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Bethesda

What are metal braces?

Metal braces are wire-based appliances that orthodontists use to correct misaligned teeth or jaws to produce an even bite and pleasing smile. Patients struggling with crowded or gapped teeth may be suitable candidates for braces. Traditional braces are made of metal, but some are ceramic or plastic-based. All are designed to be a comfortable solution for patients looking to straighten their teeth for the smile of their dreams.

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Did you know…

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The wires used for metal braces were invented by NASA.

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How it works: The metal braces process

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consultation

At your consultation, your orthodontist will determine if metal braces are right for you. First, your orthodontist will examine your jaw, gums, and teeth to check for gaps, crowding, and misalignment. They will also discuss your smile goals and develop a treatment plan made just for you.

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Impressions and Digital Imaging

Your orthodontist will then take a series of X-rays of your mouth as well as a mold of your teeth, known as an impression. Your orthodontist may make adjustments to ensure your teeth are properly aligning on the mold. Once this is complete, your orthodontist will use the data gathered from the images and impressions to create your metal braces.

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Bonding

To secure your metal braces, your orthodontist will dry and prepare your teeth to make the tooth surface ideal for bonding. Next, the braces will be attached to your teeth using a special adhesive and curing light to set the bond. Your orthodontist will then thread the metal wire through the brackets.

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Fitting and Next Steps

Once your braces are securely placed, your orthodontist will check for proper fitting to ensure maximum comfort. You’ll schedule a follow-up appointment with your orthodontist every 4-8 weeks to monitor progress, replace bands, and swap out the metal archwire for a new set. During these checkups, you can select new colors to let your smile shine in style.

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Removal

On your last day of treatment, your orthodontist will remove the brackets, clean each tooth, and give you a retainer to help your teeth preserve their new positions. Your orthodontist will also equip you with detailed instructions on how to care for your smile so it can stay strong and straight for life.

Types of braces

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Traditional

Traditional braces are made of medical-grade stainless steel brackets and archwires that straighten your teeth over time. These popular aligners are oftentimes more affordable than other braces and are best suited for patients experiencing severe tooth and jaw misalignment.

Self-Ligating

Self-ligating braces appear almost identical to traditional braces, but utilize clips rather than elastic bands to hold the brace wire in place. This produces less friction on the braces, making it easier for patients to keep the braces and teeth clean.

Ceramic

Ceramic braces are very similar to the traditional metal braces, but are composed of a translucent ceramic material that matches the natural color of your teeth. Patients looking for a less noticeable alignment option may enjoy the discreet features of ceramic braces.

damon braces

The Damon System of braces utilizes a patented sliding mechanism to connect archwires to the bracket instead of elastic ties. The Damon System minimizes friction while allowing the wire to move freely, and has the added advantage of improving oral hygiene.

Did you know…

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Over 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces to align their smiles.

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Have questions about braces? Find answers here.

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How do braces work?

Braces work by applying gradual pressure on the teeth, slowly moving them into the desired alignment. The jaw bone adapts as the braces apply pressure over time, which allows the teeth and their roots to adjust. While all cases are unique, it can take anywhere from six months to over two years to correct your smile with braces.

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What are the benefits of traditional metal braces?

As one of the most popular and affordable methods to straighten teeth, traditional braces are an effective solution for individuals struggling with a variety of orthodontic issues. Metal braces are extremely durable and are able to withstand daily wear, chewing, and brushing throughout the duration of your treatment. Unlike removable clear aligners, traditional braces are firmly planted to your teeth, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining the effectiveness of your orthodontic care.

How do you care for your braces?

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Caring for your braces is similar to regular oral healthcare. Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush to keep your teeth, brackets, and wires clean and free from debris. Your orthodontist may provide you with a V-shaped toothbrush to ensure efficient brushing in between brackets. Don’t forget to floss! Stiff-tipped floss picks are perfect for removing food lodged in spots that may be tough to reach. Visit your orthodontist for regular follow-ups to ensure your teeth are adjusting properly and you’ll be braces-free in no time.

Am I a good candidate for braces?

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Metal braces are an excellent solution to a number of orthodontic issues. If your teeth are crowded, overlapped, gapped, or crooked, metal braces can restore your smile and shift your teeth back where they belong. Patients struggling with an overbite, crossbite, overjet, or open bite may also be great candidates for metal braces.

How much do braces cost?

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The cost of metal braces is different for each patient. Factors that may affect the cost of your metal braces include the severity of your teeth misalignment, appointment and visits, insurance type, and more. The best way to find out how much you’ll pay for metal braces is to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.

What Type of Braces Are Right for Me?

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There are four main types of braces - traditional, ceramic, self-ligating, and Damon braces. Each type has its advantages and which one is best for you depends on the severity of your alignment issues and your priorities. 

If you’re on a budget, traditional braces are the most affordable and the most effective at correcting severe malocclusions like a misaligned bite. Meanwhile, ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces but have added aesthetic appeal. 

Because these braces are translucent, they blend in with your teeth similarly to clear aligners. Those who want a more discreet orthodontic treatment and don’t have a severe case may prefer ceramic braces.

A disadvantage of braces is the difficulty of maintaining good oral hygiene and thoroughly cleaning your teeth. Metal wires, brackets, and elastics are in the way of scrubbing every surface. Self-ligating braces, however, make the process much more hygienic by replacing the elastic bands with clips. 

This reveals more surface area of the teeth so you can prevent white spots. Similarly, Damon braces make it easier to practice good oral hygiene by replacing elastics with a sliding mechanism. 

This makes it easier to clean your teeth and reduces friction to make the braces more comfortable. The best way to determine which type of braces are most suitable for you is to come in for a consultation.

Are Braces Covered By Insurance?

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Some dental insurance plans may cover part of your orthodontic treatment. However, they usually only cover children under 18 and may have additional restrictions such as only covering braces that are necessary to properly chew food and not for aesthetic reasons. Contact your insurance provider and ask them if they cover orthodontics, what percentage they cover, and if there is a lifetime maximum. 

At Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we never want a lack of insurance to stop you from getting the orthodontic treatment you need, which is why we offer flexible financing options to help cover the cost of orthodontic treatment. We all have a membership plan that offers discounts up to hundreds of dollars on orthodontic treatment.

How Do I Care for My Teeth After My Braces Are Removed?

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Once your braces have been removed, your enamel will be free of the metal wires and brackets that have been covering them potentially for years. It’s not unusual to notice discoloration and tooth sensitivity after removing your braces. 

Now that you have nothing obstructing your ability to thoroughly clean your teeth, you should establish a good oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. 

Don’t forget to floss, which you’ve likely neglected or could not do properly while wearing braces. Schedule routine cleanings and checkups right away to ensure you don’t have any tooth decay or gum disease. 

This can also help remove plaque buildup and surface stains. If you would like to whiten your teeth because they’re a little discolored, wait a couple of months for the sensitivity to subside. Most importantly, wear your retainer to maintain your new, straight smile. Failing to wear your retainer can cause your teeth to shift back and become crooked again.

See What Patients And Parents Are Saying!

Preventive care Reviews & Testimonials

Very nice and kind people, nice and clean place, I recommend it for your kids 100%, very professionals, doctor doing the cleaning was so sweet, patient and kind.

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Doctor Goodman and Doctor Sholander are both fabulous! They work very hard to make the children comfortable, even if they are nervous about being at the dentist or orthodontist. They are both super warm and absolutely excellent at what they do. They are both very committed to working with the parents which makes such a difference, and their staff are all so friendly as well. We couldn't be happier and highly, highly recommend Harmony!!

AYM Tinsley
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Great staff, great doctors, great environment. The kids look forward to coming, the attention to detail and communication is excellent. There is no where else I would consider bringing any child for dental and orthodontic care.

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Did you know…

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Braces aren’t just for teens. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans wearing braces are adults.

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