Having straight teeth is important. Teeth that are crooked or out of place (misaligned) affect the way a person chews and talks and how their smile looks. Because they have unnatural spaces, crooked teeth are harder to clean and are more likely to have cavities. In some cases, crooked teeth can affect the way the jaws line up and can cause pain and discomfort.
One method to correct this is to have Orthodontic treatment (or braces and retainers as they are sometimes called). Orthodontic treatment works by exerting a gentle pressure over time to straighten teeth that are growing, or have already grown, out of place.
Braces have three basic parts:
- Brackets - brackets that are attached to each tooth.
- Bonding or band - the material that attaches the bracket to the tooth.
- Arch Wire - a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket.
Braces have come a long way from the "train track" look of yesteryears . Today, many orthodontic patients can get braces that attach to the back of the teeth, or use transparent brackets.
A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that helps keep teeth in their new, straightened position after braces have been removed. Retainers can also be used to treat more minor orthodontic problems.