Types of Braces
There are many different types of orthodontic braces available. Each type, though made of varying components, realigns the teeth to enhance chewing, biting, and aesthetics. Available styles of orthodontic appliances allow the wearer a great amount of flexibility, control and convenience.
The two main types of braces available are removable and fixed devices. As the names suggest, removable devices can be moved into and out of the mouth at any time, while fixed devices are both applied and removed by the orthodontist. Though fixed dental braces are often used to correct severe alignment issues, removable devices are popular because they afford the wearer more control over their treatment.
Traditional Fixed Braces
Traditional braces are often more affordable and expedient than any other kind of braces – particularly in the case of a severe malocclusion (bad bite). During application of fixed braces, individual brackets are glued to each tooth on the arch and a thin wire connects the brackets. Traditional fixed braces work on the premise that consistent pressure is applied to the teeth. The appliances must modified by an orthodontist at routine appointments to continue exerting appropriate pressure.
There are several different types of brackets available, including metal, ceramic and clear. The metal brackets tend to be the least problematic structurally, but they are also the most visible. Ceramic brackets are equally effective and less visible, but they have a tendency to stain if not cared for properly. Clear brackets are the least visible, but generally cost more and are prone to damage.
The following treatment options are available for patients who choose fixed orthodontics:
Lingual braces are almost invisible, as they are bonded to the back of the teeth, but the initial affixation is slightly more complex. Lingual braces are comprised of special custom-made brackets, which are connected by a wire. Many wearers prefer the reduced aesthetic impact with these braces, but some report an initial impairment in speech.
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is designed to greatly impact aesthetics, as opposed to function. Instead of moving every tooth into alignment, this system focuses mainly on the teeth that are visible when smiling and speaking. Six Month Smiles utilizes small archwires and tooth-colored brackets to make the braces as unobtrusive as possible. Contrary to popular belief, more pressure is not added to move the teeth quickly. These cosmetic braces are popular, effective and can cost less than other technologically advanced systems.
Invisalign® Clear Braces
The Invisalign system is a series of removable aligning trays, which gradually reposition the teeth into the correct alignment. Generally, aligning trays are worn for two weeks before they are discarded for trays which fit the new positioning of the teeth. Invisalign trays can be easily removed for eating and social functions, but must be worn as much as possible for expedient results. Invisalign is a convenient type of orthodontics, but requires commitment from the wearer.
Clear, removable braces are generally recommended for minor to moderate alignment problems. Other popular brands of removable orthodontics include ClearCorrect and MTM® Clear Aligner.
If you have questions or concerns about any type of braces, please contact your dental care provider.