Potomac Pediatric Dentistry - Family Dentistry and Orthodontics


Braces are viewed today almost as a rite of passage for modern teens. The method, now perfected, has proven to be highly effective for helping teens – and adults alike, achieve straighter smiles.

Braces technology has evolved other the years, allowing for strong bonding materials, barely visible options, and a little discomfort in the process of straightening teeth.

Our Dumfries orthodontist can consult with you and your teen on the best course of action for treatment. Schedule your visit today, or keep reading to learn more about our orthodontic treatment options.

Dumfries Braces | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

How Braces Work

Braces are comprised of many components all working together to help you achieve a healthier, straighter, and more beautiful smile. Depending on the type of braces, these parts may include:


Made of metal or ceramic and bonded to each, individual tooth.


This is a thin metal wire running through the brackets. This wire is what applies pressure to your teeth to encourage them to shift into proper alignment. Precise bends in the archwire can help to achieve specific adjustments, such as encouraging a tooth too far forward to move back, into alignment with the teeth surrounding it or even shifting a twisted tooth so that it faces the way it should.

Elastic ties

As the name implies, these are elastic rings that hold the archwires to the individual brackets. These ties are changed during each follow-up visit to as your orthodontist makes adjustments to encourage specific results.

Rubber bands

Primarily used to help adjust bite alignment issues (underbites, overbites, etc.), you may use rubber bands attached via hooks attached to your brackets to create added pressure necessary to shift the jaw into proper alignment.

How Braces Work | Dumfries Orthodontist | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

These elements work in tangent to apply pressure in precise locations within your mouth, shifting your teeth into alignment. Depending on the severity of your misalignment, crooked teeth, gaps, overbite, or underbite, it could take longer or shorter amounts of time to make the required adjustments.

What To Expect With Braces

Because the process of straightening your teeth, closing a tooth gap or correcting an overbite or underbite can take time, it’s natural to want to understand the overall braces process.

Impressions For Braces | Dumfries Orthodontist | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

Impressions First

To begin, our orthodontist, Dr. Afsaneh Rangiani, takes an impression of your upper and lower arch on your first braces evaluation visit. To get an impression of your teeth, you’ll bite down into a tray of “goo,” called alginate, and hold it long enough for an impression.

Then, we use the alginate impression to form into a three-dimensional mold of your smile based on the impression. We use this model of your smile to formulate an effective treatment plan and to understand how best to progress with perfecting your smile.

Dental Cleaning Before Braces

Before you get braces, you’ll need to have an extensive dental cleaning. We’ll provide you with pointed instructions about the importance of outstanding oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment. This includes brushing your teeth with electric and manual toothbrushes and flossing daily. We strongly encourage you to receive regular dental cleanings at six-month intervals throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Dental Cleaning Before Braces | Dumfries Braces | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

Type of Braces Determine Speed of Treatment

The types of braces you choose also impact how quickly your teeth will move into place. Most people feel some initial soreness in the jaw following the initial procedure and after each subsequent adjustment. This soreness usually lasts only a few days and can easily be treated with over-the-counter medications if they are even necessary at all.

Extra Appliances May Be Needed

While many patients will only need braces, there may be some occasions when other dental appliances are warranted to supplement the treatment to reposition your teeth, in addition to braces. We will discuss this with you should it become necessary.

Braces Elastics | Dumfries Orthodontics | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

Types of Braces

There are three main types of braces available today, each one offering unique strengths and weaknesses to those who choose them.

Metal Braces

Metal Braces | Dumfries Orthodontics | Potomac Pediatric Dentistry

Perhaps the most cost-effective option for orthodontic treatment, traditional metal braces are highly effective for moving teeth. With all the technological advances of the last 120+ years, the mechanics of braces have remained largely unchanged. Simply put, they are very effective at what they do.  

While they are the most noticeable type of braces, younger teens enjoy the ability to use colored bands for a touch of fun in the process and the opportunity to choose the color allows them to express themselves. Plus, many teens simply appreciate the opportunity to have a “voice” in the process that colored bands allow.

Clear Braces

macro shot on woman mouth with braces laughing, happy expression concept.

Clear braces, also called ceramic braces, deliver a discrete teeth straightening or alignment treatment experience. They may cost slightly more than metal braces, but offer benefits many consider well worth the investment. Because clear braces are less noticeable than metal braces, they are the clear choices for adults (or teens) needing braces who don’t want to wear traditional wire-and-bracket orthodontic hardware.

Though they are not always “clear,” some are tooth-colored. Instead, they are consistently made of ceramic. Because they are tooth-colored, they are less visible. However, clear braces and ceramic braces still contain a wire to connect the braces.

However, clear braces have some drawbacks to consider. One of the most noteworthy factors is that they can stain easily, which is a consideration for regular coffee or wine drinkers. It means clear braces may require dietary constraints and limitations than metal braces do.

Note that Invisalign braces are similar to clear braces in that they both are more difficult to detect than metal braces. However, Invisalign braces can be removed, unlike clear, ceramic braces. Also, Invisalign clear aligners are virtually transparent.

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