Braces have a reputation for creating big metallic smiles. However, modern orthodontics has changed braces and in the process, expanded your choices for treatment methods.
Today, there are clear aligners that look like clear plastic trays and when worn over the teeth, not much else. Also, there are ceramic braces that do the work of the metal brackets of the past but are much harder for other people to spot when you smile. Some braces do all the work correcting your bite and aligning your teeth but without being seen at all, hidden behind your teeth on the tongue side.
Let’s take a closer look at the latest types of braces available and some of the benefits they provide for improving your smile.
Clear aligners are a series of clear plastic trays you wear over your teeth that move them into the appropriate position. These trays, designed by your doctor using proprietary software, are worn for two weeks at a time except when the patient eats, drinks, or is cleaning their teeth. After two weeks, you switch out the old tray to a new one that will move the teeth closer to the final position. At Bloom Orthodontics, we use Invisalign® Clear Aligner Therapy.
There are many benefits of clear aligners. The first one most people think of is the fact that clear aligner therapy is virtually undetectable to other people. When worn, the trays reveal the teeth underneath. Most people have no idea that you are wearing them at all.
Also, clear aligner therapy has other benefits, too. You have no diet restrictions for one. You can eat whatever you want. Remove the trays and eat what you usually would. However, it is imperative that you clean your teeth thoroughly before you replace the trays.
You can also clean your teeth easier than when you have other types of orthodontic treatment. You only remove the trays while you brush and floss and then replace when you are done; no special equipment necessary.
Other benefits of clear aligner therapy have to do with what you don’t have. For example, you don’t have to have wires or metal in your mouth that can cause discomfort. You also don’t have any interference with your speech.
Clear aligners are not appropriate for every case, however. They perform best for moderate to minor bite issues and esthetic cases rather than more complex orthodontic needs. Also, clear aligners are dependent upon patient compliance, meaning the patient must follow the treatment plan properly, so, it’s not always the best choice for younger patients. In addition, since the teeth are moving by plastic, it can take longer to achieve the final effect. Your doctor will advise you if clear aligners are recommended for your case when you have your consultation.
In some cases, traditional braces are best for treatment. However, it is no longer necessary to have metal brackets if you don’t want them. Ceramic braces resemble metal brackets in size and shape but are either tooth-colored or clear. The dentist affixes them to the front of the tooth, the same way metal braces are, and archwires help move the teeth into position.
Ceramic braces also have benefits. Like clear aligners, they are also hard to detect by other people. When combined with tooth-colored wires, ceramic braces are hard to detect, per Oral B.
Another benefit is that even though ceramic braces are less noticeable than traditional braces, they still move teeth faster than clear aligner therapy. Ceramic braces also do not require patient compliance, meaning that the doctor controls how and when the teeth shift.
Ceramic braces have other challenges, too. The only things to consider with ceramic braces are that they can stain if the patient does not clean them properly. They also might require a slightly higher investment than traditional braces.
Lingual is the clinical term for the tongue-side of the tooth. Lingual braces are modern orthodontics placed on the tongue-side of the tooth rather than the front. They move your teeth into place just like traditional braces do, but from behind the tooth and hidden from view.
The most apparent benefit of lingual braces is that no one can see them. They are undetectable in a way even clear aligners cannot achieve.
However, unlike clear aligners, the dentist manages the tooth movement and does not rely on patient compliance, which can lead to shorter timelines for treatment. Also, in systems like INBRACE, the product we use at Bloom Orthodontics, the Smartwire technology allows one wire to adjust your teeth for many months, meaning you don’t have to come into the office as often as you do with other orthodontic therapies. Plus, since the braces are a fixed appliance, you don’t have to worry about losing them.
Another significant benefit is that you can maintain your oral health more easily. You can brush and floss like you normally would with lingual braces. (With traditional braces, you need special tools to brush and floss.) Also, lingual braces don’t stain the teeth.
Lingual braces are not for everyone. INBRACE is only recommended for teenagers starting at age 15 and above. Plus, it isn’t appropriate for all cases, especially not complicated ones. Also, some patients experience more discomfort at first with lingual braces than they do other methods of treatment. Your doctor will advise you if lingual braces are an appropriate treatment method for your case.
In modern orthodontics, you have more choices than ever before to improve your smile. They all have excellent benefits and fewer drawbacks than the traditional metal option many of us think of when you say braces.
While every modern orthodontic technology is not appropriate for every case, your doctor will share your options at your consultation, so keep an open mind. It might be that you can have the smile you always wanted with far less noticeable and uncomfortable treatment than you expected.
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
“Types of Braces.” Oralb.com. Web. 25 June 2019. < https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/braces/types-of-braces