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Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Devices used by orthodontists to straighten teeth in a gradual manner.

Detailed Description

Braces or orthodontic appliances are devices to support and hold teeth in correct position. Braces are classified as either fixed or removable and are used in patients who have crooked teeth and a bad bite or malocclusion. It generally takes around 24 months of using braces to correct problems in children, but adults should expect a somewhat longer period because facial bones have stopped growing.

Since contemporary society places high value on appearance, teeth straightened by braces help improve self-esteem and confidence. Patients who have worn braces report increased feelings of well-being and of greater acceptance by peers.

Braces are available in several types. Stainless steel braces are the most popular and many people request colored ties that can be changed at each appointment. Gold braces, for those interested in making the ultimate fashion statement, can also be had for a fee. Also clear ceramic braces made out of a high-tech glass developed as a spin-off from the NASA Space Program are an option. No matter the type though, braces all work in the same manner to slowly bring teeth into alignment.

Last updated: 13-May-05

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