What Are Braces and Retainers?

Braces Las Vegas is used to straighten crooked teeth, give more space for teeth that are too close together, correct bite problems (overbites, underbites, crossbites), improve speech, and alleviate jaw pain. Adults can usually receive treatment the same as children and teens.

The first step is a consultation with an orthodontist. The orthodontist will recommend a treatment plan.

Braces: Types, Treatment, and Duration for a Perfect Smile

In traditional metal braces, small squares known as brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth. The brackets hold a thin, flexible archwire, which helps guide the teeth into alignment. The archwire has a “shape memory” that allows it to bend and curve to apply constant pressure to the teeth. This pressure, along with the heat of your mouth’s natural activity, slowly remodels the shape of your jawbone and moves your teeth into their correct positions.

Over time, this process can fix problems such as overcrowding. Overcrowded teeth are more difficult to clean, leading to dental problems like excessive plaque buildup and tooth decay. Crooked teeth can also impact the way you speak, chew, and breathe.

While some patients may initially experience soreness, these discomforts will dissipate as your teeth adjust to the pressure. Just think about how your muscles feel after a long run or how the aches and pains you might experience when starting a new exercise can improve as your body adapts. During this time, you can help relieve any discomfort by drinking plenty of water and taking over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. For the most effective treatment, your orthodontist will make sure that your braces are applying the right amount of pressure to your teeth. Moving your teeth too quickly is not only uncomfortable, but it can damage the roots and surrounding bone tissue.


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Braces apply pressure to your teeth over time to slowly move them into a better position. This pressure helps to correct crooked or crowded teeth, wide gaps in teeth, and severe bite problems.

A wire is an insulated metal cable that runs between brackets. The ends of the wire are held in place by specialized brackets with hooks, wings or squares that have slots for holding archwires. These brackets are either stainless steel or clear ceramic. Some brackets have a built-in gate/door that closes easily over the archwire to ensure it is secure. Other brackets have a slot and wings to hold elastics or other attachments like rubber bands. The wire runs through these attachments to help guide the teeth into the desired position.

When the teeth are misaligned, it can cause the jaws to apply uneven pressure when chewing or speaking. This can lead to jaw pain and even tooth loss over time. Braces help to align the teeth properly, reducing this pressure and eliminating jaw pain.

Disproportional teeth can impact the way you pronounce words, leading to embarrassing speech impediments. By shifting the teeth or closing off spaces between them, braces can improve your ability to pronounce certain words clearly. They also make it easier to brush and floss, which can reduce plaque and bacteria that may lead to periodontal disease or cavities. This is particularly beneficial for crowded or narrow teeth, which are often difficult to clean well with a toothbrush.

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands, also called elastics, apply additional pressure to a tooth or teeth in ways that braces alone cannot. They attach to tiny hooks on selected upper and lower brackets in a configuration prescribed by your orthodontist. They can close a gap between two teeth, correct mild bite issues, and help the archwire apply more force to teeth that need it.

These small elastics are available in a wide variety of colors, so patients can show off their personality while they wear their braces. They’re typically made of natural latex (or a latex-free alternative), which is mixed with chemicals to enhance or diminish elasticity, change color, and more.

Once a patient’s orthodontic team has determined the appropriate elastic size, it will provide them with a pack of several different sets. The packet will have a diagram showing how to stretch and attach each elastic in the most efficient manner. It is important to follow these instructions carefully, as incorrectly wearing an elastic can prevent teeth from moving properly or even lead to discomfort.

Patients should remove their elastics before eating and brushing, and should always be sure to wash their hands before putting on or taking off an elastic. They should also check to see if there is an elastic placer in their packet, which is a small tool with different-shaped hooks on each end that can be used to quickly and easily put an elastic on or take one off.

Power Chains

Power chains are elastic ligature strings that help close gaps between teeth. They are used with traditional braces to correct crooked or misaligned teeth and assist with other orthodontic corrections. They also provide more pressure than standard ligatures, allowing for quicker tooth movement.

Like normal ligatures, power chains can be made from various colors to match your smile and personalize your treatment. They are also available in silver or smoke-colored options to reduce staining. However, as with ligatures, you should brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent food from collecting around your braces and power chains, which could lead to plaque buildup and affect your treatment.

During treatment, you may experience discomfort for a few days or up to a week after having power chain braces placed. This is normal, and over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken if needed. It is also important to keep in mind that the continuous pressure exerted by power chains can cause a temporary increase in the overall level of discomfort, so it is important to stick with your treatment schedule and follow the recommended guidelines for care.

The most common use for power chains is to close spaces between teeth, especially in cases where teeth have been extracted or are missing. They are also often used to align rotated or twisted teeth, and can help fix bite irregularities. They can even be used to help correct the gap left by a baby tooth that has fallen out.


A retainer’s job is a simple one: it preserves the position of your teeth after they’re in the new positions achieved through braces or aligners. This might not sound like a big deal, but it’s important because the teeth can naturally shift back to their original misalignment shortly after braces are removed.

Retainers are typically required to be worn for anywhere from four months to a year after the braces come off, with the exception of when you’re eating or brushing your teeth. After that, the orthodontist will evaluate your progress and determine whether or not you need to wear your retainer longer.

Your orthodontist will prescribe a type of retainer depending on your unique needs and preferences. There are two main types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers are made of flexible plastic or acrylic material that snuggles comfortably around your teeth and is easy to clean. They can be easily taken out and put back in, but it’s essential that you do so on a regular basis in order to avoid an accumulation of plaque.

Fixed retainers are bonded to the inside of your upper or lower teeth, making them less visible. This type of retainer is usually reserved for cases in which the teeth are repositioned significantly, such as with majorly gapped or displaced teeth. Fixed retainers are more prone to plaque buildup, so it’s important to maintain meticulous oral hygiene practices, including regular flossing and use of an interproximal toothbrush, especially around the nooks and crannies that might be difficult to reach with conventional brushes and floss.