young woman smiling showing teeth with blue braces

Getting braces nowadays can be an exciting experience. The times where bulky and discomforting metal placed around each tooth are far gone. Now, you can wear braces without anyone even noticing!

Braces are the best type of orthodontic care which help to eliminate problems such as under bite, spacing, protruding teeth, crowding and cross bite. Braces are a non-surgical resort which over time is vital in the creation of a perfect smile.

Traditional braces have been around for many years. They are the standard among patients looking to straighten their smile. Today’s contemporary braces are made of exceptionally strong metals as they need to be able to stand the test of time while they are on your teeth.

While contemporary braces are metallic colored, there are a number of bands and features that can be utilized to spruce them up. Give us a call today so we can discuss in more detail about getting you that perfect smile!

What Is The Best Age For Orthodontic Treatment/When Should Braces Be Put On?

As long as your teeth are healthy, then you are a great candidate to have braces. A straight smile is important at any age. However, orthodontists recommend that children visit their offices at the age of seven in order to diagnose any problems and to start with preventative care. Catching problems early on will help to avoid problems later on in life.

If you were unable to see an orthodontist at a young age, you can still see one later in life to help correct your smile. With the different varieties of braces, friends and coworkers will have no idea that your lunch date is really your orthodontist appointment.

Early Treatment

Most orthodontists begin treatment on children between the ages of 9 and 14 as most problems are easily fixable during this time. The earlier the treatment the better because you will be able to help your child correct oral habits that are harmful to their dental development, guide teeth into the correct position and avoid protruding front teeth.

Treatment Later In Life

The most common orthodontic treatments are for spacing, crowding, overbites, under bites and cross bites. These problems can be fixed easily earlier on in life but sometimes it is not corrected.

For whatever the reason, as an adult, you can still have these problems fixed during your adult lifetime. The only requirements that you need for braces are that your teeth and gums are in healthy and in good condition.

How Do Braces Work?

Braces create the perfect smile by placing a constant and gentle force on the teeth which help them to slowly yet efficiently move into the correct position. When teeth are in the right position, the person will experience better dental and overall health benefits.

How Long Do You Have To Wear Braces To Straighten Your Teeth?

For the majority of patients, teeth straightening with dental braces may take anywhere between just 6 months and 2 years. Your orthodontist will be able to give you an accurate estimate of how long your braces treatment will take based on their experience treating patients of similar requirements.

Benefits of Braces

By treating the irregularities of the jaw and teeth, orthodontic procedures not only create an attractive smile but are meant to protect the life-long health and functionality of the entire mouth. Misaligned, occluded and misshapen teeth are often the cause of headaches, jaw pain and, surprisingly, tooth decay. Straight teeth are generally more healthy and stronger, not only because they allow for the growth of other strong teeth, but because they are simply easier to clean, brush and floss. Straight teeth not only contribute to a more attractive smile, but they make it easier to chew, eat and speak correctly.

Braces allow those children and adults who are affected by dental irregularities to correct harmful oral habits. Furthermore, braces reduce tooth wear and limit the potential to damage to jaw joints. The list of benefits of braces is extensive, giving parents a variety of reasons to make the commitment of braces and orthodontia for their child.

Do you need braces?

There might be need of braces if you show the following signs:

  • Presence of protruding front teeth
  • Upper teeth either covering or being covered by your lower teeth whey you bite down
  • Teeth do not meet when mouth is closed.
  • Center teeth are not aligned.
  • Space between teeth is present.

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Types Of Braces

There are many types of orthodontic braces that are used. In certain cases your orthodontist will recommend specific materials which will work better in your circumstance while in other cases you may have a choice.

If your appearance is important to you and you do not want people to know that you have braces, in many cases you will be able to choose invisible brackets. Below are the most common types of braces:

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces are the most common form of braces that patients receive. These braces have been modified over the years to become more attractive and more importantly, more comfortable. Metal braces are made out of premium grade stainless steel.

Many younger children love these braces because they will have the option of adding colored rubber bands to the braces for an eccentric and beautiful smile.

Clear Braces

Whether you’re an adult or a teen, we all want to look our best at all times. Changing the way your teeth are structured takes time and there are now ways to keep you looking your best during this period.

Clear braces or ceramic braces are translucent. This new technology is available for most cases. The great benefit of these braces is that you won’t have to have that metallic look. In addition, clear braces are specifically designed so that they won’t stain or wear over time.


Having a confident smile can change everything. And Invisalign makes the decision easy, because you can get a stunning smile without most people even noticing you’re going through treatment. So start on the right track today, and find out more about Invisalign.

The new Invisalign orthodontic technique sometimes eliminates the need for any braces because trays similar to clear bleaching trays are all that is required.

Gold Braces

Gold braces are one of the newer forms of braces that many adults elect to have. In terms of pricing, they are similar to clear braces and in terms of structure, they are similar to the traditional metal braces. The difference is that these braces are made out of stainless steel and coated in gold.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a great option for people who are worried about how they will be perceived with braces. They are made out of clear materials and look almost invisible which makes ceramic braces the leader in options for adults and older teenagers.

One drawback is that these braces tend to be a bit larger than the metal braces making it not the best option for the lower teeth. If you only need the front teeth straightened, these are a great option or you can combine ceramic braces on the top teeth with metal braces on the lower teeth.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are a unique invisible type of braces which customized for your teeth. They are metal but they are placed behind your teeth so that no one will notice. Lingual braces are designed for actors, musicians (who play wind instruments), athletes, models and other adult professionals.

Starting Out With Braces

Your entire mouth and teeth will feel pretty sore when you first get your braces. You may struggle with eating your favorite foods so it is recommended to avoid eating certain foods to relieve your mouth and teeth of additional pressure.

Mouthwash and warm salt water help to relieve the soreness in the first few days. If the pain is constant and interferes with your life, then you can take a common pain reliever like aspirin.

Wax on the braces can also help to lessen the irritation of the mouth, lips and cheeks until the mouth is accustomed to having braces. Over time, your teeth will loosen up but it is nothing to be alarmed about. The teeth must become loose in order to move into the right position and will become sturdy again when they are in their new spot.

Braces Hygiene

While at our office, we make sure that you receive the highest level of service and ensure that our dental work is of the highest quality. To ensure that you maintain great oral health, this level of quality needs to extend into your personal oral hygiene routine.

We can help you establish a dental hygiene routine that will keep your teeth healthy and white. If you have any questions about your current hygiene plan please ask us.

Your teeth are not the only important part of your mouth. Your gums are essential to oral hygiene as well. We can provide periodontal cleanings and treatment, or refer you to one of our recommended specialists. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Braces and Sports

Your braces will not get you out of gym class but you should be more careful with your mouth, especially if you are athletic. A protective mouth guard is recommended for playing any sport, even soccer, to prevent your braces, mouth and teeth from damage.

If you are injured, check to see the damage done to your mouth and to the braces. You should call for an appointment if your teeth are loosened or knocked out and if the braces have been damaged.

What Can You Eat With Braces

When your braces are placed onto your teeth, you will experience some moderate soreness and eating tough foods such as meats and raw vegetables will cause you some pain. For the first week, you should only eat foods which do not require you to strain your teeth too hard.

Over time, this sensitivity will disappear and you will be able to eat just about anything. Just remember that you are eating with your braces so certain foods can actually damage and get caught in them. Try to avoid eating the following foods to eliminate damage to your orthodontic appliances:

  • Bagels and hard rolls
  • Popcorn
  • Gum and Candy
  • Ice
  • Apples
  • Corn on the cob

And remember, biting your fingernails or chewing on pen caps can also damage your braces so try to avoid your jitters.

Want to learn more about braces in Arlington, VA? Contact Gentle Care Dentists today by phone 703-822-5583 or our online form to schedule your appointment.