Braces are used to better align teeth, correcting bad bites, crooked or crowded teeth.  Braces are also helpful for those with straight teeth but with a misaligned bite.  Braces are very common, and with the advent of clear-style braces like Invisalign, braces are becoming increasingly popular and common on adults.  A person’s teeth might be crooked for any number of reasons, including genetics, childhood thumb/pacifier-sucking habits, injury, etc.  The problem associated with crooked teeth or a misaligned bite isn’t just cosmetic.  The problems could include tooth decay, gum disease—misaligned teeth can have surfaces that are difficult to clean, so plaque build-up could become prevalent on these surfaces— bad wear on the tooth’s enamel, etc.  So, even if you don’t mind the look of crooked teeth, straight teeth are critical to long-term oral health.

How Braces Work
The type of treatment and the length of treatment needed will vary according to the needs of the patient, however the straightening/aligning process will be accomplished by using either traditional braces (small brackets cemented onto the surfaces of the teeth that are connected by a wire, which a dentist will use to straighten the teeth by a balancing of precise pressures to the brackets).  Another product called Invisalign is a removable aligner which is placed over the teeth in a similar manner to a sports mouth guard, however the aligner is clear and made to look as if there is no device over the teeth.  Invisalign devices can be removed periodically from the teeth and easily cleaned, however because they the devices are so easily removed, it may not be the best option for the wary pre-teen, who may or may not wear the device at all appropriate times.

Cleaning Braces
Braces clean up with a toothbrush and toothpaste in the same manner as the surfaces of teeth, however, because of the placement of the bracket on the surface of the tooth, plaque can build up around the edges of the brackets and permanently stain the teeth if the wearer is not habitually completing quality tooth brushings twice daily.  The advice to avoid sugary foods and drinks, or to at least consume them sparingly, is quality advice for someone with or without braces.