Achieve your dream smile with braces!

Efficient, predictable, and smaller than ever, braces are a tried and true method to achieve your dream smile! Braces consist of a system of brackets and wires that work together to apply gentle forces to the teeth in order to slowly and safely move them to the position Dr. Bates has planned. Brackets are bonded to your teeth with a composite resin (same material used for fillings) and are essentially a handle on your tooth. Dr. Bates then uses various wire sizes, shapes, and bends to precisely craft your perfect smile! 

While the technology behind braces has advanced considerably in recent years, braces are ultimately still just another tool an orthodontist uses to move teeth. A beautifully designed smile is MUCH more than simply straight teeth. It is the product of a highly skilled orthodontist aligning your teeth in the most esthetic and functional position for each individual patient according to their overall facial esthetics.

Types of Braces

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces are made of a high-grade stainless steel. These are the most recognizable symbol of orthodontic treatment! Metal brackets are resilient, low-profile, and have low friction. Kids, teens, and adults all love choosing different colors to go on their braces between visits.

Dr. Bates tends to prefer the resilience and durability of traditional metal braces for our child and teen patients who want braces instead of clear aligners.


Traditional Clear Braces

Clear braces are made of a high-quality ceramic material. These brackets, when paired with clear or neutral colored elastic ligatures (the “colors” that hold the wire in the bracket), are less visible on your teeth than metal braces. Your wires will still be metal, and we often pair clear upper braces with metal lower braces, however clear braces are an esthetic alternative that many of our adult patients tend to prefer.

The ceramic material that clear braces are made of is highly resistant to staining. It is possible for the composite adhesive that we use to bond the brackets to your teeth to stain over time, however this is no different than if you had metal braces. If you maintain good oral hygiene and routine follow-up care, you shouldn’t have to worry about giving up your morning cup of coffee however.

Clear braces work in the exact same way as metal braces, they are simply another option that you have for achieving your dream smile.

Clear braces do not cost more than metal braces at our office! We want you to be free to choose whatever treatment modality best fits your lifestyle and for cost to not be a barrier to that.


Custom Braces

Dr. Bates is proud to have been the first provider in the Lynchburg area to offer fully-customized, digitally-planned, 3D-printed clear LightForce brackets. Unlike traditional braces which are customized to each individual patient by a variety of different bracket positions/re-positions and wire bends, for custom LightForce braces Dr. Bates perfectly plans the position of each individual bracket on a computer. This decreases the amount of wire adjustments necessary towards the end of your treatment which can lead to faster treatment times.

The process of placing your custom braces is slightly different than when we attach traditional braces. Instead of placing your brackets one-by-one, we will place them with a bonding jig that translates the position that Dr. Bates has digitally-planned to the actual position that the brackets are placed on your teeth!

Custom LightForce braces are a great option for adult patients who are wanting to touch up their smile without the look of metal braces and responsibility of clear aligners.

Braces FAQs

How long will my treatment with braces take?

The length of your treatment is dependent upon the complexity of your individualized treatment plan. Rest assured that treatment efficiency is a high priority for Dr. Bates. The average length of treatment with braces in our office is 20-22 months.

Are braces painful?

Technology has greatly improved the comfort of braces. While some discomfort (soreness, similar to that day after a good workout feeling) is to be expected during orthodontic treatment, our advanced bracket systems and specialized wires will keep forces light and minimize this discomfort significantly.

How often will I need to be seen for my braces to be adjusted?

The frequency of adjustments varies, but typically Dr. Bates will want to see you at 6-8 week intervals. At the beginning of treatment this interval may be as long as 10 weeks due to our use of specialized nickel-titanium wires that will remain active for longer periods.

Is the process of putting the braces on uncomfortable?

No! We will make sure that you are fully aware of everything that goes into putting the braces on. There are no needles or pain involved. Generally, this visit takes about an hour. First, we polish your teeth similar to when you go to your dentist. Then, we prepare each tooth for the bracket adhesive (composite resin) and stick the brackets on each tooth for Dr. Bates to position. No more bands placed around your teeth, just a simple bracket to stick on! After the brackets are on, we insert your wires and put on your color ties. Lastly, you’ll get all the instructions you need to clean your teeth around the brackets and avoid any issues!

Will it hurt to have my braces removed at the end of treatment?

Nope! We simply pop the brackets off with a special tool and then we polish the adhesive off so your teeth will feel nice and smooth. Dr. Bates will then do any necessary re-shaping to really make that beautiful new smile shine!

Am I too old for braces?

Never! We estimate that ~40% of our patients are adults. Dr. Bates has treated adults of all ages (including many in the 70-80 year old age range). Braces are a great choice for adult patients that don’t want to keep up with clear aligners but still want to transform their smile. Many of our adult patients that desire braces end up choosing to go with our clear braces option.

How much do braces cost?

The cost of your orthodontic treatment is dependent upon many factors that are specific to each individual case, such as complexity and duration of treatment. At our office, there is no up-charge for selecting clear braces or clear aligners. We believe in transparency and will make sure you are fully informed and are able to find a solution that fits your budget and lifestyle!

Do I need to continue to see my dentist while wearing braces?

YES! We ask that you continue to see your dentist for your routine cleaning and examination throughout your orthodontic treatment. Your hygienist will be able to clean around your braces and oftentimes will be able to clean areas that you may be missing. It is important that you continue to see your regular dentist at least every 6 months.

How do I clean around the braces?

We will make sure that you have the tools, recommendations, and knowledge to clean those teeth well! Cleaning around braces certainly takes more diligence and focus but is VERY important. We recommend regular brushing and flossing, at least twice a day, but adjunctive tools such as interproximal brushes (“Christmas tree brushes”) and water flossers can also be helpful. If plaque and food is left around your braces for an extended period it can lead to permanent scarring of your teeth so maintaining good oral hygiene is of the utmost importance!

Can I still play sports or an instrument while wearing braces?

Of course! We recommend that a mouthguard, specialized for braces, be worn while playing any contact sports. We are happy to provide you with a basic braces mouthguard at your initial appointment and make recommendations for any other available options.

Depending on the instrument, musicians will experience a brief period of adaptation to their braces which may affect their music. For most patients this does not prove to be problematic, however for those that would prefer to avoid this, we recommend clear aligners be considered.

Are there any foods I should avoid while wearing braces?

There sure are! At your initial visit we will give you all the instructions you need, including a list of foods to avoid. Generally, anything that is hard, crunchy, or sticky should be avoided (i.e. caramel, nuts, popcorn, ice, candies, etc.) Another good rule of thumb is that if it cannot be cut with the side of a fork, it should be avoided.