefit that most people look for (straight teeth) is, pun intended, very straightforward. Changing the position of teeth can not only straighten them, but it can also improve facial esthetics as well. When the bite distribution is even across all teeth, the teeth wear down equally which results in teeth that are less prone to fracture. Lastly, straight teeth are not only easier to clean, but also accumulate less buildup. This becomes very important later in life when manual dexterity diminishes.

How Long Do I Need To Wear Braces For?

This will vary from person to person due to how complex or simple the case is. If you have had braces in the past and the teeth have re-crowded, it usually doesn’t take as long. Many people who have had relapse will take anywhere from 6-12 months, sometimes shorter. Simple cases can be easily corrected in a few months. However there are those who routinely need to be in treatment for years, especially if there are skeletal discrepancies. The last thing to keep in mind is that these times are an estimate as there are many factors that change the length of treatment. For instance a teenager who isn’t actually wearing their clear aligners at the prescribed time will take longer.

Are Braces Painful?

No, braces should not be painful. Whenever you switch to new trays or have the wire ‘tightened’, there will be a significant amount of pressure. However it should never be a sharp pain. If you experience a sharp, stabbing pain, immediately contact your doctor.

Can I Get The Clear Aligners (Invisalign)?

Most people can receive clear aligner treatment. While not for everyone, there is a significant amount of evidence that shows that clear aligners are as effective as traditional metal braces for many cases. This does not mean that this is 100% guaranteed though as there are unique circumstances that require the metal braces. However there may be a time when the metal braces can be taken off and treatment then switched to the clear aligners. This combination therapy can be very effective at getting the best of both worlds for comprehensive orthodontic care.

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