Thanks to today’s technology, patients now have more options when it comes to wearing braces. While regular metal braces are still widely used, clear braces are becoming increasingly popular along with removable appliances that can be used for mild cases of misaligned teeth.
Please review the information below to learn more about the types of braces we offer at our office and speak with your orthodontist to determine which appliance is right for you.
Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive.
Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients, due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawback to ceramic brackets is that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.
Self ligating braces itilize (sliding-door) technology known as self ligtion that allow the wires to slide back and forth within the bracket. No elastic or steel ties are used with self ligating brackets. This technology creates less friction and results in greater comfort for the patient. In addition, self ligating braces often reduce both treatment time and the number of adjustments that are usually performed.
Clarity™ braces feature a comfortable design with a translucent appearance. Made from a hard ceramic material, these braces won’t stain or discolor. With the same performance as metal braces, many patients are now choosing the clear option – Clarity!
The Invisalign System is a series of clear overlay templates called aligners that have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. This system is available to adult patients with certain orthodontic bite problems. Ask us if you are a candidate for the Invisalign system.
Red, White and Blue
If all you need is a little cosmetic improvement for a great smile and you’d prefer not to have braces, the nearly invisible Red, White and Blue no-braces system may be the treatment for you.
It is similar to the Invisalign system in that a series of clear, customized aligners are designed for you. You will wear each appliance approximately 2-4 weeks in the easy-to-remember Red, White and Blue sequence. The final appliance is designed with all the corrections and can be worn as a long-term retainer.
Lingual Braces (invisible?)
There is no such thing as invisible braces; certainly orthodontists have to see them to place them, adjust them and remove them, but there are indeed less noticeable types of appliances, which could be more ideal for specific reasons. Most young children are proud of their brightly colored fashion statement and would really be disappointed not to have braces that “really rock”.
High schools girls thinking of this years prom or annual pictures are not high on flashing neon and may be satisfied with clear ceramic brackets on the upper teeth that do blend in nicely with tooth color. Same true for many adults, but there are always pros and cons for each decision an informed patient must make before deciding on designer braces. You need to separate scientific fact from the media hype psychologically crafted to get you to desire their product. People highly motivated for the ultimate esthetic experience in orthodontic treatment will naturally be interested in alternatives; however, gene splicing for straight teeth awaits the future
The two more popular alternative approaches to conventional labial treatment that successfully treat many situations are the highly competitive clear tray tooth aligner systems, Invisalign being the best known and “adopted” generic name for other high quality systems. There are valid reasons why appropriate selection rather than brand name makes sense (needing fewer trays, type of tooth movement needed and overall cost). The main message about clear aligners is that they have a definite place in orthodontic treatment, but there will always be a need for fixed (metal preferred) appliances that deliver the “watch maker” precision and accuracy orthodontist expect.
The second approach that has really made a comeback since its rapid decline in the 90’s is lingual (in back of teeth) orthodontics, mainly because the difficulties and limitations of the 1980’s version have been overcome by sophisticated 3D computer design imaging, exotic memory wire and robotic precision for appliance fabrication. My responsibility is to know my profession’s capabilities, its strengths and weaknesses and to hopefully discern my patient’s ability to succeed with their treatment plan. There is no “magic appliance” or problem free mechanical device of any kind used in the mouth.
At present there are 5 major companies supplying the lingual orthodontic market with customization designs and fabrication, which makes for interesting decision comparisons and the admission that there is a learning curve with any new technology. Fortunately, the principles of tooth movement remain the same.
The take home message for lingual is that it has improved considerably, still somewhat more difficult to get comfortable- normally two weeks and naturally more expensive. So the bottom line is that there are informed choices, each one having advantages and disadvantages, but the main thing to always remember is that regardless of technique or how excellent your result; your teeth will not stay aligned as arranged unless properly retained in the years ahead.
Lifetime retention for adults and close monitoring for children is a patient responsibility that preserves the natural beauty orthodontic treatment brings to dentistry.
Orthodontics really has plenty to offer you to keep you and your teeth looking good for life