Upon hearing the news, you most likely have several questions, such as how braces work, how much they cost and how long they have to be worn. If you're an adult, you may be surprised to learn that braces aren't just for kids.
The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) answers these frequently asked questions to help you understand the facts about braces and how they contribute to optimal dental health.
How many people in the United States wear braces
Approximately four million people in the United States are wearing braces at any one time.
How do braces work and what is their benefit
Braces help to straighten teeth by applying constant pressure. If your dentist says you have an overbite, it means your upper jaw significantly overlaps your lower jaw. If your lower jaw overlaps your upper jaw, your dentist calls this an under-bite. The wires on traditional metal braces help to move your teeth, while the rubber bands help correct the alignment.
Wearing braces is about more than just a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment results in an overall healthier mouth. Teeth that are crooked or crowded can be harder to clean, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Teeth that are not aligned properly can result in difficulty chewing and speaking, excessive wear on tooth enamel and problems with the jaw.
"Once your dentist or orthodontist recognizes a problem with your bite or the alignment of your teeth, he or she will recommend a treatment plan that best fits your needs," said Dr. Andrew Kwasny, PDA president and orthodontist from Erie. "There are many treatment options to discuss that may depend on your cooperation to be successful.
"After just a short time in braces, a healthy, functional and attractive smile can be with you for a lifetime."
What is an orthodontist
Your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist, a highly trained specialist in correcting crooked or crowded teeth. It is recommended that your child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.
How much do braces cost
The cost of braces varies considerably depending on the extent of treatment and the type of braces. On average, they cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Even though braces may seem expensive, they are a worthwhile investment.
How long do braces typically remain on teeth
The length of time braces need to be worn depends on a number of factors, including the amount of space available in your mouth, how far the teeth have to move, the health of the teeth, gums and supporting bone structure and how closely you follow your dentist's instructions. The average is one to three years.
Are there different types of braces
There are a variety of different types of braces, including traditional metal braces, clear braces, tooth-colored braces and braces that go behind your teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist can help determine which type is right for you.
For more information on braces, visit the Kids' Corner section of PDA's website at www.padental.org/kidscorner.
About the Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA's mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. For more information on PDA, visit our website at www.padental.org