What Is Hybrid Treatment, and is it Right for My Smile?

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When we treatment plan with patients, we often talk about braces or clear aligners. However, we sometimes discuss improving patient smiles with braces and clear aligners. This second option is called Hybrid Treatment, and here are a few things you should know about what it is to determine if this is something you want to ask about for your modern orthodontic treatment. 

What is Hybrid Treatment?

Hybrid treatment uses both a fixed orthodontic appliance and a removable appliance simultaneously to move teeth into the proper position. This approach to moving teeth can be an efficient treatment alternative to using all fixed or removable appliances. 

Both types of appliances, fixed and removable, have things they are good at and things they are not. Hybrid therapy allows you to leverage the benefits of each at the same time. 

Fixed appliances are orthodontic treatments that patients cannot remove themselves, like braces, bands, and archwires. 

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These treatments are excellent for rotating teeth, vertical corrections, or large movements needed in the bone. However, they are not as good at the small, detailed movements as removable orthodontic appliances.

Removable appliances are orthodontic treatments the patient can take out themselves, like clear aligner trays. 

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These treatments are popular because they are almost invisible to other people. In addition, removable appliances are very good at small movements like minor crowding in the front and final details of orthodontic treatment. However, removable appliances are not great at more aggressive tooth moves and take longer to achieve them based on the plastic’s limitations. 

A Hybrid Treatment takes advantage of the heft that fixed appliances lend to more significant movements and the finesse that clear aligners bring to smaller moves at one go. The idea is to reduce the treatment time while consistently delivering the smile our patients want. Also, it provides a more esthetic treatment option for patients that want clear aligners but have a smile that needs a little more help on movement than the trays can handle. 

How Does Hybrid Treatment Work?

Usually, we treat each arch with the type of appliance that will work best. In many cases, that means we have clear aligners on the top teeth and traditional brackets and wires on the bottom teeth. Both appliances are in the mouth at the same time. However, once we get significant movements in the bottom teeth, we might also transition to clear aligners for the finishing touches on the bottom. 

There are a few great benefits of hybrid treatment that patients should consider:

  • Hybrid treatments are usually more efficient, so the treatment timeline is faster than using only one type of appliance would be
  • Home care is easier for the arch in clear aligners because you can remove the appliance before brushing and flossing.
  • There are fewer food restrictions for hybrid treatment plans than fully fixed appliance treatment, which means patients can enjoy the food they love without worrying about breaking something.
  • The brackets are often affixed to teeth in the back, making them less noticeable than a fully fixed-appliance treatment.
  • There is a reduced chance you experience a dental emergency since you will have fewer braces on your teeth for a shorter time.

Who is a Candidate for Hybrid Treatment?

Many details go into which cases are best for hybrid treatment versus all of one or the other type of appliance. We will talk about these options during the consultations and why you might be an excellent candidate for the treatment option or not. 

However, there are some commonalities for the best candidates for Hybrid Treatment. For example, patients with mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues could benefit. (Patients with severe bite issues and crowding or who need extractions will likely do better in fixed-appliance therapy on both arches, at least at first.) Also, patients that can accept the responsibility to wear the aligners as directed are excellent candidates.

Want to know if hybrid treatment is right for you? See us at our Long Beach location for a free consultation. We can determine which modern orthodontic treatment is best for you and give you a treatment plan that you can’t help but smile about.