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All You Need to Know About Braces

Posted on June 24, 2021

Orthodontic treatments have come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, thanks to innovative new technology and improved techniques. Today’s patients have more choices than ever before, but even so, traditional braces remain one of the best tools we have for straightening smiles! Here at Chawla Orthodontics, we offer a variety of braces that are comfortable, affordable, and highly effective. To learn everything you need to know about braces, and how this orthodontic staple can give you a stunning smile, keep reading below! 

The basics of braces

When you visit our Westmont or Villa Park office for your free consultation with Dr. Chawla, he’ll provide you with a customized treatment plan. This plan will include information on how each tooth needs to be moved in order to shift it to the desired position, which Dr. Chawla will use to guide his placement of the brackets. These are generally affixed to the surface of the teeth using a bonding agent and connected using a flexible wire. 

It’s the bends in this wire that encourage precise movements of the teeth; that is, each bend provides a different type of pressure on different teeth. This process of tooth movement is called remodeling and it involves minor changes in the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth.

When pressure is put on the tooth, like what happens with brackets and wires, cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts form around its root. The pressure of the wire then works with these osteoblasts and osteoclasts to create a negative pressure on one side of the tooth. At this site, bone is removed. On the other side of the tooth, the bone is reformed. Throughout the treatment process, this pressure and remodeling will gradually move each tooth into the desired position.

The remodeling process can only occur if constant pressure is put on the teeth. Once that pressure stops, the tooth will settle into its new position but eventually begin drifting back to its previous place in the mouth. Once braces are removed, it’s important to maintain a similar amount of pressure to keep the patient’s new smile in place. This is why regular retainer use is so important for lasting results!  This appliance helps newly aligned teeth stay in their new positions and also prevents any natural drifting. 

Every smile is unique, and each patient responds to treatment in their own way. That means there’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long treatment will last. On average, however, patients tend to be in braces for 6-36 months or so.

girl smiling with braces


What types of braces are available at Chawla Orthodontics? 

Whatever your needs, budget, and lifestyle, we’ve got you covered! Our practice is proud to offer the following braces to families throughout our community. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic appliance and come with a proven track record of success. They can successfully treat a range of orthodontic issues and can be particularly useful in more severe or complex cases. Although braces have been around for a long time, they’ve undergone some truly impressive changes recently. Today’s metal braces look good and feel good, too! 

Clear braces

Clear braces function the same way metal braces do, but they come with the added benefit of clear brackets. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, this can be an incredibly subtle way to straighten the teeth. That makes them a big hit with our teen and adult patients! The ceramic brackets we use with clear braces are slightly larger and a bit more brittle than metal brackets. Because of this, we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth. 

Self-ligating braces

These innovative braces eliminate the need for elastics by using self-ligating brackets. These have a built-in door that passively holds the wire to the bracket, eliminating the need for additional attachments. This also decreases the amount of force required to move the teeth. Self-ligating braces can be very precise and effective, and often work so efficiently that fewer adjustments are required! As a result, appointments tend to be faster and fewer in number. The unique design also moves teeth into their correct positions with less discomfort than traditional braces.

Lingual braces

These are similar to traditional braces in several ways. For instance, both have brackets attached to the surface of the teeth, and both use wires and rubber bands to slowly move them into more desirable positions. However, the brackets used with lingual braces are placed on the back sides of the teeth facing the tongue, rather than the front of the teeth. This makes them virtually invisible!

Caring for braces

Like anything new in life, learning to care for braces can take a little patience—and practice! Patients should brush their teeth thoroughly 3-4 times each day with fluoride toothpaste. The areas between the brackets and gums require special attention, and it’s important to carefully clean between the wires and teeth. An interdental brush can help remove hard-to-reach plaque and food debris from those hard-to-reach areas. 

Flossing is also essential for good oral health, especially for those in braces. It should be done at least once per day, preferably before bedtime. Floss threaders or an oral irrigator like a Waterpik can help remove food particles and plaque, but these supplemental tools shouldn’t take the place of a regular brushing and flossing routine.

Food restrictions can come with a pretty big learning curve, but they’re necessary to protect a patient’s braces and teeth during treatment. Anything crunchy or chewy can damage the brackets and wires, so favorites like chips, gum, and popcorn will need to go on the back burner until the braces are removed. This can take some getting used to, but food restrictions are only temporary! All the hard work and dedication that comes with them will be more than worth it once treatment is complete. 

Find the best braces for your smile at Chawla Orthodontics

The first step in your journey with Chawla Orthodontics is a FREE consultation in our Westmont or Villa Park office. If you’re ready to explore everything our braces have to offer, get in touch today. Your best smile is waiting for you!