Information About Braces
Introduction to Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontists recommend that children have an orthodontic screening appointment by seven years of age. By age seven, a number of dental and esthetic problems can be identified. Early detection of an alignment or bite problem provides the greatest number of treatment options. Current research has indicated that some problems are best treated early, others are more efficiently treated during the pubertal growth spurt, while others should be treated after growth is complete. Orthodontic specialists are trained to diagnose problems and determine the optimal course of treatment.
More and more adults are undergoing orthodontics to improve the look of their smile or to improve their bite. Although orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, adult treatment does not have the opportunity to benefit from growth. Adult orthodontic treatment also requires that additional attention be paid to the health of the patient’s bone and gum tissues supporting the teeth. Often it is necessary to work in conjunction with a periodontist (gum specialist) during adult orthodontic treatment.
Types of Braces
Invisalign® is a series of clear plastic aligners custom made to move teeth. Each set of aligners is worn for 22 hours a day for two weeks before proceeding on to the next set. The number of aligners required is determined by the complexity of the case. Aligners are the least visible of all orthodontic appliances and have the advantage of being removable.
Metal braces are made of stainless steel and are the most common braces used to align teeth. Steel ties or colored elastics are used to hold the wire in place.
Clear braces are made of ceramic or plastic and have the advantage of being more esthetic than metal braces. Like metal braces, steel ties or clear elastics are used to hold the wires in place.
Lingual braces are 100% customizable braces that glue onto the inside of the teeth. They are a great alternative for people who want “invisible” braces but who have teeth that are too complicated to straighten with Invisalign®.
Self Ligating Braces
Self-ligating braces are braces that have a built-in clip to hold the wire in place. The clip makes this type of bracket easier to clean.
Functional appliance are used by themselves or with braces to modify a patient’s growth pattern. There are various types of functional appliances that are worn for varying lengths of time depending upon a number of factors.
Temporary Anchor Devices
Temporary Anchorage Devices are additional devices used in specific situations to make complex tooth movements more predictable.
Braces are a commitment but they rarely interrupt a person’s life to a significant degree. Most esthetic concerns can be addressed through the use of clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign®.
Sometimes your orthodontist may recommend surgery to reposition one or both jawbones in addition to orthodontic treatment. Surgically repositioning jawbones is usually recommended in situations where the esthetic outcome and/or health of the supporting structures will be compromised if the problems are treated with just braces alone.