The goal of orthodontic dentistry is to correct a misaligned bite or straighten crooked teeth in order to give patients a smile that they will be proud to show off. Other than the traditional metal, braces now come in lighter weight stainless steel and clear ceramic materials. The orthodontist will discuss the various options and make recommendations.

Whatever the type patients should expect to wear the braces anywhere from 18 to 30 months with adjustments done as needed. It’s an important investment that can mean a big improvement in the quality of life. Obviously, the patient will want to protect that investment by seeing the orthodontist at regular intervals and following home care instructions to the letter.

The day that the braces come off is a big occasion for the wearer, but the treatment isn’t quite over. A retainer is a removable appliance that is made to hold the newly aligned teeth in place and keep them from the natural tendency to move back out of position. Once again there are several types to choose from according to the patient’s particular needs.

A retainer will typically be used for a few years after the braces have been removed. The first months are the most critical and orthodontist usually recommend that the patient wear the retainer both day and night. Later on, the retainer may be removed during the daytime and worn only at night.

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