When it comes to straightening teeth and improving oral health, Dr. Larry Majznerski loves the ease and convenience of Invisalign clear aligner therapy. After all, he has been the most experienced Invisalign provider in Grand Rapids for the past twenty years! However, we sometimes encounter cases that are a bit too complex for Invisalign aligners, or we’ll have a patient who is better suited to a more conventional treatment method.
Even though we’re now able to offer patients an innovative option like Invisalign, traditional braces are still one of the most useful tools we have! As one of the oldest and most recognizable orthodontic appliances, braces have an impressive track record for correcting malocclusions and creating beautiful, healthy smiles. To learn more about what braces are, how they work, and what can be expected from braces treatment, keep reading below!
What are braces made of, exactly?
Brackets are usually made from a mix of high-quality stainless steel, nickel, ceramic, or other materials. They are affixed to the front of the teeth, and have tiny hooks or doors that allow the wire to be threaded through. Brackets can be secured by closing the door, or by applying an elastic over the top of the wire. They are widely known for their durability! Align Orthodontics uses Master low-profile brackets for greater comfort and a better appearance.
Technically a form of composite bonding material, this is what Dr. Majznerski will use to attach the brackets to the teeth. In more complex cases requiring serious treatment, metal bands may be used in conjunction with the glue to give the braces a bit more leverage and stability.
This thin piece of metal runs from one bracket to another. We use specific shapes and curves in it to move teeth into the desired positions. In some cases, the wire will attach all the bottom or upper teeth together, but if connecting a few teeth is better for the patient, we can cut the wire strategically instead. Dr. Majznerski uses LightForce wires for optimal comfort and maximum efficiency.
We use these rubber bands for many different situations, and they are especially helpful when we want to exert extra pressure on the teeth or jaws. Elastics will often be an essential part of treatment for patients who need bite correction. They tend to be strung between an upper bracket hook and a lower bracket hook. This will pull the upper jaw backwards to correct an overbite, or the lower jaw backwards to correct an underbite.
We cement these stainless steel rings to the teeth using dental bonding agents. They provide an anchor for traditional braces and other orthodontic appliances, and aren’t necessary for all patients.
Also referred to as separators, these small elastic “donuts” or rings are often used to create some space in between the teeth when needed. This will typically happen before the bands are placed.
How does the treatment process work with braces?
During your initial consultation at Align Orthodontics, you’ll meet Dr. Larry Majznerski and the rest of our expert team. After taking some diagnostic photos and x-rays, Dr. Majznerski will complete an orthodontic examination. If braces treatment is recommended, we will schedule a date and time for you to begin your orthodontic journey. This will normally be the day that your braces are placed. Our team will be available to answer any questions you have before, during, and after this appointment. We always want you to feel fully confident in your treatment plan!
During the treatment process, you’ll be scheduled for follow-up visits with us about every 4-6 weeks. During these appointments, Dr. Majznerski will check that everything is progressing according to your customized treatment plan. Our office works hard to keep these appointments short so you can get back to work, home, or school as quickly as possible, but please do you best to keep them as scheduled. These visits are an essential part of your overall treatment plan, and help us ensure that you get the very best results in the least amount of time.
Traditional metal braces are extremely efficient at correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. They can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might, so some signs of progress may be seen in a relatively short period of time. This can give patients a real boost of encouragement as the orthodontic journey begins! The strength, durability, and affordability that traditional braces offer makes them a top treatment for orthodontic patients year after year.
Caring for braces
Many patients find that there’s a learning curve involved in caring for braces, but with a little patience and practice, they become just one more part of your daily routine in no time! Having a good oral hygiene routine is particularly important for braces patients, since food particles can get stuck in all the nooks and crannies created by the wires and bands.
Fortunately, there are a number of accessories available to help make brushing and flossing with braces easier. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to help rinse hard to reach places, and ortho-picks can be an excellent choice for braces-specific flossing.
Food restrictions are a part of life when you’re in braces, which means patients need to avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy to protect their appliance. Some raw fruits and veggies are off the table temporarily, along with popcorn, gum, nuts, and several kinds of candy. While this can certainly be frustrating, it really is only temporary! All this hard work will be more than worth it once we remove your braces and reveal a beautiful new smile.
How long does braces treatment last?
“How long will I be in braces?” is a question we hear all the time, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a “one size fits all” answer. Every patient’s smile is different, and each will respond to braces in their own way, so treatment time varies on a case-by-case basis. Although the average time spent in braces tends to be around 12-24 months, it could be shorter or longer in your case, depending on your specific needs.
Get the best in braces treatment with Dr. Larry Majznerski
The first step in any orthodontic journey is a FREE consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Majznerski. If you’re in Grand Rapids or the surrounding communities and would like more information on how braces can give you the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch today to schedule your first visit with Align Orthodontics.