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Metal Braces in Bethel Park Provide Tried And True Orthodontic Improvements

Preteen boy with bracesMetal or silver-colored braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance recommended to patients today, and it’s what you most likely picture in your mind when someone mentions ‘braces’ to boot. While many adults assume that this time-tested technique is only for younger patients who are still in their junior high years, the truth is that any age can benefit from the improvements metal braces can create. In fact, they can transform your self-confidence, your smile’s ability to function, and your overall quality of life.

At Cartwright Orthodontics, Dr. Gary Cartwright, Dr. Nicholas Palmer, and the rest of our staff look forward to guiding you through the orthodontic process in a comfortable, modern office environment. We have two locations in McMurray, PA and Bethel Park, PA – contact us today to schedule a first consultation for you or your child!

How Do Metal Braces Work?

Animation of closeup brackets and wires

When it comes to traditional orthodontics, Dr. Cartwright or Dr. Palmer will bond silver brackets to the front of your teeth in specific spots. Each bracket has edges (also known as “wings”) where elastic bands are tied in order to hold the archwire in place over the teeth. This archwire is what actually facilitates the movement of your teeth, applying consistent pressure over time that shifts them into the desired alignment. As patients progress through their personal treatment plan, their orthodontist will need them to attend regular visits every 4 to 8 weeks.

Why Should You Choose Metal Braces?

Woman with braces receiving exam

  • Metal braces are highly durable, which makes them a good choice for accident-prone kids who may damage more fragile orthodontic solutions over time.
  • Many parents and adults appreciate the cost-effective nature of metal brackets. Because this system is widely used, the hardware associated with it tends to be more affordable than the advanced technology that makes up other kinds of braces.
  • The elastics that fit around the brackets come in a wide variety of colors here at Cartwright Orthodontics, which is good news for your son or daughter! They can select their favorite color or a fun pattern that showcases their personality or the colors that represent their favorite sports teams. If you’re an older patient who would prefer a more neutral look, that’s not a problem either. White, gray, and silver elastics are always available too.

Of course, it’s important to remember that traditional metal braces are going to be noticeable within the mouth throughout the course of treatment. If a patient wants to prioritize aesthetics, ceramic braces may be a better choice for them. Our team will be happy to explore the benefits of these different options in full with you so that you can select the one that best fits your needs.

What Should You Expect After Your Metal Braces Are In Place?

Boy with glasses and braces

You will likely experience some soreness and tenderness in the mouth in the first few days following the placement of your braces. We recommend that patients maintain a soft food diet until these sensations subside. Your mouth will also need time to adjust to the presence of your braces, and as a result, some sores may form on the oral tissue over the first few weeks of treatment.

Please make sure to brush and floss diligently when wearing braces. There are now many more little spaces and grooves that harmful bacteria can gather in, and cavities can develop as a result. Also, make sure to follow the dietary restrictions that Dr. Cartwright or Dr. Palmer provides you. Hard or sticky food items can damage your teeth or your braces during this time, which we’d like to help you avoid, if at all possible.

What Colors Should I Choose for My Braces?

colorful metal braces in McMurray

One of the best parts of having metal braces is that you get to pick the colors of the bands securing the wire. Although you could choose to have clear bands for a more subtle look, they can be an opportunity to express yourself and have some fun! For instance, if you want to show your team spirit for the Steelers, you could choose their colors for game time. Additionally, you can celebrate various holidays with your band colors—red and green for Christmas; red or pink for Valentine’s Day; green for St. Patrick’s Day; red, white, and blue for Independence Day, etc. In selecting your colors, you can also consider what goes well with your skin tone and reflects your personality. You may find yourself looking forward to your appointment just so you can try new band colors!

Traditional Braces FAQs 

Orthodontist and woman with metal braces in Bethel Park smiling

Even though metal braces are one of the most well-known teeth-straightening treatments, you may still have a few questions on your mind before committing. That’s completely normal! Our team will take the time to provide you with the specific answers you’re looking for during your personal consultation. Until then, you can read on to learn the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions we hear from patients.

Am I Too Old to Get Braces?

In short, the answer is no. While children and young adults are the predominant age groups with braces, there isn’t an upper age limit. You deserve a healthy bite, good oral health, and a confident smile at every age, after all! If you’re unhappy due to crooked, spaced-out, and otherwise misaligned teeth, then don’t let your age stop you from scheduling an appointment. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be on the path to the gorgeous smile you’ve been dreaming of.

Can I Get Traditional Braces on Just My Top or Bottom Teeth?

While it is possible, it’s typically not recommended. There are a few reasons for this. To begin, shifting one arch of teeth and not the other can negatively impact your bite, disrupting your chewing patterns and increasing your risk of teeth grinding. Furthermore, this imbalance can cause bite problems, like overbites, to become more pronounced. In summation, the overwhelming majority of patients would benefit from treating both arches simultaneously.

What Happens After You Get Your Braces Off?

Once it’s time to remove your braces, you’ll be able to see what you’ve been working so hard for: a beautiful, healthy, and balanced smile! Naturally, you don’t want your teeth to begin shifting back to their previous positions shortly after, which is why we will provide you with a retainer. The length of time you’re required to wear it will depend on a few factors, including whether you opt for a fixed or removable one. Remember: while braces can straighten your teeth, it’s up to you to keep them in their perfectly aligned positions. So, don’t get out of the habit of wearing your retainer consistently!

What Can You Not Eat with Traditional Braces?

It’s true: traditional braces in Bethel Park do require some adjustments to your diet. To help prevent an orthodontic emergency, like a broken bracket or loose wire, you should also avoid crunchy, hard, and sticky foods. Some examples include popcorn, whole apples, taco shells, chips, and caramel-filled candies. Instead, you should opt for foods that are both soft and nutrient dense (particularly following your adjustment appointments), like yogurt, applesauce, and mashed sweet potatoes.

Can You Drink Coffee with Traditional Braces?

Yes, you can! Whether you love waking up to a warm cup of coffee or enjoy a cold brew as an afternoon pick-me-up, the start of orthodontic treatment won’t mean the end of drinking your favorite beverage. It’s important to note, however, that this dark liquid can easily stain your teeth, resulting in uneven discoloration once it comes time to have your braces removed. Therefore, we recommend always using a straw and sipping on water simultaneously. About 20 minutes after finishing your cup of coffee, brush your teeth for two full minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush.