What Are Braces?

At Gallagher Orthodontics, we aim to surpass patient expectations and help each individual meet their orthodontic goals. We understand the importance of having a nice smile, and we offer several types of braces to improve the function and appearance of your teeth.

Braces refer to oral appliances designed to correct alignment by gradually shifting your teeth. The objective is to enhance your bite, chewing abilities, and the overall aesthetics of your smile. Dr. Gallagher offers various types of braces to patients, including metal braces, ceramic braces, and self-ligating braces.

These orthodontic appliances have been around for centuries and have since been perfected to safely and effectively achieve results. All types of braces slowly move the teeth into place by applying light pressure. They come in different colors, materials, and styles, some of which may be more suitable for you than others.

At Gallagher Orthodontics, we can help you decide which type of braces are right for you. When you come into our office for a consultation, Dr. Gallagher will devise a personalized treatment plan based on your individual needs.

Metal Braces

When most people imagine braces, they usually picture metal braces. Popular among children and teenagers, metal braces are also one of the most effective options. Commonly made of stainless steel, they consist of brackets, thin wire, and tiny plastic rubber bands.

When first applied, Dr. Gallagher attaches the brackets to the teeth using a special adhesive safe for oral use. They remain held in place by threading a thin wire through them and securing the rubber bands. Depending on your treatment plan, the wire is tightened every four to six weeks, applying consistent pressure until your teeth shift into perfect alignment. Depending on the level of adjustments needed, you can expect to wear metal braces for around 12-24 months.

The rubber bands used on metal braces also come in a wide variety of colors, allowing you to customize them to your personal style. Many people match the colors to their favorite sports team, the holidays, and more.

Ceramic Braces

Like metal braces, ceramic braces consist of the same components, except the brackets are made from a tooth-colored ceramic material. Some teens and adults may prefer these types of braces as they tend to blend in with your natural smile and are more discreet. The wires threaded through the brackets of your clear braces are still made of stainless steel but are far less noticeable than with metal braces.

While ceramic braces prove just as effective as metal devices, they tend to be less durable, so they may not be suitable for every patient.

Self-Ligating Braces

One of the latest devices used to straighten teeth is self-ligating braces. While they look similar to metal and ceramic braces, they operate differently using sliding door technology. This means the wires directly attach to the brackets, making rubber bands unnecessary.

Orthodontic professionals believe self-ligating braces are more effective than other types of braces. They’re also thinner than metal or ceramic braces, making them slightly more discreet. What makes them most appealing is that treatment times are often reduced and fewer adjustments will need to be performed.

While you may still need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gallagher every four to six weeks, your visits will not last as long. This shorter appointment time stems from the sliding door technology, which can adjust the pressure on your teeth by just opening and shutting the brackets. Many of our patients find these types of braces easier to maintain as they have no elastics to clean around, meaning less gets in the way when you brush and floss.

What To Expect After Braces Are Applied

After Dr. Gallagher applies your braces, you may experience some pain and discomfort when you eat and drink. However, this is normal and will subside once your mouth becomes adjusted to your braces. You can take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to relieve any soreness. It is also important to continue to maintain your oral hygiene routine, as this will help prevent any additional problems from arising during treatment.