How Braces Are Put On Teeth
How Are Braces put on teeth?
The process for putting on braces has changed a lot from the early days.
Braces are put on teeth by an orthodontic specialist and their staff under the doctor’s supervision. There are several steps, some of which are always required, and a few which may be optional depending on the condition of the teeth and the preference of the doctor.
The first step is usually putting in what is called a retractor. You may have seen a retractor used in games where you try to say words
The front surfaces of all or most of your teeth are first cleaned and the surface is prepared for to make sure the attaching process is successful. Sometimes, the staff will use a rubber polishing cup and pumice, very similar to the process you experience at the end of a dental cleaning from your hygienist. This step removes any debris on the surface of the teeth.
Next, the surface is rinsed with water and dried. Rinsing with water removes any of the leftover pumice from the polishing step and any debris that was loosened from the tooth in this polishing cup step. Drying the tooth gets the tooth ready for the next step, which is called etching.
Etch cleans the tooth on a molecular level and getting the tooth surface chemically ready to accept the glue. The etch is often blue, but can be other colors like green as well. You may notice that etch can have a bit of a sour taste because it is a little acidic, kind of like an orange. The etch is left on the teeth for about 20-30 seconds and then rinsed with water again.
From this point going forward, it is VERY important that your teeth stay dry for the rest of the procedure. It may be tempting to wonder what exactly is going on or what the teeth feel like. Some people get so curious they put their tongue on the front surface! Unfortunately, our saliva can disrupt the bonding process so that the braces don’t stick to your teeth. If you try to touch your teeth for a second when the orthodontist or staff isn’t carefully watching, you may get home only to eat some food after getting your braces and find some of your braces fell off your teeth! For this reason, if you have a curious tongue, it’s very important to tell it to just relax until your braces and wires are all attached and your orthodontist
The braces are made of metal or clear ceramic and are attached to the teeth using a special dental glue. In the orthodontic world, the process of attaching braces to teeth is called bonding.
to attach them.
While general dentists, the ones who do filling, can put braces on teeth, we recommend having braces only placed by an orthodontic specialist. Orthodontics isn’t a big focus in dental school and so dentists have to find orthodontic classes of a few hours or few days to try to learn orthodontics. Orthodontists, on the other hands, are dentists who graduated at the top of their dental school classes and then did an extra 2-3 years of school full time to become an orthodontist. As an orthodontist, you have to promise to only do orthodontics, which means they get very good at it. You can know if an orthodontist is really an orthodontist or because they no longer do metal fillings, crowns, and other general dentist things.
Unfortunately, knowing whether your doctor is an orthodontist can be confusing. Before getting braces, we recommend you ask the person putting on your braces if they completed a 2-3 year orthodontic specialist residency and what school they attended, just to be safe.
The braces can be attached in one of two ways:
- The orthodontist can place the braces on the teeth and then attach them using glue or bonding materials.
- They can also choose to fasten the brackets with wires, which will then be tightened by a cordless hand tool.