Why Braces?

For Children and Adults | Why Braces? | Two-Phase Treatment | Types of Braces

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident. Equally important, properly fitting teeth are healthy teeth that will last a lifetime. During your treatment, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic in color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be, and the latest memory wire alloys move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Duration of Treatment

Treatment time typically ranges from six months to 2 ½ years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem.  Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the proper timing of orthodontic treatment is crucial to minimizing treatment duration.

Treatment Timing

A child will accomplish two-thirds of their overall growth in the early adolescent years (11-12 years for girls and 13-14 for boys). Therefore, we find that approximately eighteen months of treatment during this rapid growing period will generate greater and more stable jaw bone growth than four or five years of treatment either too early or too late during the child’s slower growing years.

Early orthodontic treatment (before the early adolescent years) is begun for two reasons only: 1) To avoid extraction of permanent teeth and 2) To correct severe skeletal or dental imbalances. In both cases, the early treatment stimulates bone growth in the jaws. This can only be accomplished when the patient is growing.

The following graph depicts this concept:



What Are the Ill Effects Of a Poor Bite?

In a normal bite, the upper teeth should fit between teeth in the lower arch. This is so that when you chew, the cusp tips travel between the grooves of opposing teeth. (See Fig. 1)


Figure 1

If teeth do not fit together in this manner, they are said to be in malocclusion. When you consider the amount of force which is produced during chewing, how the teeth fit becomes very important. Every time you chew, 760 pounds per square inch of stress is generated. Therefore, teeth in a bad bite or malocclusion continually clash against each other in a traumatic end-to-end relationship. This causes the teeth to wear down and loosen in their supporting bone, and eventually the teeth can be lost. (See Fig. 2)

Figure 2

Figure 2

Teeth biting on gum tissues, such as seen in severe overbites and underbites, causes the gums to recede, resulting in further loss of supporting bone structures and tooth loss. (See Fig. 3)


Figure 3

A poor bite places undue forces on the jaw joints, pulling them out of their natural position every time the mouth closes. Pain, muscle spasms, and joint damage frequently result from such a poor bite. (See Fig. 4)


Figure 4

This muscle strain and joint damage often manifests itself as headaches, ringing in the ears, limited jaw opening, and other symptoms commonly known as TMJ Syndrome. Eventually, this stress on the jaw joints will cause destruction and irreversible arthritic damage to the joints.