The benefits of smiling are easily felt and recognized: Smiling has actually been shown to increase feel-good chemicals like endorphins, lower stress, and make us seem more approachable and perhaps even more attractive.

Some people are hesitant to smile, though, because they feel their teeth aren’t straight enough. Perhaps they’re dealing with multiple gaps in their teeth, an underbite, or teeth that are too tightly spaced (“crowding”).

Metal braces and clear braces, as well as virtually invisible aligners like Invisalign, can correct many of these common alignment and bite issues so that you can have the smile that you’ve always wanted.

braces before and after

Before, During, and After Braces: How Braces Work

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents should consider bringing their children to an orthodontist for a consultation at age seven.

You might think that this is too early for orthodontic work or that you have more baby teeth than permanent teeth at that point in your life. And anyway, aren’t braces only for adolescents?

Early Treatments Are Increasingly Common

Early treatments are becoming more popular for a few reasons. Even at this young age, children’s permanent incisors and molars are likely coming in.

Orthodontists at Carlyle Orthodontics can identify very subtle tooth and jaw developmental issues and help steer children’s and adolescents’ teeth in the right direction when their bodies are still growing and can more easily accommodate these dental corrections.

It’s very common for children to come in with their parents so that they can get checked out and receive an orthodontic consultation to ensure that their development is going smoothly.

Preparing for Life with Braces: New Patient Exams

Once you’ve decided that you want to explore the option of improving your smile through life with braces, Dr. Carlyle and her staff will give you a new patient exam to determine whether you’re a good candidate for braces.

Digital photographs are taken of your teeth, jaw, and face. From there, Dr. Carlyle will make a thorough personal examination of your teeth and surrounding oral tissues before taking a look at your bite.

You may intuit that you have, for instance, an overbite, and that’s okay. Orthodontists and their staff are there to help you discover a more beautiful smile in a relaxing environment.

After the new patient exam, Dr. Carlyle will go through her clinical findings with you, address any questions or lingering concerns that you have, and give a personal recommendation for treatment options.

If you and your orthodontic staff agree on a treatment option, then impressions of your teeth will be taken. You’ll also discuss the timeline and cost for your treatment, as well as appointment schedule.

Getting Your Braces Installed

Getting your braces installed is a fairly painless and quick process. The orthodontist will clean and dry your teeth before putting on the bonding glue that will hold the brackets in place.

Then, archwire can be placed into each bracket to connect them and bring your teeth into a more perfect alignment. The entire process may take around an hour or two depending on your needs.

The treatment process for an Invisalign is slightly different, and you can read more about it here.

The diagnostic process is similar, but with an Invisalign you’ll be wearing a new set of aligners every two weeks to achieve a better smile.

After Braces Come Off

Removable or fixed retainers are typical after your braces come off to ensure lasting results. Ask your orthodontist at Carlyle Orthodontics if you’re a candidate for a clear retainer!