Orthodontics is the art of using special appliances to straighten and align the teeth and bite. Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment. In this method, arch wires are threaded through brackets that are bonded to the surface of the teeth. The arch wires act as a track, and guide each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available, including the more traditional metal braces, ceramic "tooth colored" braces, as well as clear plastic braces.
Metal braces, made of stainless steel or titanium, are known as “traditional braces” because the first orthodontic braces were made of metal. They still continue to be the most commonly-used type of braces today. Luckily, today’s braces are smaller, flatter and more comfortable than braces of the past.
Metal braces have three parts to them. The brackets are cemented directly to the surface of the teeth. An arch wire is placed in the brackets, linking them together. It is the arch wire that is adjusted to apply pressure to the teeth. Elastic ties are what hold the arch wire in the brackets. Fresh ones are placed each time a patient comes in for the arch wire to be adjusted. The elastic ties usually come in a variety of colors.
Braces are skillfully tightened and adjusted in order to shift teeth into a straightened position. Rubber bands or other appliances are used in conjunction with braces for a thorough adjustment of the entire mouth.
Not keen on the idea of how metal braces look? Advances in technology allow orthodontists to offer clear or tooth-colored braces made of ceramic or polycarbonate. It’s a much less noticeable alternative to the classic "metal mouth"!
Clear braces function just as traditional metal braces do. They also include brackets, archwires and elastic ties. The ties are generally clear or white. Clear braces are not to be confused with popular clear aligner systems like Invisalign. Those systems fit into the mouth like a mouth guard, slipping over the teeth, and they are removable. Clear braces are cemented into the mouth like metal braces are.
Clear aligners is a popular alignment system. Bracket and wire free, clear aligners are more comfortable and much less visible than traditional metal braces. After a consultation, you will receive a set of custom-designed removable aligners and instructions on how to wear the aligners and the amount of time to gradually shift the teeth and achieve a straighter smile. We use 2 systems in our office.
ClearCorrect is a popular alignment system. Bracket and wire free, ClearCorrect is more comfortable and much less visible than traditional metal braces. After a consultation, you will receive a set of custom-designed removable aligners to be worn in a particular order and for a set amount of time to gradually shift the teeth and achieve a straighter smile.
ClearCorrect provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces but is virtually invisible. Because the aligners are removable, they can be taken out for eating, drinking brushing and flossing. Upon completion of treatment, you will receive a retainer to maintain your new smile.
Invisalign is an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. It is a series of clear, custom-fit removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to the teeth to slowly straighten them. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces but is are virtually invisible. Because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
The Invisalign system begins in the dentist or orthodontist’s office with taking molds to design customized trays. Patients switch trays every two weeks to gradually shift the teeth. The system requires a visit to the office every six weeks so that treatment can be monitored. Once treatment is complete, a patient will likely be given a retainer to maintain the straight smile.
The cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case.
Call for a consultation and we will help you determine which system is best for you!