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Photos of Teenagers with Braces

Many teenagers wonder what they’ll look like with braces, and what colors of rubber bands will look best with their hair color and facial tone.  Judging by the comments on this article about braces colors, I decided it would be a good idea to create a post with dozens of pictures of teenagers with braces so you can get a general idea of how you’ll look with braces.

As you take a look at the pictures below, you may notice that some people look confident with braces, and some people don’t.  If you try to smile and look proud of your braces, people will see you as more confident, and you’ll likely enjoy having braces more.  It all comes down to attitude.

Hopefully there’s someone here that looks similar to you!

60 Photos of Teenagers with Braces



This blond young woman appears confident as she smiles, showing off a pink powerchain on her upper braces.



This young man appears confident even though he wears glasses and his braces pop right out at you.  Even with the braces and glasses, he proudly shows off blue and orange colored bands around his braces.



This blond-haired, blue-eyed young woman smiles, showing off gray and green colored bands around her braces.



This blond-haired, blue-eyed young woman sports silver-colored elastic bands around her braces.



This brown-haired, blue-eyed young man is sporting blue and green colored elastics on his braces.



This young woman is proudly smiling, showing her blue elastics on her upper braces.



This young woman is rocking a few different shades of blue elastics on her braces: light green, teal, and blue.



This blond-haired, blue-eyed young woman is smiling, displaying her upper and lower braces with black and pink-colored elastics.



This young man is smiling enough that we can see his red elastic bands on his upper braces.



This young woman is smiling big enough to show off her upper and lower braces with pink elastics.



This young woman probably needs to work on her smiling skills!  She’s displaying pink and green colored elastics alternating on the top teeth with green bands on the lower four front teeth with pink bands next to them.



This young man smiles, showing off blue-colored elastic bands on his braces.



This young woman looks pretty happy with the world, showing off pink and green colored elastics.



This young woman smiles revealing a silver powerchain that links the braces on her upper teeth.



This young man isn’t afraid to prove to the world that pink isn’t just for girls.



This young woman is seen sporting a popular choice for braces colors: pink and green.



This young woman also thinks highly of the colors green and pink.



This young man has chosen blue and green for his elastics.



This young lady has chosen silver elastic bands that match the silver color of her braces.



This young man displays a blue powerchain on his braces.  He can’t contain his large smile as he listens to an audio version of



This blond lifeguard rocks a pink powerchain.



This young woman chose white elastics to help hide the silver color of her braces.  Although white bands can be a good choice for some, many teenagers with braces find that they make their teeth look more yellow.



This young man  confidently smiles, unafraid to show the world that he has braces.



This young woman has ceramic brackets, which don’t stand out quite as much as the silver brackets.



This young man isn’t trying to hide the fact that he wears braces.  His strategy seems to have garnered the interest of at least one woman.



This fashionable young woman probably enjoys the bling her braces add to her outfits…and it looks like she can’t stop looking at the attractive fellow in photo #25!



This young woman confidently displays her braces for the world to see.



This young man’s confidence goes a long way at convincing the viewer that he is comfortable with his braces.



This young lady’s mouth just needs some Christmas lights to be all ready for the holidays.



This young brunette displays her top-notch oral hygiene skills by using an interdental cleaner to help keep her pearly whites healthy.



This young man is having a fabulous hair day as he shows off his ceramic braces which are designed to hide the fact that the person has braces.



This confident young woman shows off her braces.



This young woman probably wouldn’t be smiling so big if she knew she lost her braces wire.



This young man confidently smiles, letting the world know that he’s proud of his braces.



This red-haired, blue-eyed young woman sports her Damon braces with confidence.



This brown-haired young woman shows off her braces with purple-colored elastics.



This young man proudly sports some light-green colored bands and a thin mustache.



This dark-brown-haired young woman proudly shows off her braces.



This young woman shows us through her big smile that it is possible to maintain beautiful teeth even while wearing braces.



This young woman is trying to make her teeth appear whiter by going with an off-white elastic band.



This teenage young lady shows that you can still look good during the initial phase of braces while your teeth are still crooked.



This young lady shows off a sweet, innocent smile with her braces.



This young woman shows off her Damon braces with a confident smile.



This teenage girl recently had her braces put on.  If we give her a few months, she’ll soon move from a half-smile to a full, confident smile.



This young man is trying to distract from his braces with some facial hair.



This young woman cleverly distracts the viewer from her braces to her eyes.  One way to take the emphasis off of your braces is to guide the attention away from your mouth to other features.  She does this with her eye shadow and her large earrings.



This young woman’s braces are barely noticeable.  You can ask your orthodontist about more aesthetic options such as ceramic braces and lighter-colored wires.



This teenage girl just got her braces, and is still getting used to smiling with them.



This young man proudly shows off his gray and green colored elastic bands for his braces.



This young woman displays a confident smile with her braces.



These teenage girls are having fun swimming.  It’s important to remember that braces don’t define who you are,!l Life continues to go on and you can participate in the same activities you did before you had braces.

#51 and #52


You can see the same teenager in the above and below photos.  Notice how the different smile totally changes the appearance of her whole face.  After you get braces, practice smiling and speaking in front of a mirror, as the braces will make your mouth feel different.




This young man can confidently laugh at a joke.  Don’t be afraid to let people know you have braces, because they will probably notice even if you try to hide it.



This young woman has consulted with her orthodontist about aesthetic optiosn to help disguise braces.



This teenage girl has taken some of the focus off of her braces by wearing glasses that stand out with purple frames.



This young lady is still working on getting her smile right with braces, as she’s scrunching up her nose a little bit, causing more of her upper gums to show.



This teenage boy proudly waves, desperate to show off his braces to anyone who will look.



This teenage girl takes some of the focus off of her braces with some green eye shadow.



This young blond-haired teenager proudly displays her braces with confidence.



This young woman disguises her braces with a white powerchain.

Be Confident

Hopefully this sampling of photos of teenagers with braces has helped you see how you might look with braces.

One of the most important takeaways is to simply be confident with braces.  They are temporary – they won’t define who you are. You might as well be confident while you have them.

If you have any questions about braces, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Photo Credit All Photos © Bigstock and Shutterstock

Forces Trying to Move Your Teeth
©Xavier Gallego Morell/

Did you know that while you are reading this, there are many different forces acting on your teeth?  I’m guessing that right now your tongue is probably slightly resting on the the back of your lower front teeth and the inside of your lips are resting against your front teeth.  If you took a magic school bus ride into the average person”s mouth, you’d probably find the same thing.

Forces On TeethDid you know that both of these forces along with other forces can affect how your smile looks?  In this article, I will go over some of the forces that act on your teeth and how you can make sure that they don’t negatively affect your smile.

Forces that Constantly Try to Move Your Teeth

As I mentioned above, your lips push your teeth into your mouth while your tongue pushes your teeth out.  They eventually find an equilibrium known as the neutral position.

Normally these forces are good.  For example, these forces help keep your teeth arranged in a symmetrical arch.  These forces can also help push permanent lower front teeth out away from the tongue when the permanent teeth come in behind the baby teeth.

However, if the forces in your own mouth get out of hand, they can push your teeth into abnormal positions.

Tongue Habits

Did you know that the average human swallows more than 2,000 times every day!  If you go ahead and swallow right now, you’ll notice that your tongue pushes against your upper front teeth.  As long as you don’t push excessively on your front teeth, usually everything is fine.

Some people have habits that cause them to hold their tongue between their teeth all the time or to push their tongue out excessively when they swallow.

Lip Habits

The forces that your lips apply to your teeth can become a problem if you develop certain habits.  One such habit is tucking your lower lip behind your upper teeth.  This is especially common in younger children and people who bite their lips when they get nervous.


The labial frenum has been accused of moving the front two teeth apart after they are perfectly aligned with braces.  For this reason, some people choose to cut away the frenum by getting a frenectomy.

Forces From Your Teeth

Other teeth (or the lack thereof) can move your teeth.  Normally when you bite together, your teeth touch and rest in a certain position.  This position is known as centric occlusion.  Normally, the top teeth oppose the bottom teeth and keep them in check.  However, when you lose a tooth, things get interesting!

When you lose a tooth, the teeth drift to fill the space. The teeth on either side of the lost tooth move, as will the tooth that opposes it. For example, if you lost a lower tooth, the tooth on the upper jaw that normally hits it would start to grow down slightly to fill in the space and the adjacent teeth to the lost tooth would start to lean in towards the empty gap.

Certain habits involving tooth-to-tooth contact, such as clenching or grinding your teeth could also cause movement of your teeth.

Another force that can move your teeth is described in Ten Cate’s Oral Histology textbook.  It talks about the back teeth pushing forward ever so slightly against each other, which causes a gradual forward movement of your teeth as you get older.


As you can see, there are many different forces that are constantly acting on your teeth that could cause them to move.  In addition to these internal forces from your own body, teeth can also move due to external forces such as braces, pipe smoking, or musical instruments.  I will discuss these forces in more detail in a future article.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about tooth movement caused by these forces?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Can General Dentists Do Braces?

I frequently get emails from people asking me if a general dentist is allowed to provide orthodontic treatment to their patients, or if this can only be done by orthodontists.

Can General Dentists Offer Braces?The short answer is yes.  General dentists CAN offer their patients braces.  If a general dentist wants to provide orthodontics in his or her practice, then they have to measure up to the standard of care.  This means that if a dentist is able to straighten and align teeth as well as an average orthodontist, then they can offer braces to their patients.

I have heard stories of general dentists competing with orthodontists in various cities.  One of my friends in dental school told me about a certain town where the general dentist was doing a better job than the orthodontist, and ended up doing more orthodontics than the orthodontist.  Orthodontics, like many things in dentistry,  is dependent on how well you can visualize the final treatment and how good you are with your hands.

Orthodontists do get an extra two to three years of specialized training in orthodontics and braces beyond dental school, but obviously every orthodontist has a different level of skill.  In order to measure up, a general dentist would need to take a lot of continuing education classes and gain a significant amount of experience.

The American Association of Orthodontists’ View on Dentists Offering Braces

As a student member of the Academy of General Dentistry, I am subscribed to their newsletter.  An email that they sent me earlier this month caught my attention.  Here’s an excerpt:

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has developed an online Myths and Facts site.  According to the site, the following statements are myths:

  • My family dentist says he can straighten my teeth.
  • Orthodontists charge more than general dentists for orthodontic treatment.

Last fall, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) reached out to the AAO to explain that these two statements are often true, and not myths.

Let’s take a look at both of those “myths.”  According to the AAO, it is a myth that family dentists can straighten teeth.  In response to that, the Academy of General Dentistry said “Some general dentists, especially more experienced ones like AGD’s, Fellows, and Masters perform hundreds of orthodontic procedures each year.  It is regretful to paint all GP’s with the same broad brush.  In addition…restorative care can be much more complex than orthodontics.  To imply that “drilling and filling” is mundane is demeaning.”

The second “myth” says that orthodontists charge more than general dentists for orthodontic treatment.  This is a myth because the cost of orthodontics is mainly based on the complexity of treatment, not whether the person providing the treatment is an orthodontist or dentist.

Unfortunately, even after receiving the letter from the Academy of General Dentistry, the AAO has still not changed their misleading website.

In order to illustrate that the two statements above are indeed myths, I’d like to share a story about Dr. June Lee, a general dentist that decided to incorporate orthodontic treatment into her family dental practice.

Dr. June Lee – A General Dentist Practicing Orthodontics

The following story is an excerpt from this article that appeared in The Academy of General Dentistry’s magazine, Impact in 1996:

Twenty-five years ago, June Lee, DDS, MAGD, made a disturbing discovery among her patients. “In my neighborhood, I was seeing a lot of finished orthodontic cases that were very poorly done,” Dr. Lee recalls. “My husband and I practice together and we were concerned about it.”

As luck would have it, this discovery was made around the same time that a friend recommended that Dr. Lee visit an upcoming weekend orthodontics course. “[The instructor] made it very exciting and very interesting,” she says. “He said, ‘You can do a lot of this in your own office’—which made sense to me.”

Since then, Dr. Lee has incorporated orthodontics into her general practice. She saw it as an opportunity not only to expand upon her skills, but to fill a need within her patient community.

“I incorporated orthodontics in my office because I had a final restoration in mind and wanted the teeth to end up where the restoration could be the most functional,” recalls Maharukh Kravich, DDS, FAGD, who started offering orthodontics in 1989. “So I started doing my own orthodontics, and I really enjoyed doing it.”

I really liked Dr. June Lee’s story as it shows initiative.  She didn’t like what the orthodontist was doing to her patients.  She decided she could do a better job — and she went ahead and did it.

Can All General Dentists Provide Orthodontic Treatment?

Not every general dentist offers orthodontics.  In fact, most general dentists simply refer all of their orthodontics cases to an orthodontist.  It all comes down to what a general dentist enjoys doing.  Some general dentists do lots of root canals, others do lots of braces, and others refer all of their patients that require root canals or braces treatment.


I don’t by any means want to imply that orthodontists aren’t necessary.  Orthodontists provide wonderful service to the general public in most cases.  I simply want to point out that general dentists can provide excellent orthodontic care to their patients if they participate in the right continuing education and have gained some additional experience and expertise in this area.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about general dentists and orthodontics?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Age that a Child Needs a Frenectomy
©Gerard Koudenburg/

One of the topics that I get emailed about most often is labial frenectomies.  Not long ago, my sister called me asking me whether or not her daughter should get a labial frenectomy.  The dentist had noticed it at one appointment and said that she may have a gap between her front teeth if a frenectomy wasn’t done.

My sister never got back to the dentist.  At the following appointment, the dentist never mentioned that her daughter needed a frenectomy.

Overall, it seems like orthodontists and general dentists are recommending frenectomies more and more often. Is there a sound reason for performing all of these recommended frenectomies?  Should little children get frenectomies to avoid possibly having a gap between their front permanent teeth?  I’ll answer these questions and more in the article below.

At What Age Should a Child Get a Labial Frenectomy?

At What Age Does a Child Need a Labial Frenectomy?

A few months ago, I had a conversation via email with a reader who we’ll call Amy.  Her daughter was only 16 months old and the doctor that she went to recommended that her 16 month old daughter get a labial frenectomy.  Here’s what Amy wrote in one of her emails to me:

Our doctor told us that her gum needed to be cut at some point before her back teeth came in and before the permanent teeth came in to help with the space.  She has not had any problems with it before like pain or trouble talking. To make the story different to me, is that the doctor that did the surgery was a ear, nose and throat doctor. I always had a dentist do the work on me.

I am not sure if this has anything to do with it but we live in a very small town and area. I have talked to many people and they all acted like this was a common thing to do even on toddlers and infants. So I am a little confused with their responses and yours.

I found Amy’s email slightly troubling as I hadn’t ever heard of frenectomies being performed in such young children unless their frenum is so thick that they have trouble eating/speaking or it is causing them pain.

After combing through a few different textbooks, I found a few quotes that I think are worth sharing.  Dr. Pinkham’s book Pediatric Dentistry states the following (I put the important points in bold text – and FYI a diastema is a space between the front teeth):

“Recent trends justify significantly fewer maxillary labial frenectomies.  These procedures should only be performed after it has been shown that the frenum is a causative factor in maintaining a diastema between the maxillary central incisors.  This cannot be determined until after the permanent canines have erupted.  Therefore a maxillary labial frenectomy prior to the age of 11 or 12 is probably not indicated.”

The book Paediatric Dentistry, edited by Richard Welbury echoes Dr. Pinkham’s pediatric dentistry book.  It says, “Parents are often concerned about spacing of the upper incisors, and they can be reassured that it will often reduce as the permanent upper canines erupt…There is some disagreement about the role of frenectomy in the treatment of diastemata, but it is very rarely indicated in the mixed dentition stage and is probably best carried out during active orthodontic treatment.”

Dr. Pinkham’s book states that a frenectomy is probably unnecessary before a child is 11 or 12 years old.  Paediatric Dentistry says that a frenectomy is very rarely done in the mixed dentition (before all of the baby teeth have fallen out – around 11-12 years of age.)

Both of these authoritative books in the field of pediatric dentistry agree that a frenectomy shouldn’t be done, except in rare circumstances, before a child is 11 years old.

Labial Frenectomy After Braces

A labial frenectomy can be done after the gap between the front teeth is closed with braces.  To learn more about this topic, read the article Is a Labial Frenectomy Necessary After Braces?

When Should a Child Get a Frenectomy Before They are 11 Years Old?

There may be some situations where a frenectomy should be performed in a child who is younger than the 11 to 12 years old recommended above.

The book Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology says that “A frenum becomes a problem if the attachment is too close to the marginal gingiva.  Tension on the frenum may pull the gingival margin away from the tooth.  This condition may be conducive to plaque accumulation and inhibit proper toothbrushing.”

The book Pediatric Dentistry also states that if “the frenum attachment exerts a traumatic force on the facial attached gingiva of a permanent tooth (an uncommon situation)” then a frenectomy can also be performed.

Obviously, other valid reasons to perform a labial frenectomy earlier are if the frenum is causing the child pain or making it difficult to speak or eat.


To recap, a child should only get a frenectomy after the permanent canines have come in and after closing the gap between the front two teeth.  This means that a frenectomy should normally only be performed when a child has turned 11 or 12 years old.

A child may need to get a frenectomy earlier if the labial frenum:

  • Makes it difficult for the child to keep their teeth clean
  • Is pulling on the gums causing them to recede
  • Causes the child pain
  • Makes it difficult for the child to eat or speak

Have you had your children get labial frenectomies?  Has your child’s dentist recommended a labial frenectomy before the age of 11?

I’d love to hear about your stories involving frenectomies in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Why Braces Have Two Colored Bands Around Them

A few weeks ago, Emily asked the following question:

For some reason I just noticed that one of brackets has two elastic bands on it. One one One side of the bracket and the other on the other side of the bracket. Not one just going around the whole bracket like the rest. Is this normal?  Or just a mistake?

Here’s a picture showing what I think Emily was getting at: Two Rubber Ligatures on One Bracket with Braces To answer Emily’s question — it probably wasn’t a mistake.  If you look in the photo above, you can see (aside from the great choice of colored braces) that there are some spaces present the upper first and second teeth from the middle.  In my opinion, the orthodontist is using the extra band to make sure that a big space doesn’t open up between the front two teeth. Another way that orthodontists can keep teeth together while they move them is through the use of a power chain.

To learn more about power chains and how they hold your teeth together, read the article, Power Chains: Why Some Colored Braces are Connected.


I hope that helps everyone out there who may have been wondering the same thing.  If you have any other questions about braces, go ahead and leave them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Thanks for reading!

Braces and Pain

Do Braces Hurt?Recently, I’ve gotten quite a few questions about whether or not braces hurt.  A lot of the questions are from young people who will be getting braces very soon and are getting kind of nervous about whether or not the braces will hurt when they get them put on.

To answer the question of whether or not braces hurt, I’m going to divide it into four sections below:

1 – Do braces hurt when they get put on?
2 – Do braces hurt after they’ve been on for a while?
3 – Do braces hurt after they get tightened?
4 – Do braces hurt when you get them taken off?

Do Braces Hurt When They Are Put On?

When the orthodontist puts your braces on, he or she will usually glue metal brackets to the front of  your teeth and might even put metal bands around some of the back teeth.

After that, your orthodontist will usually put a wire that runs through all of the brackets.  The wire is what gradually applies forces on your teeth that causes them to move.

Having braces put on usually doesn’t hurt at all.

However, a few hours after the appointment, your teeth will most likely begin to hurt a little bit.  The pain isn’t a sharp pain, it’s more like a dull pain.

The best example I can give is to have you press hard on your fingernail.  It may not really hurt, it might just pinch a little.  Now imagine this same pinching feeling going on in your mouth.  This is similar to the feeling that I had when I had my braces on.

Keep in mind that we all experience pain in different ways.  For some people, getting braces may not really hurt at all, and for others it can be rather painful.

Do Braces Hurt After They’ve Been on for a While?

The reason braces hurt when you have them put on is because they are applying force on your teeth that makes your teeth move.  After a few days, the pain usually goes away as your teeth have already begun the process of moving and the tension in the wire has gone down.

After I’d had my braces on for a while, my teeth felt fine.  They felt like they did before I had braces — that is until I went to my first appointment to have them tightened!

Do Braces Hurt When You Have Them Tightened?

After you go in to have your braces adjusted, you will usually experience some more pain, although it probably won’t be as bad as it was when you first had them put on.

When you go in to have your braces tightened, the orthodontist will usually evaluate how your teeth have moved and put in a new wire to keep them moving into the position that will provide you with an ideal, healthy smile.  The new wire will have some tension in it and may cause you some discomfort until your teeth have moved into their new position.  This discomfort generally is most painful in the initial 24 hours after they are tightened but should resolve within two to three days.  After that, your teeth should feel great until you go in for your next appointment.

Do Braces Hurt When You Have Them Taken Off?

Having your braces removed is usually the highlight of the whole experience for many teenagers!  When you have your braces removed, the orthodontist takes out the wire and removes the brackets from your teeth.  I helped one of the orthodontic residents remove a teenager’s braces not too long ago and the brackets just popped right off.  She was nervously wondering if it would be painful to have them removed.  After the appointment she was relieved to realize that it really didn’t hurt at all!

After the brackets are removed, the orthodontist will make sure that all of the glue has been removed that was holding the brackets off and may choose to polish your teeth.

Getting your braces off shouldn’t hurt at all!


Did you have braces or are you getting braces soon?  Share your experiences with everyone using the comment form below.  Also, if you have any questions about braces and pain you can also leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

Power Chains Braces Bands Connected
©Rob Byron/

If you take a look at the young woman to the left, you’ll notice that she has blue colored rubber bands that attach the orthodontic wire to her braces.  You may also notice that it is one long, continuous band.  This is known as a power chain.

Powerchain that Connects All the TeethMost braces currently used require a rubber band, known as a ligature, to hold the orthodontic wire inside of the braces.  To learn more about why these rubber bands are necessary, you can read an article I wrote a few months ago about why you have to have rubber bands on each tooth with braces.

Below is a close-up photo that illustrates the difference between the normal rubber bands (ligatures) and the power chain.  This teenage girl has a power chain on the top teeth and regular ligatures on the bottom teeth.  She also loves hot pink!

Colored Braces Single Tooth or All The Teeth

Now that you’ve seen the difference, what you’re probably wondering is why on earth the orthodontist would put that on your braces.

View 60 Photos of Teenagers with Braces to see more photos of teenagers wearing power chains on their braces.

Why Orthodontists Use Power Chains with Braces

Orthodontists use power chains on your braces for two reasons:

  1. To make sure that your teeth don’t move apart.
  2. To help close gaps between your teeth.

Power Chains are Used to Make Sure Your Teeth Don’t Move Apart

If your dentist needs to move your teeth, and he or she is worried that when they move, you’ll get a gap, then your orthodontist will use a power chain to make sure that you don’t get a gap in between your teeth.  The power chain can snugly hold your teeth together.

Power Chains are Used to Close Gaps Between Your Teeth

If you have gaps between your teeth, power chains are a good way to help pull the teeth together and close the gaps.

Will Power Chains Hurt Your Teeth?

Power chains do cause some mild discomfort, just like braces do.  They might be uncomfortable for the first few days, but your teeth will shortly adjust to them and then your pain should decrease.

What Colors of Power Chains Can You Get For Your Braces?

Power chains, just like ligatures, come in a variety of colors.

If you’re curious about what colors you can get on your braces, read my article about what colors of braces you can get.

At the orthodontic clinic at my dental school, I don’t think we have quite as many colors for the power chains as we do for the regular ligatures.  However, your orthodontist might have a better selection.  Just ask, and I’m sure they’d love to show you the variety of colors you can get!


Have you ever had a power chain on your braces?  What did you think of it?  Do you have any questions or comments about this article?  Feel free to submit a comment using the form below.

Thanks for reading!

Colored Braces Bands for Braces Brackets Colors

Not too long ago, I spent a week of my dental school career in the orthodontics department, helping the future orthodontists to straighten people’s teeth.

Pink Colored BracesA lot of the teenagers’ favorite part of their appointment was at the very end when they got to choose what color their braces would be for the few weeks until their next appointment.

One dedicated high school football player wanted the colors of his school — they had lost their last game, and he was hoping that his braces would bring his team a much-wanted victory.

It was interesting to look at the psychology behind the color choices.  Everybody that told me what color they wanted felt like they had to justify their color choice.  Some people chose their favorite color or just a color to match their mood.

If you’re wondering why people with braces need those colored bands in the first place, read my previous article about why you have to have rubber bands on each tooth with braces.

The Available Colors of Bands on Braces

At my dental school, we use the 3M Unitek Alastik brand of braces bands.

This brand comes with a variety of colors which are pictured below:

Available Braces Colors

3M is a pretty popular brand among orthodontists.  If your orthodontist uses another brand and you want to know which colors are available for your braces, just ask.  Most orthodontists want to keep their patients happy and are willing to show you all of the available color options.

Read the article 60 Photos of Teenagers with Braces to see what people look like with different colors of braces.

Not Everyone Can Get Colored Braces

As I mentioned in my previous article about the colored bands on braces, there are a couple of different types of braces.  One type has a metal door that locks in the orthodontic wire, known as self-ligating braces, and the other type holds the wire in with a tiny, colored rubber band.

If you have the self-ligating variety of braces, you won’t be able to choose a color as the braces automatically hold in the wire.

What Do You Think of Colored Braces?

When I had my braces, I had the self-ligating type, so I never got to choose a color to spruce up the look of my braces.

Do you find colored braces distracting or do you like them?  If you have braces, what makes you decide what color to choose?  Leave your opinions below in the comments section!

Rubber Bands Brackets Braces

Louise, a reader from Pennsylvania recently wrote in to ask why you need to have rubber bands on each individual tooth with a bracket on it.  Here’s what she asked:

Rubber Bands on BracesWhy do some people have rubber bands around each individual piece of metal on each tooth when they have braces?  I thought that rubber bands were used to try to pull two or more teeth together, so it doesn’t really make sense to me that a rubber band would just be on one tooth since it can’t really provide any force that way to move teeth.

Louise’s question is a very good one!

First, let’s have a close look at just one of those brackets with the rubber band around it:

Pink Rubber Bands on Braces

The reason the young woman in this picture needs those rubber bands around each bracket is to hold the wire inside the bracket. There are a couple main types of brackets used for braces: Those that snap shut to hold the wire in, and those that need a rubber band to hold the wire in.  Some types of braces that require a rubber band to secure them to the wire use just one long rubber band that goes in figure-8’s around all of the teeth in an arch.

Either way, it is very important to hold the wire inside the bracket since the wire is what controls the movement of the teeth in most orthodontic cases.  Without it the wire would not be secured.  So, you see, the answer to Louise’s question is pretty straightforward.

Do you have any questions about braces or any other dental topic?  Just use the ask a question form and send it to me.  I will either respond via email or feature your question on Oral Answers!

As always, if you have any comments or questions about this article, you can leave a comment below!

Frenectomy in Children Necessary?
©Ocskay Bence/

Lisa, a reader from Idaho recently took her children to the dentist.  The dentist remarked that one of her children might need a frenectomy.  Unsure of exactly what a frenectomy was, Lisa opted to learn more about the procedure instead of subjecting her child to surgery.

What is a Frenectomy?

Lingual Frenum and Labial Frenum
©Alex Luengo/

A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth.  A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues.  There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal function and are candidates for frenectomies.  These frena are called the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth.

To the right, you can see a diagram of the mouth and the major frena that are present.

Lingual Frenum and Frenectomy

The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  Sometimes, the lingual frenum can run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.”  This is shown in the photo below:

Lingual Frenum (Courtesy of Enigma51 on Wikimedia Commons)
Note the prominent lingual frenum below the tongue that causes this person to be tongue-tied.

A restrictive lingual frenum is a common occurrence in young children.  Normally, children are able to accommodate well to a prominent lingual frenum and can surprisingly eat and speak normally.  If the attachment is extends all the way to the tip of the tongue, then a frenectomy may be the only choice to give the child normal tongue function.

A lingual frenectomy is a simple procedure and involves numbing the tongue with an anesthetic.  A small incision is then made which will free the tongue from the floor of the mouth.  The incision then will be sewn up to allow the tissue to heal.

Maxillary Labial Frenum and Frenectomy

The maxillary labial frenum attaches the upper lip to the gums just above the upper two front teeth.  If you move your tongue up between your upper lip and your teeth, you will feel this buy phentermine 37.5 thin band of muscle.

Maxillary Labial Frenum Courtesy of Dale Rosenbach on Wikipedia
A Prominent Maxillary Labial Frenum

A prominent maxillary labial frenum can cause a large gap to occur between the upper two front teeth.  This can be a concern for parents.  However, unless the frenum is causing a lot of pain on the upper lips and gums, immediate treatment is not necessary.  Treatment should be delayed until the upper permanent teeth have come in.  Many times, the replacement of the baby teeth with permanent teeth will naturally close the gap between the two front teeth.  If the gap doesn’t close, then it can be treated using braces, as is shown in the above photo.

If the teeth begin to drift apart again after braces have moved them together, then a maxillary labial frenectomy can be considered if it is determined to be the cause of the gap.  A maxillary labial frenectomy should not be attempted before the gap is closed, because scar tissue can form making it impossible to get rid of the space between the upper two front teeth.

Here is a photo of how a maxillary labial frenectomy looks on the patient that is pictured above:

Maxillary Labial Frenectomy.  Photo Courtesy of Dale Rosenbach.
This maxillary labial frenectomy was performed after the two front teeth had been brought together using braces.


In conclusion, I would recommend only getting a frenectomy when the frenum is obviously causing pain or impeding normal function.

A lingual frenectomy should be considered if a child is having trouble eating, swallowing, or speaking.

A maxillary labial frenectomy should be considered during the “baby teeth years” only if it is causing the child pain.  If the maxillary labial frenum is causing a gap between the upper two front teeth, then a frenectomy should be considered only after closing the gap with braces.  If a maxillary labial frenectomy is performed before the upper two front teeth are moved together, then the subsequent scar tissue could make it impossible to move the upper two front teeth together, leaving the child with a permanent gap between their two front teeth.

If you have any questions about frenectomies, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.