A young woman with braces in Columbia South Carolina

Cosmetic Braces

Braces are one of the first cosmetic dentistry procedures ever employed, and it has the ability to transform your smile. You can eliminate many of the most common cosmetic complaints about smiles using them, including:

  • Crooked or tipped teeth
  • Crowding
  • Gaps
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite

These and other problems with the alignment of your teeth can be corrected consistently and reliably with braces.

When we are primarily focusing on correcting the function of your bite, we describe it as functional orthodontics.

Benefits of Traditional Braces

These days, there are many orthodontic options, such as Invisalign, and sometimes braces may not be the right option for you. However, there are still many ways that traditional ones might benefit you. They:

  • Can be used in all cases
  • Can perform complex tooth maneuvers, including tooth rotations
  • Give very predictable results
  • Have the same treatment time as aligners
  • Are more capable of functional orthodontic results
  • Come in attractive styles, including tooth-colored wires and clear brackets

For these reasons, we often recommend traditional orthodontics. During your consultation, we will talk about your different orthodontic options and help you decide which is the right one for you.

Braces or Clear Braces: Which Is Right for You?

Invisalign braces in Columbia South CarolinaWhen you are considering orthodontic treatment, it’s important to take some time to consider your options. For some people, braces are the best orthodontic treatment, but for others, clear braces are a good choice. So which is right for you?

Consider the following aspects of your treatment:

  • Complexity and type of tooth movement
  • Time available for treatment
  • Your level of commitment
  • Personal preferences

The type of tooth movement is a critical factor in your choice. Some tooth movements can only really be accomplished with traditional braces, and others are much more efficient with braces so they can be accomplished much more quickly than with aligners.

If you have a limited time to achieve your results, you need to take that into account. In many cases, Invisalign can deliver faster results. But for some types of tooth movements, traditional braces may be better for you.

Commitment is a big deal when choosing your orthodontic treatments. All orthodontics require a high level of commitment, but you need to make different commitments. With traditional braces, you need to be committed to the hygiene challenges that you will face. With Invisalign clear braces, the aligners are removable, so you need to be committed to wear them as much as possible. If you don’t keep  your aligners in for a minimum of 20 hours a day, you will not get good results.

Invisalign logoAnd, of course, you want to get the treatment that best fits your lifestyle. If you can’t give up certain foods, aligners may be the best choice because you can continue eating everything. But if that isn’t as important to you, then it’s not as big an issue.

How Braces Work

Braces take advantage of your body’s ability to constantly make and remake bones and other tissues. In response to the constant force delivered by them, your body will remove bone from the side of your teeth where the pressure is high and build it up on the side where there is low pressure.

To stimulate this remodeling of bone, braces use a metal wire that will pull on your teeth. The force is not applied directly to the tooth, but to the bracket, which is attached to the tooth. The guide wire is normally attached to the bracket using ligatures, basically small rubber bands. In some braces, called self-ligating braces, there are no ligatures, the brackets attach directly to the guide wire.

The process of bone remodeling takes time, and is vulnerable to remission. To preserve your results, you should initially wear a retainer every day. Usually, overnight wear is sufficient. Later, you can wear them just a few times a week or less.

Care and Maintenance

Braces Columbia, SCDiet: One of the essential steps you need to take when you have braces is taking proper care to eat only foods that are compatible with them. You will be given a list of foods to avoid, and others that you want to eat only sparingly. Failure to follow this list can cause a range of problems, from hygiene difficulties to prolonged treatment to poor results to additional expenses related to broken braces.

Hygiene: Cleaning your teeth with braces is critical. Food and plaque buildup on them can lead to serious oral hygiene problems. It can cause lasting damage to teeth, contribute to gum disease, and undermine the appearance of your final results. There are many good tools that will make it easier to clean your teeth if you have them, and we can recommend the proper ones for you.

Problems: It’s possible that you will encounter various complications while wearing them. For most of the common complications, you won’t need to come in for special appointments. You will be given instructions for handling these problems. For minor discomfort, over-the-counter medication is sufficient. Some people experience cheek irritation related to brackets and wires, but this can be countered with a small amount of dental wax. Dental wax is also a good solution if you have a sharp wire.

However, if you have a bracket come loose from your tooth, you should come into our office for an appointment to have it rebonded.


With all orthodontic treatments, you will need to wear a retainer after treatment. For braces to work, your body must remodel bone around the teeth. The new bone may not be as firm and solid, making it more likely that teeth will drift back to their previous locations. In addition, your biting and chewing forces may encourage this kind of movement.

At first, you will have to wear your retainer constantly to help the new bone strengthen. Once the bones are strengthened, you can switch to wearing your retainer less often–just enough to counter the influence of bite forces.

If you would like to learn more about braces, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC today.