Braces are normally used to straighten teeth and to bring the lips and jaws into proper alignment.
Although the treatment has cosmetic benefits – giving you a better smile – it is not only done for cosmetic reasons.
When teeth are crooked or overlapping, more serious dental problems may develop.
Where teeth are out of alignment, it is more difficult to clean food debris and dental plaque from the teeth and this can increase the risk of dental cavities and gum disease.
There is also a greater risk of damage to the teeth or injury when the upper jaw juts forward,
For example, there may be more risk from an elbow in the mouth while playing sports.
There is also a higher risk of jaw-joint problems.
Braces work by fastening brackets to the front and outer side of the teeth and a wire is connected through the brackets.
This wire puts pressure on the teeth, moving them through the jawbone.
The process takes time – typically 18 – 24 months.
The most common ages for children to wear braces are between 11 and 13 but they should be taken for evaluation by a dentist or orthodontist before age 7.
This will help them see if any steps can be taken before then to solve problems and limit the treatment needed later.