There are a number of reasons why you might need braces. Not simply for the straightening of teeth, braces can correct quite a few issues that you might not be aware of. In this article we are going to go into those issues and give you a foundation of information so that you can determine on your own if braces might be right for you. If you are wondering ‘Do I need braces?’ you don’t have to take some online quiz, just check out these facts!
How do you know if you need braces?
Braces can correct many issues with your bite and help you to get a perfect smile. So what are the most common reasons that people need braces? Here are the most common issues which might require braces to treat:
- Jaw pain – When your teeth are misaligned, the force of your bite is distributed improperly, resulting in pain when eating and sometimes even when talking. Braces can move the teeth back into their proper alignment to remediate this issue.
- Malocclusion – Simply put, this is when the upper or lower jaw is bigger than the other. This produces and underbite or an overbite which your orthodontist can correct by applying braces.
- Sleep apnea – A misaligned bite can, believe it or not, lead to snoring and result in poor sleep for you or your child. Braces may be able to correct this in as little as 6 months!
- Bruxism – Bruxism is the fancy term for ‘grinding your teeth’. Many people grind their teeth at night and may not even know until it starts causing issues, such as soreness of the jaw or even damage to the other teeth. Braces can ultimately correct this issue but if you feel this is too extreme a solution then your dentist may instead prescribe a mouth-guard.
- Speech impediments – While rare, sometimes if your teeth are badly aligned enough it can affect your speech. Over time braces and speech therapy can help to overcome this issue.
This is a good question. One of the downsides of braces is that it makes good oral hygiene a bit more of a chore. Braces must be carefully cleaned around and as a result some people who decide to get braces might feel a little put off and try to ‘rush’ their cleanings. This urge should be resisted, however, as it can result in buildup of bacteria and plaque in the areas that get neglected and in such a case, yes, braces could temporarily weaken your teeth for the duration they are worn… if you are not careful. That said, as long as you DO take the time to clean around them then you should be good. An electric toothbrush is a good idea, as they are quite a bit more efficient than a standard toothbrush and with proper technique you can ensure that your teeth stay pearly white during the period of time when you need to wear your braces.
How long do I have to wear braces?
The duration which you will need to wear your braces will differ based on what you are treating. Braces can be worn for as little as 6 months, but more commonly the period of time which you will be wearing them will be for 18 month up to 2 years of time. During your consultation your orthodontist will be able to tell you exactly what to expect in your particular case.
How much do braces cost?
Costs may vary, but typically you are looking at anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 for a set of braces. While this seems a bit high, your orthodontist is generally going to have payment plans which you can use in order to get braces for you or for your child through affordable monthly payments. Keep in mind that there will be follow-up visits periodically to tighten and adjust the braces and these may or may not be included in the initial projection so be sure to ask about that during your consultation to avoid any surprises.
Can I get my braces for free?
Actually, it is possible. Through Medicaid and through CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) a qualified individual may be able to obtain their braces for free. This will vary from person to person but it is well worth looking in to in order to save yourself the expense of braces.
What is the best age to get braces?
Your orthodontist may recommend braces as early as 7 years of age. Typically it is better when you start early, so that issues may be corrected quickly rather than waiting until
“Your orthodontist may recommend braces as early as 7 years of age.”
your child is attending middle or high school. Adults can also wear braces, of course, so if you feel that you or your child might benefit from them then you should set up an appointment with the orthodontist for a consultation.
What is a consultation for braces like?
A consultation with your orthodontist will initially include a visual check of your current teeth alignment. Further and more detailed examination will likely include X-rays, tooth models, and photos in order to determine the best strategy for straightening out any malocclusions. This process may be performed over one or two appointments depending on your particular orthodontist.
Some final words on braces
While there is a bit of a stigma associated with braces, keep in mind that 2 years is a very small amount of time when you consider the benefits. Perfectly aligned teeth look fantastic and if you child doesn’t like the look of the standard metal braces there are also colored band braces that are available to make wearing them seem a little less of a chore. Just be sure that they are kept thoroughly clean and that you attend the appointments for periodic adjustment and before you know it, you or your child will be sporting a perfect, brace-born smile!