Few people are lucky enough to be born with perfectly straight teeth. Fortunately, orthodontic treatment is available that can make a huge difference in the life of you or your child. Dental braces are quite common – the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that about four million Americans are currently wearing braces. While dental braces used to be entirely metal, you will find many different types of braces today. If you’re considering braces for yourself or your child, you have many options, and your orthodontist will help you make the best choice for your scenario. Here’s an overview of your options:
The design of traditional braces has progressed over time; they’re now lighter in weight and structure and smaller than they used to be. These braces are made from a high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth using a type of cement. The brackets are linked to each other with a thin archwire, which puts pressure on the teeth, prompting them to gradually move into the correct position. The archwires are connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time he tightens the braces. Some orthodontists are using new heat-activated archwires which rely on your body heat to help teeth move more quickly and less painfully than in the past.
These work in the same way as traditional braces. Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, except that they use clear, transparent ceramic material that blends in with the teeth. Some even use tooth-colored wires. The braces are less visible than others, which make them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. Patients wearing these types of braces occasionally find that the elastics become discolored, which can cause marks on the teeth. Your orthodontist might recommend the use of a product such as a fluoride rinse, which will help to provide fluoride to your teeth to protect them against cavities.
Damon braces are currently enjoying a wave of popularity with orthodontists, because they provide gentler treatment and require fewer dental visits. Damon braces are self-ligating and use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires. What differentiates traditional braces and Damon braces is the use of a slide mechanism to hold the wire, which allows teeth to move more freely, quickly and comfortably. These braces produce faster results because the teeth can move on their own without needing to be adjusted. This causes less friction and pressure on the teeth, so movement is less painful. Damon braces are also easier to keep clean.
These braces use the same metal brackets and wires used in traditional braces, but the brackets and wires are installed on the inside of your teeth to keep them hidden. However, they’re more difficult to clean, and are not considered appropriate for those with severe orthodontic issues. They can also be more uncomfortable for patients, and regular adjustments are more difficult and time consuming than what you see with traditional braces.
Invisalign is a type of clear aligner that you can use instead of metal or Damon braces. This involves a series of 18 to 30 custom-made for you clear plastic aligners that resemble mouth guards. They are easily removable for eating and cleaning, and are replaced with a newly made aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes the adjustment of your teeth one step further. Clear aligners are also recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.
Some Devices Used with Braces:
Some children require the use of Forsus appliances to correct difficult overbites, and these have largely replaced the use of headgear for braces. The Forsus appliance is a spring worn inside the cheeks that attaches to the braces in order to adjust the upper or lower jaw into position.
For patients who have overcrowded teeth, there are two options to remedy the problem: tooth extraction and palatal expansion. Tooth extraction was the preferred solution in the past, but modern orthodontists often recommend the wearing of a palatal expander for a period. This is a device that fits your palate and applies pressure to the back of your upper molars expanding your palate and gradually moves your teeth farther apart. This makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of your teeth.
Do you have any questions about braces? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-655-5000 or request an appointment online.