How do I know if I need braces?

How do I know if I need braces?

Have you ever wondered if you need braces? Of course, seeing a dentist or an orthodontist is the only way to get a definitive answer, but there are some signs that you may benefit from wearing braces.


If your teeth are crooked, overcrowded, you have gaps, an overbite, an underbite or a crossbite, there’s a good chance that you may be one of the many people who can benefit from braces.


Let’s explore those a little further.


Crooked teeth: if your teeth are crooked it can be difficult to clean them correctly, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Braces can help align your teeth, making them easier to clean so less prone to issues.


Overcrowded teeth: similarly to crooked teeth, overcrowding can make it difficult to look after your teeth correctly. Your orthodontist will be able to recommend the best course of action, but braces can certainly assist in putting your teeth in the correct spot.


Gaps in teeth: gaps in your teeth can trap food and bacteria which can cause cavities and gum issues. For some people, gaps can cause an aesthetic look that they don’t like. Braces can help to close the gaps, preventing long term issues.


Overbites, Underbites and Crossbites: this may not be one you can pick up yourself as it often requires taking a good look at the entire mouth, but if your top and bottom teeth don’t line up correctly, you may have an issue with your bite. This can cause issues with chewing and create ongoing jaw pain. Braces can help correct an overbite, underbite or crossbite.


How can braces help straighten your teeth?


You may wonder how such a small piece of metal or plastic can help straighten your teeth. Well your dentist will take an x-ray of your mouth which will then create a 3D image so that they can create a custom-made set of brackets and wires (or a plastic mould) that will be attached to your teeth. The wires can then simply be tightened or loosened as needed to move your teeth into the correct spot.

These wires can’t be chewed off, and while they may break, it is unlikely to happen. They are a common orthodontic appliance that have been used for years and years to correct the alignment of teeth where needed.


Two Types of Braces

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The two types of braces we mainly see on the market today are the traditional metal braces and Invisalign, a clear aligner system that is often used for less intensive alignment.  Invisible aligners are designed to gradually straighten teeth and correct misalignment by applying pressure on the teeth’s surfaces in order to move them into the desired position. On the other hand, metal braces often have brackets that attach to the front and back surfaces of each tooth with an arch wire that runs through slots in each bracket. The goal with these types of braces is for them to move your jaw forward so your upper and lower teeth fit together more closely.


Braces on Adult Teeth


We often get asked by patients if they can get braces on adult teeth and the answer is – absolutely! There really is no upper age limit to have your teeth fixed wearing braces and they certainly aren’t just for kids. Many adults do tend to go with Invisalign as it provides the option to straighten the teeth discreetly allowing them to maintain a professional look while fixing their teeth.


The type of brace you need really does depend on how bad your teeth are, the type of alignment needed and of course, your budget. Traditional braces are often cheaper than Invisalign, but they may not be suitable for your teeth or mouth.


A lot of people are not sure if they need braces. If you have a problem with your teeth, teeth shifting or overlapping, then you might need braces. If you are unsure if your teeth are straight enough to warrant the use of braces, then talk to your dentist about it.

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Dr Henry Wong is a local dental graduate, having done his studies at the University of Queensland. He has had over 10 years of practical experience, providing a wide range of services in the various fields of dentistry. He has a strong interest in Orthodontics (braces) and has an affinity treating young patients. Henry regularly attends a range of continuing education courses, and is very much up to date with his continuing professional development requirements.   Dr Henry is a long term member of the ADA (Australian Dental Association). He has also been involved with RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service), in a charity project that provides much needed dental treatment to villages in Nepal. He has also provided volunteer work in Brisbane through the National Dental Foundation.   Dr Henry enjoys spending time with his family and young daughter. They are often the reluctant subjects one of his other interests; photography. He likes to unwind by listening to comedy podcasts and tending to his growing collection of indoor plants.