Choosing braces offers benefits like:

  • Aligning teeth for optimal function and aesthetics
  • Improving oral hygiene by correcting crowded teeth
  • Preventing long-term wear and tear on misaligned teeth
  • Correcting bite issues, enhancing eating and speaking
  • Customised to individual needs for effective results
  • Boosting self-esteem with a straighter, healthier smile


Here, we shed light on how braces function from the initial consultation to the final removal.

Initial Assessment and Planning

Orthodontic treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation at a dental clinic. This assessment includes examining the condition of the teeth and gums, taking X-rays, and making plaster models of the teeth. The goal is to diagnose specific dental issues such as crooked teeth, overcrowding, overbites, underbites, and other malocclusions affecting the upper and lower teeth. This initial stage is crucial for developing a tailored treatment plan that addresses the individual's unique orthodontic needs.

The Mechanics of Dental Braces

Dental braces consist of several components, including brackets, archwires, and bands, which work together to apply gentle pressure on the teeth. Brackets, typically made from metal or ceramic, are bonded to each tooth. Archwires threaded through these brackets act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. By adjusting the tension on the archwires, dentists can control the direction and amount of pressure exerted on the teeth.

The consistent pressure applied by braces slowly moves the teeth into the desired position. This movement is possible due to the bone surrounding the teeth remodelling in response to the force. As pressure is applied, the bone on one side of the tooth dissolves, allowing the tooth to move, while new bone grows on the opposite side to support the tooth in its new position.

Duration and Adjustments

The duration of orthodontic treatment with braces varies depending on the individual's age, the severity of dental problems, and the type of braces used. Typically, braces must be worn for one to three years. During this time, patients will have regular appointments at the dental clinic for adjustments. These appointments are crucial for progressing the treatment, as the dentist will tighten or replace the archwires, adjust bands, and make other modifications to ensure the teeth move correctly and efficiently.

Here's how to care for your teeth while wearing braces.

 Regular Cleaning and Brushing

Braces can trap food particles and plaque around the brackets and wires, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It's essential to brush your teeth thoroughly at least three times a day, ideally after every meal and snack. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that can reach around the braces' components. A toothbrush with a small head is preferable as it can navigate around the wires and brackets more effectively.

Consider using an interdental brush to remove any debris caught under the wires or between the brackets. Fluoride toothpaste should be used to help strengthen the tooth enamel and protect against decay. For those with adult teeth under orthodontic treatment, extra care should be taken to brush each tooth at the gum line as well as above and below the brackets to ensure all plaque is removed.

Flossing Daily

Flossing with braces can be challenging, but it's crucial for removing plaque and food particles that a toothbrush can't reach. Use waxed floss or a floss threader designed for braces to navigate the floss under the wires and between the teeth. Daily flossing prevents the buildup of plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.

Rinse with an Antiseptic Mouthwash

Using an antiseptic mouthwash can alleviate gum and cheek inflammation caused by braces. Additionally, it can access hard-to-reach areas inaccessible by brushing or flossing, offering supplementary cleaning and bacterial protection.

Diet and Food Choices

What you eat while wearing braces is crucial for preventing damage to the brackets and wires. Steer clear of sticky, hard, and chewy foods that may damage or dislodge orthodontic appliances. Limit sugary and starchy foods to minimise plaque buildup, reducing the risk of tooth decay. Instead, choose softer foods that are gentler on the teeth and less likely to cause harm.

Protecting Your Braces

If you participate in sports or physical activities, it's advisable to wear a mouthguard to safeguard your braces and mouth against potential injuries. Any impact to the face can damage the braces or injure the soft tissues of the mouth. A custom-made mouthguard from the dental clinic is ideal as it will fit comfortably and offer the best protection.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental clinic visits for check-ups and brace adjustments are imperative during orthodontic treatment. These appointments enable the dentist to track treatment progress and make any required brace modifications. Furthermore, professional cleanings can eliminate plaque and tartar accumulation often overlooked by routine oral hygiene practices.

Handling emergencies like a broken bracket or wire during orthodontic treatments requires immediate and appropriate actions to avoid discomfort and potential setbacks in your treatment progress. If you experience a broken bracket or wire, you should first contact your dentist to inform them of the situation. They can advise you on the next steps and book an appointment to resolve the issue.

In the interim, if a broken wire is causing discomfort, attempt using the eraser end of a pencil to carefully nudge it into a more comfortable position. If this isn't feasible or doesn't alleviate the discomfort, apply orthodontic wax to the wire's end to prevent it from rubbing against your mouth. Avoid cutting the wire, as this could lead to accidental inhalation or swallowing.

If a bracket breaks and is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax if needed. If the bracket comes off completely, keep it and bring it to your next appointment. Avoid attaching it back yourself. Eating soft foods can also help prevent further damage and reduce discomfort until you can see your dentist.