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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Braces are a device commonly used by orthodontists to help straighten teeth. Having braces can improve the attractiveness of your smile and correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food. This prevents headaches and other pain caused by uneven chewing. The three main types of braces are fixed, removable, and functional. Fixed braces are very effective for correcting complex problems. They're attached to the teeth for as long as treatment takes place. In the past, most fixed braces were made of stainless steel. Today, fixed braces are made of several types of less noticeable materials, including tooth-colored ceramics and clear acrylic. Removable braces can be taken off for cleaning. They're most often used for simple orthodontic problems such as moving a single tooth. Functional appliances are used to correct abnormal growth patterns in the jaws, and they're also removable for cleaning. Contact an orthodontist or dentist for more information on straightening your teeth with braces.

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