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questions about braces

You or a loved one needs braces – what now? How much will braces cost, how can your find affordable orthodontic care, and what do you need to know about getting and having braces?

In our effort to help you make informed dental care decisions, we've included answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about orthodontic treatment and braces below.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment corrects teeth that don’t line up correctly (“bad bites), helping to improve oral health and enhance your smile.

How do orthodontists straighten teeth?

Orthodontic treatment realigns teeth by applying constant, gentle pressure. In the nnot-so-recent past, this was typically done with metal braces. Small brackets cemented to the teeth were connected by a wire, which was regularly tightened by a dentist or orthodontist to shift teeth into the desired position.

Metal braces are still utilized today, but so are ceramic, clear and micro braces, along with invisible aligners.

How do I find an orthodontist?

Once you've made the decision to improve your smile and dental health, the next step is to find an orthodontist. Click here to find an orthodontist in your area by searching our extensive network of dentists and dental care specialists.

Why is straightening your teeth important?

Orthodontic treatment can prevent:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • tooth loss
  • difficulty in speaking clearly
  • difficulty in chewing properly
  • abnormal wear to tooth enamel
  • jaw problems

What causes orthodontic problems?

Orthodontic problems are typically inherited, but they can also be acquired by developmental factors. Some of the most commonly inherited conditions include crooked teeth, crowded teeth and other irregularities of the teeth and jaw. Acquired problems can be caused by developmental factors such as thumb sucking and the premature loss of baby or permanent teeth.

How much does orthodontic treatments usually cost?

The cost of treatment depends on numerous factors, including the complexity, method and estimated length of treatment. The typical costs are:

  • Metal braces (traditional braces) cost $3,000 - $7,000.
  • Ceramic braces, which blend with the color of teeth leaving only a thin metal wire visible, cost $4,000 -$8,000.
  • Invisalign® aligners, clear plastic devices that fit over teeth and can be removed temporarily when the wearer chooses, cost $4,000 - $7,400.
  • Lingual braces, which are made out of metal but are bonded to the inside surface of teeth making them virtually invisible when the wearer smiles, cost $8,000 - $10,000.

How long do I have to wear braces?

Generally, orthodontic treatments usually last from 18 to 30 months, with the average treatment taking 24 months. Length of treatment depends on the severity of the problem, the proposed treatment plan, the patient's age, compliance to the treatment plan, and other factors.

How do I take care of my braces?

As always, it's very important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing after every meal. Hard and sticky foods should be avoided since they can damage your braces. Be sure to keep all of your orthodontic appointments and follow the instructions and recommendations given by your orthodontist.

How can I save money on my dental care, including braces?

Dental savings plans offer savings of 10% to 60% on most dental procedures, and are an easy way for you to save money at the dentist or dental specialists like orthodontists.

Many dental savings plans offer deep discounts on braces at participating orthodontists. Still not convinced? Learn more about the difference between dental savings plans and dental insurance today and start saving on your dental care tomorrow.

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