Getting braces isn't as easy as just going to your dentist and having them stick the braces on your teeth. There are several steps that you have to go through so that your braces give you the right correction and are as comfortable as possible.
The first thing that your dentist is going to do is take a series of x-rays. They need to know what your teeth look like and what your jaw looks like. Without that information, they won't be able to figure out what kind of correction you are going to need to have or what kind of additions you are going to need to go with your braces, such as expanders or other similar things. Once your dentist has looked at your x-rays and evaluated them and created a plan, they are going to start with the more hands-on part of getting braces.
Your dentist will take molds of your teeth and jaws so that they can see where you are starting out. Generally, they are going to use alginate to make the mold, which will create a negative, and then pour something like plaster into that mold so that they have an accurate representation of your teeth. That model will let them do things like create expanders or other custom pieces for your braces. They may also periodically have you make new molds so that they can check the progress of your teeth.
Once all that is done, it's time to start the application. The most common application involves metal brackets that are adhered to your teeth using a special dental adhesive. Then the dentist will run a wire through the brackets, connecting them all. After the wire has been run through, the dentist will start rubberbanding the wire to the brackets. The rubber bands are very small and will hold the wire in place. Generally, the rubber bands are white or clear, but you can ask your dentist to put colored rubber bands on if you want.
You will generally have to go back every few weeks to check to make sure that your teeth are moving the way they should be, tighten the wires, or change out other parts of your braces. You will likely have some discomfort on those days, but your dentist can tell you what you can do to help with that pain.
Getting braces will give you that lovely smile you are looking for, but there is an entire process to getting to that point.