Braces have achieved very widespread use in the United States. Some teenagers feel that at a time they reach a certain age, they need to have them, because everyone else does.
There are three basic reasons for needing braces or orthodontic treatment:
1) The most obvious one is for appearance's sake. Chiefly in the American culture, crooked front teeth are considered socially unacceptable and braces destined to straighten them.
2) The other is a functional reason. When teeth are not aligned, it can be hard to chew properly. Orthodontic treatment can correct a faulty bite and consequently can treat poor chewing or headaches that can be associated with teeth not meeting together properly.
3) Crooked teeth are hard to clean and they are considerably more prone to gum disease afterward. When teeth are straightened, they can be brushed and flossed easily, they don't trap food effortlessly, thus they are more resistant to gum disease.
When we use the word "braces," we be likely to think of the traditional wire and bracket type. But there are new variations on this traditional technique. One of the popular choices these days is what is called invisible braces. Invisalign makes a system of clear, computer manufactured aligners. They use stylish imaging software that creates a series of clear plastic splints that are really invisible at conversational distance. When you put the aligner in, it is shaped to push your teeth into a slightly new position. Every two weeks you change the aligners and gradually your teeth are moved to the position when they are entirely straight. The Invisalign system doesn't work for every case, but for many people they are a new way to straighten your teeth.
There are also lingual braces that are worn on the inner segment of the teeth. These are very uncomfortable and irritating to the tongue, but they are completely invisible to others.
When you are wearing braces, it is particularly important to keep your teeth clean. If you don't, a number of serious problems can develop. They attract food particles which can promote serious tooth decay around the brackets. The rotting food particles can also produce white or brown spots that will be unattractive blotches on your teeth when you finished with orthodontic treatment. When these food particles decompose they can provoke bad breath as well.
When your teeth are straightened with braces, their new straight position needs to be maintained, often with what are called retainers. Later in life your teeth can go crooked again because of adult tooth movement.