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!


109 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (19 votes, avg. 4.68 out of 5)
    • That’s a GREAT question, Jenna! The boy in the video probably had braces because his parents and his orthodontist decided he needed them to straighten his teeth. We had FUN learning about the cool types of braces people can have now, didn’t you? :-)

    • Thanks for sharing that you are getting braces in 18 days, Lili! We bet you will look GREAT with them (and your future super-straight teeth will thank you for wearing them)! We’re glad you stopped by today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  1. Hey Wonderopolis. I really like this wonder of the day. Soon, about in the summer time, I will have to get braces. I have a tooth that went through my gums so I will HAVE to get that fixed. People make fun of me because my tooth sticks out and isn’t normal like other people’s teeth. It makes me sad. But I just try to go along with my life.

    • You have an amazing attitude, Cassidy! We’re super proud of you for trying to ignore the people who say things to you about your tooth. We think you are WONDERful! We’re glad you are a friend of Wonderopolis, and we bet you will look AMAZING with your braces! Are you going to get different colored rubber bands? If so, what color do you think you will get? :-)

  2. Thank you! This wonder became helpful because this summer I’m getting braces, and I was very worried. My teeth are actually straight, but I have a split between my teeth. Do they have zebra print braces? I love zebra I even wore my zebra shirt!! [; hehe..

    • We’re not sure if they make zebra print braces, Morgan, but we think that would be really cool! Thanks for sharing that you will be getting braces soon and also for letting us know you are less worried about getting them after exploring today’s Wonder. Getting braces isn’t anything to be scared about. They are just something many Wonder Friends all over the world use to correct orthodontic issues with their teeth! :-)

    • Hi, Terry! A little Wonder birdie told us there might be a Wonder of the Day® coming up that you will REALLY be interested in! We can’t say for sure, but we think a future Wonder about Lego® construction would be SUPER FUN! :-)

  3. I do want to get braces and I also don’t, because I want straight teeth, but I don’t want it to hurt after they put them on. I don’t know because my brother said that after they put braces on him it hurt really bad. SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?????

    • Hello there, “Wonder!” We think it’s WONDERful that you and your brother have talked about what it’s like to get braces. Sometimes it can help ease our worries if we talk to someone who has already gone through an experience we are getting ready to go through ourselves.

      We checked with a few of our Wonder Friends here in Wonderopolis who have braces, too, and they said that any soreness because of having new braces put on your teeth goes away in a day or two, once your teeth get used to having some new visitors attached to them! :-)

  4. How do you not feel it when the braces are pushing on your teeth to make them straight?

    Do you know anyone with braces?

    • Hi, Mrs. Foster’s Class! Those are some really awesome extra WONDERings about braces! We’re glad you shared them with us today! Thanks so much for visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  5. AWESOME! So me and my mom were talking and we thought this would be a good question for Wonderopolis. Who holds the record for the tallest person?

  6. We don’t have any braces yet! However, we liked the video and now we know how braces help you!

    Tomorrow’s Wonder might be about ATVs or compasses or maps or a GPS device. We can’t for tomorrow’s Wonder! :-)

    • We’re glad you guys learned how braces can help people, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! Thanks for leaving us an AWESOME comment to let us know you stopped by today’s Wonder! We think all of your ideas for tomorrow’s Wonder sound FUN! We can’t wait to see if one of them hits the mark! :-)

  7. 2nd WONDER comment: I also think they hurt, in a few weeks I’m going to get some braces on my top set and bottom set :) :( ! Wish me luck!

    • We’re glad you left us another comment today to let us know you are getting braces in a few weeks, Bryce! We bet you will do GREAT with your braces…just remember to keep up with your brushing and flossing! Let us know how it goes, OK? :-)

  8. Hi, Wonderopolis! We rated today’s Wonder of The Day for the first time! We gave it a 5 star! We’re going to start rating each Wonder of the Day we read as a class.

    Is tomorrow’s Wonder about airbags or who invented the first off-road vehicle such as a Jeep? Another student thinks it might be, Why do airbags have such an impact?

    Have a WONDERful day!

    • We think it ROCKS that you guys gave today’s Wonder FIVE STARS, Miss Thomasson’s Class! Thanks so much! We also think it’s AWESOME that you are going to start rating each Wonder you explore as a class!

      We don’t know what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about, but we like the guesses you shared! It would be SUPER FUN to WONDER about any of those choices! :-)

    • We think it’s really cool that you already had background knowledge about braces before you explored today’s Wonder, Emily. It’s awesome that you had personal experience, too, because you have worn braces before! Thanks for sharing that with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Great job for guessing today’s Wonder was about braces, Jenna! You are a WONDERful Wonder guesser! :-)

    • That’s right, Camille! Thanks so much for sharing what you know about why some kids (and some grown-ups) need braces! You are an AMAZING Wonder Friend! :-)

    • That could be a reason why kids need braces, Kaleb! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today and learning some interesting facts! :-)

    • We like that reason, Young Freedom! Thanks so much for sharing what you learned by checking out today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • That’s right, Tristin! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today and for letting us know you were here by leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

  9. For me, my braces didn’t hurt one single bit!! My orthodontist says that some people say they do and some say they don’t. Mine didn’t!

    • We really appreciate you sharing your personal experience with having braces, Jenna! We’re glad having your braces didn’t hurt. :-)

  10. I learned that braces make your teeth straight. (Liam)

    My cousin has braces. Pink and green. (Evan)

    My brother might get braces because his teeth are not straight. (Myleigh)

    Bye Wonderopolis!

    • Today’s comment is really WONDERful, KF Dragons! Thanks so much for letting us know what you learned today and for sharing some of your personal connections to today’s Wonder about braces, Liam, Evan and Myleigh! You and all of your classmates (and Mr. Fines, of course) are AWESOME Wonder Friends! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing about the game you think we would like, Dynamite! We appreciate you stopping by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder, Bradley! We like your question about braces, too, Bailey! Braces work by slowly putting pressure on your teeth in a way that sort of tells them, “Hey! Straighten up!” There is a wire that hooks all of the brackets on the teeth together. The orthodontist tightens that wire (or even changes it to a different wire) to help him tell the teeth how they need to move! :-)

      We appreciate you and your classmates exploring Wonderopolis together!

  11. Yes!!!!! I got it right!:) I have no clue on what tomorrow’s is about, maybe compass or a GPS….

    • Awesome job, Liam! You are a GREAT guesser! Thanks for letting us know what you think tomorrow’s Wonder might be about. We like those ideas you shared! :-)

    • LOTS of Wonder Friends of all ages get braces at some point in their lives, Caelah! We bet you will look GREAT in them! Thank you for stopping by today’s Wonder and leaving us a COOL comment (or two!) today! :-)

  12. VERY COOL! I have braces myself. I like them! I can always get my favorite colors. At the moment, my braces are pink and silver. My orthodontist does magic tricks! See Ya!


    • WOW! That’s really neat that your orthodontist is also a magician, Betsy! We bet it’s fun to go to your check-up appointments at his office! Thanks for sharing that your braces are pink and silver right now…we like that color combination! :-)

    • We’re hearing from many Wonder Friends today about their siblings (or themselves) having braces, Lala! Thanks for sharing that your sister has them, too! We’re glad you stopped by today’s Wonder and left us a comment! :-)

    • Hello, Zya! We think it’s cool that you want braces. We’ve always WONDERed if people can have braces when they still have a few baby teeth in their mouths, or do orthodontists only put braces on adult teeth? That would be something neat to learn, don’t you think? :-)

    • Not yet, Zya, but that’s a SUPER idea for a future Wonder of the Day®! Thanks so much for suggesting it! :-)

  13. I know! Braces are something that straighten your teeth! I think tomorrow’s
    will be… SECRETS. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone I said that. ;) Have a WONDERopolis day!

    • You’re right, Maxini! Braces are something that help straighten teeth! We hope you learned some cool new information about braces by checking out today’s Wonder…we know we sure did! Thanks for sharing that you think tomorrow’s Wonder might be about secrets. We won’t tell anyone you said that! ;-)

  14. It’s been a long time since I posted anything on Wonderopolis. When I saw this wonder I got really excited because I’ve had braces. I think that I got the worst of it, though. I had to wear a face mask at night, a pallet expander with irritating hooks and braces. All for just 4 teeth! I’m sure glad that’s over. Anyways, thanks for posting a wonder like this I learned a lot! :) P.S Because the school year is coming to a close, I just want to say that soon there will be 5th Grade LEAPer: Allison!

    • Congrats on your 4th grade successes, Allison! We’re super proud of you! We can’t wait to get awesome comments from “5th Grade LEAPer Allison” next year, too!

      We really appreciate you sharing your experience with having braces. It’s awesome that your orthodontist new just the right combination of things to do to help make your teeth straight! We bet your smile is WONDERful! :-)

  15. Hi. I love you website. It is so cool how you come up with a wonder everyday! I especially love the wonder for today! My mom thinks I need braces but my dad says they will turn out straight with no braces. I kind of believe my mom because I barely get to see my dad, so I doubt that he knows, lol. That was an awesome wonder, hope your next wonder is as wonderful as this one.

    • What a WONDERful comment you left for us today, Cute Girl! Thanks so much for stopping by this Wonder and letting us know that you might need braces! We appreciate the super nice things you said about this Wonder and about Wonderopolis! :-)

  16. The video was awesome and I love wonderopolis. I think the next one is about a chihuahua. Just a random guess.

    Have a good day.

    • It makes us super happy to hear that you like visiting Wonderopolis and that you enjoyed the video for this Wonder about braces, Pandakin! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us! :-)

    • It ROCKS that you liked this Wonder of the Day®, Paige! Thanks for leaving us a comment to let us know you thought it was cool! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing that you’ve always wanted glasses and braces, Jada, and THANK YOU for exploring this Wonder of the Day®! We think that ROCKS! :-)

  17. Hi wonderopolis. People get braces because their teeth are not straight and after you have braces for 1 year, then you will have retainers. You can get retainers on the top of your teeth or can be on your teeth. I think braces are COOL. My cousin had braces and retainers and she still has them.

    Have a fantastical day.

    • What a GREAT comment you left for us, Molly! We liked hearing your thoughts about braces and retainers, and also enjoyed learning that your cousin has had both! We REALLY like the word you used when you wished us a good day…FANTASTICAL! Thanks for being an AMAZING Wonder Friend! :-)

  18. :) Hi wonderopolis, I LOVE today’s wonder of the day. I think kids need braces because their teeth are not straight, because my friend Audrey has to get braces. Her teeth are not straight. By wonderopolis. :)

    • We’re feeling super lucky to get TWO comments from you today, Olivia! Thanks for sharing what you know about braces…we really appreciate hearing from you today! :-)

    • Sometimes expanders are the only way for orthodontists to help make enough room in between your teeth for the braces, Wonder Friend, “D!” Thank you for sharing that you might need braces. We appreciate your comment today! :-)

    • Those are awesome questions, Chloee! Thanks for asking them! Getting braces is a decision that you, your parents and your orthodontist should make together. Some people decide they don’t want braces, even if their orthodontist thinks they need them. It’s a personal decision and it depends on LOTS of different factors! :-)

  19. My friend Alexa had her braces in her top teeth just like the boy in the video. I think getting braces will be excellent!

    • That’s a really positive attitude to have about braces, Julie! Way to go! Thank you for sharing about your friend, Alexa, and THANK YOU for stopping by this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know that, Alissa! We’ll have to check it out! We really like hearing about when our AMAZING Wonder Friends (like YOU!) do WONDERing on their own and share it with others! You and your classmates ROCK! :-)

    • Hi, Mushkale! Thanks for sharing the link to your class’ blog again! We like visiting and checking in on all the WONDERful things you and your classmates (and the amazing Mrs. Thiessen) are doing! We really enjoyed seeing the pictures of the engineering an building fun you guys had! AWESOME structures! We also liked seeing all that popcorn…WOW! :-)

  20. I just got Braces 3 days ago! They are really sore but, I can tell that they are shifting! ;) Yay! I hope my teeth will be straight soon! :)
    God Bless you!
    -Molly :)

    • Hi there, Molly! We’re so glad you WONDERed with us about braces; we bet the pain will go away soon! Braces are a big responsibility, and we’re glad that you can tell the difference already! Keep up the great work, Molly! :)

  21. I have braces right now and I still don’t understand why I need them, my teeth look fine but I still love orthodontics in Tampa,FL. :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend H! Braces are just another way to improve your smile, and make sure your mouth is ready to help you properly chew, swallow and speak! We know that braces aren’t always the most fun, but we understand the importance of a healthy and WONDERful smile! Keep your chin up, braces aren’t forever! :)

  22. I already have braces. I thought I would look weird and people would call me medal-mouth or train-track-teeth, but I haven’t had anyone do that to me. :)

    • Hey Alyssia! We are glad having braces has been a good experience for you! It will be worth it when you are done with great teeth! :)

      • Hi, Evan. We know lots of Wonder Friends that have braces. Braces don’t hurt like a bee sting, but can be an aching pain sometimes as your teeth move. We bet you’ll have a beautiful smile after you get your braces off. Thanks for WONDERing about braces with us! :)

  23. Hello Wonderopolis I don’t have braces YET but but I will get them. Right now I have brackets an expander a chain and a few other things.Braces: Do they hurt will they hurt? I’m going to get every thing out in August something and i’m going to get a retainer then the next 2 times I think i’m going to get them. Thanks for sharing bye

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why do kids need braces?
  • What is an orthodontist?
  • Why do some kids have to wear a retainer?


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Try It Out

Do you take good care of your teeth? Ask any dentist — keeping your teeth clean is an important step to staying healthy.

Sometimes kids don’t really know how to brush their teeth properly. If you want to learn more about the correct way to brush your teeth, jump online and check out the Step-by-Step Directions for How to Brush Your Teeth.

Even if you know how to brush your teeth properly, sometimes you forget. Life gets busy, so it’s easy to do. If you want an easy way to keep track of your brushing, download and print out this handy Get Up and Brush Chart!


Still Wondering

Check out National Geographic Education’s Big Cats, Big Teeth activity to compare the shape and size of human, lion and gazelle teeth and jaws.


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