Do you have braces? If not, chances are that you know someone who does. If you don’t have braces right now, you might need them one day.

Different kids feel different ways about braces. Some kids can’t wait to get them, because they think they’re neat and know that they’ll give them a better smile eventually. Other kids worry about how braces will change how they look.

There’s really no reason to worry about braces, though. They’re just tools that special dentists — called orthodontists — use to correct the alignment of your teeth.

Unfortunately, not all teeth grow straight. It’s not your fault. There’s nothing you can do to make them grow straight. They just grow how they grow and, if they aren’t straight, you may need to see an orthodontist to find out if you need braces to straighten them out.

Years ago, braces were made of thick metal that was very noticeable. Today, though, braces are much more advanced than in the past. Although they’re usually still made of metal, the metal is thinner and smaller.

Sometimes you can get braces that are clear or the same color as your teeth. They even make braces that go on the back side of your teeth. With these advances, braces aren’t nearly as noticeable today as they used to be.

Of course, if you want to be noticed, you can be! The rubber bands that come with braces can now be found in all sorts of wild and crazy colors. You can now make a fashion statement with your braces!

But what do braces actually do to your teeth? The metal wires put steady pressure on your teeth to move them slowly over time to where they’re supposed to be. The rubber bands help to adjust the alignment of your teeth. Working together, the wires and rubber bands straighten your teeth and line them up the way they’re supposed to be.

How long you have to wear braces will depend upon your teeth and how much realignment they need. Most kids have to wear braces for only a couple of years or so.

After you get your braces off, you may have to wear a retainer for a while. A retainer is a hard plastic mouth guard that makes sure your teeth don’t go back to their original places. After a while, your teeth will settle into their new locations and you’ll be able to ditch the retainer and smile about it!

While you have braces, it’s especially important to make sure that you take good care of your teeth. All that metal and rubber in your mouth can make it easy for food to hide in places you’d normally be able to clean easily. If you have trouble cleaning your teeth, talk to the orthodontist. There are lots of special tools available you can use to make sure your pearly whites stay pearly white!

 

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