Braces are a dental device that are used to straighten teeth, correct crowding, close gaps and help create a better bite. They are fixed to the teeth temporarily with a glue, and removed at the end of treatment. They can be used alone, or alongside options including removable plates or other fixed options.
Types of Braces
Metal braces are often used, but it is possible to get clear braces or braces that are the same colour as teeth. There are even braces that go behind teeth where no one can see them.
How Braces Work
Braces straighten teeth by putting steady pressure on your teeth and by staying in place for a certain amount of time. They sometimes need extra help, and it is common to have elastics from one jaw to the other to help achieve a better bite at some stage while wearing them.
Everyone has to wear braces for different lengths of time, but most people usually wear braces for about 12 - 24 months. Once braces are removed it is common to wear a retainer, which can be a fixed wire behind the teeth, a thin piece of plastic shaped like a mouthguard, or a plate made of plastic with metal wires and clips. Retainers make sure teeth don't go wandering back to their original places.
After a retainer is fitted, instructions are given on when and how long to wear it. Regular reviews are also recommended to ensure teeth stay straight and a good bite is stable.
NZDOS - how can we help
We have many members with experience in braces that can provide reliable, safe treatment. Check them out on our Doctor finder.