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How do the wires connect to the braces?

Wires are threaded through slots in brackets, and held into the slots by ligatures, most often small, elastic o-shaped rings that are stretched around each bracket. These o-rings come in a rainbow of colors and are generally changed at each appointment.

Are there other kinds of braces?

In addition to “clear” braces mentioned (ceramic braces), there are braces made with metal brackets. But even metal brackets come with options. Braces can be made of stainless steel or ceramic.

I don’t want braces that show. Are there clear braces?

Yes. But “clear braces” can mean different things to different people. Some people use the term “clear braces” when referring to aligners. Aligners aren’t braces in the traditional sense, but they are able to move teeth, too. If an orthodontist uses the term “clear braces,” he/she is probably talking about braces that have brackets made of a tooth-colored (ceramic) material.

My teeth on top aren’t that crooked. Can I just get braces on the bottom to save money?

This question can only be answered by visiting an AAO orthodontist for an exam and consultation.

Will you use needles?


Is there anything that needs to be done before getting braces?

Before getting braces, visit your family dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Be sure to ask your orthodontist how far in advance of your braces appointment you should schedule your dental appointment. Visits to your dentist should continue at least every six months for the duration of treatment, or more often, if recommended. If you typically take an antibiotic before dental visits, make sure to notify your orthodontist, who will advise you if pre-medication is recommended before the appointment to place braces. In addition, let your orthodontist know of any allergies you have, especially any allergies to metals including nickel.

What happens the day braces are put on – do I need to do anything special to prepare?

The day you get braces, eat as usual. Teeth must be clean, so brush and floss thoroughly after eating.

Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?

You are cleared for takeoff – the lightweight materials used in braces will not affect metal detectors.

If I wear extra rubber bands, will that speed up my treatment?

Wearing extra rubber bands will NOT speed up treatment. In fact, you could prolong your treatment by wearing extra rubber bands because the extra force could move your teeth in an undesirable way.