Orthodontic treatment consists of two phases of treatment: the active orthodontic phase and the retention orthodontic phase. The active orthodontic phase involves the use of braces to move the teeth into their new position. The retention orthodontic phase involves the use of a dental retainer to keep the teeth in their new position.
Orthodontic braces move teeth by applying continuous pressure in a particular direction. The pressure applied by the orthodontic braces will generally have to be adjusted many times over the course of the orthodontic treatment. When using orthodontic dental braces, treatment can last anywhere from one to three years, and sometimes longer depending on your age and the type and severity of your problem. Orthodontic dental braces consist of brackets, which are applied to the teeth with a bonding agent, and arch wires. The arched wires thread through the brackets and guide the teeth to their new position. Orthodontic dental braces are made of stainless steel, plastic, or ceramic. Stainless steel orthodontic braces are the most common, but plastic or ceramic can be chosen for cosmetic purposes.
Ceramic braces are an "almost invisible" orthodontic option used to correct misaligned teeth. In some instances, products such as Invisalign are not practical because of the way that the teeth need to be turned. The alternatives to this, and to metal braces are Ceramic braces. They are as strong as the more traditional metal braces and yet resist staining. Made from composite materials, they blend with the colour of your teeth so as not to be very visible.
Orthodontic retainers are appliances made of plastic and stainless steel wire and are used to hold the teeth in their new position after a patient's orthodontic braces have been removed. The orthodontic retainer keeps the teeth in their new position while the surrounding bone and gums adjust around them. Retainers can be attached to the teeth or removable. The length of time that the orthodontic retainer must be worn will vary.
Brushing and flossing regularly are even more important for people who have braces, since the brackets catch and retain food particles and plaque more easily. It is important to brush carefully after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush and floss between braces and under wires using floss threaders. It is important to have regular professional cleanings to keep your gums and teeth healthy. To prevent damage to your braces you should avoid eating sticky foods and chewing on hard foods like popcorn, ice, nuts or other hard objects.