Braces for a Smiling Face
For the vast majority of orthodontic patients, wearing fixed appliances, or braces, will be a major part of treatment. While the traditional, silvery-metal kind are still quite popular, they’re no longer the only game in town! Let’s have a look at some of the options available in orthodontic appliances.
Fixed or Removable Braces
First, we should distinguish between fixed and removable appliances. Fixed appliances, like braces, are attached to the teeth by metal bands or special cement. They aren’t normally taken off until treatment is complete. Removable appliances, such as clear aligners, are typically worn some 22 hours per day, but may be easily taken off as needed. While clear aligners can be effective in treating mild to moderate orthodontic problems, fixed appliances are generally needed for more comprehensive treatment.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are typically made of high-grade stainless steel and remain, by far, the most common type of fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of metal bands that wrap around the molars in the back, and smaller metal brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. A thin, springy metal wire, running through the brackets, gently guides the teeth into a proper position. This archwire may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or other types of clasps.
There are many reasons why time-tested metal braces remain popular. They offer a reliable, effective, and economical treatment option. In contrast to the appliances of the past, today’s braces are actually smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to wear. If you want a less traditional look, you can choose colorful elastics for the brackets, or other modifications.
Clear ceramic braces are a new variation on traditional braces that provides a far less noticeable option They use the same components as traditional braces — except that the brackets on the front side of the teeth are made of a translucent ceramic material that blends in with the tooth’s natural color. This system has become a favorite for adults (including some well-known celebrities) because, unless you look closely, it’s hard to notice they’re there.
Several types of ceramic braces are currently available, and the technology is constantly improving. Their aesthetic appeal is undeniable, but there are a few tradeoffs. The ceramic brackets can be less durable than their metal counterparts. And, while the brackets themselves don’t stain, the elastic bands that attach them to the archwire do (however, these are generally changed each month.) Ceramic braces also cost more than metal — but for many people, the benefit of having an inconspicuous appliance outweighs the costs.
About AC Pediatric Dentistry
We understand that going to the dentist can be overwhelming and scary. That’s why we strive to make the experience pleasant, easy, and fun for your child. We aim to create lifelong, healthy dental habits through education and positive experiences in the dentist’s chair.