How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

Braces are one of our most important treatments, and they’re built to correct smile troubles. At Rio Grande Orthodontics, we provide personalized care to help you get a beautiful, healthy smile. If you’re wondering, “How do I know if I need braces?” We’ve brought together the full guide to help you understand the signs and benefits of getting braces.

What Are Braces?

Braces are a time-tested treatment built to correct misaligned teeth and bites. They work by applying gentle, continuous pressure over time to move your teeth into their best spots. As you wear your braces, they’ll work hard day and night to create your new smile.

What Makes Your Braces Work

Your braces consist of several pieces that work together to align your teeth. Let’s dive into each of them:

Brackets: Small squares bonded to each tooth, usually made of metal or ceramic.

Archwire: A thin metal wire connecting all of the brackets together. It provides the pressure to move your teeth.

Bands: Metal rings placed around your back molars to add an extra anchor for the brackets and archwire.

O-rings: Small rubber bands that hold the archwire to the brackets. They come in a variety of colors!

Elastics: Rubber bands attached to hooks on the brackets that go across the top and bottom jaw to add extra pressure. 

These pieces work together to apply the gentle pressure needed to gradually move your smile into place. You’ll come back to Rio Grande Orthodontics for regular adjustments to keep your treatment on track.

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

Signs You Might Need Braces

There are a lot of signs that show you might need braces. At Rio Grande Orthodontics, our doctors work with you to spot these signs early and help you get timely orthodontic care.

Crooked Teeth

Crooked Teeth: If your teeth are crooked or twisted, braces can help align them. Crooked teeth can impact your smile and make cleaning difficult. This can lead to plaque buildup and even cavities. 

Bite Troubles

Overbite: An overbite is when the upper teeth overlap over the lower teeth. An overbite can cause wear on your lower teeth and lead to jaw pain.

Underbite: An underbite is when the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth. It can affect chewing and even speaking.

Crossbite: A crossbite is when some of the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth when biting down. A crossbite can lead to uneven wear on your teeth and jaw problems.

Open Bite: An open bite is when your upper and lower teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed. This causes difficulties in biting and speech issues.

Spacing in Teeth

Crowded Teeth: If there isn’t enough space in your mouth for all your teeth, they can become crowded and overlap. This can lead to difficulty in cleaning and increase the risk of dental decay and gum disease.

Gaps Between Teeth: Gaps or spaces between teeth can cause issues with biting and chewing. Braces can close the gaps, create a more even bite, and prevent food from becoming stuck.

Jaw Troubles

Jaw Discomfort: If you feel frequent jaw pain or clicking sounds, it might show a misalignment that braces can fix. Proper alignment can relieve pressure on the jaw joints.

Difficulty in Closing Mouth: Trouble closing your mouth can be a sign of underlying orthodontic issues. Braces can help align your teeth and jaws for a more comfortable bite.

Age Considerations

Braces aren’t just for children – they can help people of all ages. 


For children, watching for early signs of orthodontic issues can set them with a great smile for life. Early treatment guides jaw growth and corrects issues before they become more serious. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child come to see us by at least age 7 for an early assessment. 


Teenagers often experience more common orthodontic problems like overcrowding and misaligned teeth. The teenage years are a great time for braces as the jaw is still growing. With their growth spurts, their teeth work with braces to perfectly correct alignment.


Many adults who seek orthodontic treatment find braces a great option to tackle long-standing issues. Braces can help improve oral health and look at any age. With modern, discreet options like ceramic braces, orthodontic treatment is more appealing to adults than ever before. These options provide great results with less noticeable appliances.

Benefits of Getting Braces

Braces bring a ton of benefits beyond just straightening your teeth. An aligned smile makes it easier to clean and reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. Proper alignment allows for better brushing and flossing.

Plus, with a corrected bite, you’ll enjoy improved chewing and better speech. A better smile can increase confidence, make your jaw work better, and reduce oral risks.

Starting With Braces At Rio Grande Orthodontics

Knowing if you need braces means being able to recognize the signs of a smile in trouble. At Rio Grande Orthodontics, it’s our job to help you spot, plan, and treat your smile woes with braces and our other orthodontic treatments. If you think braces are right for you, come see us at our locations in Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Santa Fe (Cerrillos), Santa Fe (Harkle), Los Alamos, Edgewood, Espanola, Taos and Socorro today!