Orthodontic braces are used to align and straighten teeth and help to improve the position of a person's bite, while also working to improve dental health. There are many situations when a person needs braces, for example: crooked teeth, crowding of teeth or too wide spacing between teeth. The most common irregularities are overbite (where upper front teeth lie to far forward over lower teeth) and under-bite (where lower teeth are too far forward or upper teeth are too far back).
Braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied. There are many types of braces, from metal-wire braces, which are most stable, to ceramic ones, which are esthetically most pleasing, since they look almost as regular teeth.
In order to correct most of orthodontic problems, a person needs to wear braces for a year. After that, control check-ups are needed in order to prevent teeth going back to their irregular array. An orthodontist may also provide the patient with a temporary retainer which can help in the process of preserving the new, well-aligned smile.