Need braces? Say goodbye to 'metal-mouth' taunts

June 23, 2017

(HealthDay)—Braces have long been a kind of geeky right-of-passage—something that must be endured for a few years to ensure a lifelong smile with straight teeth.

Fortunately, have evolved over the years. They've gotten smaller and more options are available for those who need them, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Straightening teeth is not just for kids and teens. The American Association of Orthodontics said 1 out of 5 orthodontic patients is over age 21. (Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry dealing with the straightening of teeth.)

And braces aren't just for cosmetics. It's easier to clean straight teeth that have the right amount of separation between them, the FDA said.

Your dentist or orthodontist will determine what type of braces are best for you. The FDA explains what options are available:

Metal braces move teeth by applying pressure and typically consist of small brackets cemented to the teeth, connected by a wire and held to the brackets by rubber bands. The wire is regularly tightened to gradually shift your teeth and jaw.

These types of braces may be clear- or tooth-colored to make them less obvious. And some people like to personalize the look of their braces with colored rubber bands.

A big drawback to metal braces is that it's easy for food to get stuck in them. Be extra careful when you brush to keep your teeth clean and free of food material, the FDA said.

So-called invisible braces, or aligners, are made of clear plastic material and worn over your teeth to straighten them. You'll wear each custom-made aligner for a few weeks, and then get a new one for the next stage of your treatment. This approach gradually moves into the correct position.

Aligners are removable and need to be taken out before you eat, brush and floss. It is much easier to maintain good dental hygiene with aligners than with metal braces.

The average time a person needs to wear braces is two years, but the time can be longer or shorter depending on the individual.

Retainers are worn nightly after a person no longer has braces. The retainer helps maintain tooth position so that the bone in the tooth can solidify in the new position, according to the FDA.

Explore further: New braces clinical trial sheds metal brackets

More information: The Academy of General Dentistry has more on braces.

Related Stories

New braces clinical trial sheds metal brackets

March 16, 2017
The use of terms like "metal mouth" and "brace face" may soon be a thing of the past.

Teens take dental care into their own hands, with questionable results

April 29, 2017
In this age of do-it-yourself everything, orthodontists say teeth straightening is one task you should leave to the professionals.

New technique reduces the time needed to wear braces by more than half

December 12, 2013
A new technique developed at the College of Dentistry by Cristina Teixeira, associate professor and chair of the Department of Orthodontics, and Mani Alikhani, associate professor of orthodontics and director of the Consortium ...

'Smart' retainer keeps patients (and teeth) in line

December 11, 2015
Innovative research is underway at the UCSF School of Dentistry to produce a Bluetooth smart retainer for orthodontics patients. The goal of the SmartByte retainer is to increase the amount of time a patient wears the device, ...

From one generation to the next, dental care changes

May 18, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Stephanie Crowe, a mother of three from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., still remembers dreading a visit to the dentist as a young girl. It was often a painful experience, and her family's dentist showed little empathy ...

Recommended for you

Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay

January 22, 2018
A scientifically based approach that includes a tooth-decay risk assessment, aggressive preventive measures and conservative restorations can dramatically reduce decay in community dental practices, according to a study by ...

Painless dental lasers can render teeth cavity-resistant

November 21, 2017
Almost as soon as lasers were invented in the 1960s, curious dentists wondered if these powerful forms of light could be used on teeth, though those early lasers were much too crude for any useful dental work.

Nanodiamonds show promise for aiding recovery from root canal

October 23, 2017
People who undergo root canals may soon have a tiny but powerful ally that could prevent infection after treatment.

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2017
This article is nothing other than an ad for "new and improved" braces. There is zero science in it whatsoever.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.