Lesson 8: Braces

Some kids really look forward to getting braces because they are excited to have straighter teeth and look like an older teenager! Others worry about getting braces put on and how braces will change their appearance.

Either way, just remember, braces are not a big deal. Dentists use them to correct your teeth to make them healthier. This process is called orthodontics.


Some teeth just don’t grow in straight. They can grow at an angle too far out, or too far in, or grown in at angles that crowd the teeth which can have negative effects on your chewing or speaking.

Orthodontics is a dental specialty that involves the use of devices – most often braces – to help in the development, prevention, and correction of misaligned teeth, or adjustment of the jaw.

Remember, if your teeth haven’t grown in straight, that’s not your fault. If you require braces to move your teeth, it won’t be forever.


With the help of Orthodontic treatment, instances of “bad bite” can be fixed to result in a healthier mouth. Common reasons you may require orthodontic treatment include:

  • Misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth
  • An overbite, or underbite
  • Missing teeth, or extra teeth
  • Misaligned jaw position


Ideally, orthodontic treatment would take places between 10-14 years old. This is because the jaw and mouth of an adult is already set.

It is a good idea to check with your dentist starting at the age of 9 to see if you require braces. This way your dentist can keep track of your teeth and keep in mind future care.

Similarly, a child’s mouth is going to change too much as they get older that the work done with braces will be moved again as the face and bones grow. This is why teens are at the right age for braces – not too young, not too old.


Brackets are attached to each tooth and then attached to each other using metal wires. Those wires apply steady pressure to your teeth over time and move them.

How long you will have to have braces depends on your teeth. Most kids wear their braces for a couple years.

After your Orthodontist removes your braces, you will have to wear a retainer for a while. A retainer is a hard plastic mouth guard. You wear the retainer to ensure your teeth don’t move back to where they were before your got braces. After a while your teeth will be able to stay put on their own and you’ll be able to get rid of that retainer and enjoy your straight new smile!


In order to get the most out of braces and end up with beautiful, straight, healthy teeth, you must take care of your braces. If you do not regularly care and clean your braces other issues can arise while your braces are on.

  • Brush regularly, and after every meal to make sure food doesn’t get stuck behind the brackets.
  • Floss daily between the teeth and braces. There are special floss threaders to make it easier to floss under the wires.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months (or as recommended) to have your teeth cleaned.
  • Avoid sticky snacks including foods like chewy candies, chewing gum, popcorn, or toffee.

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