Braces are a common type of orthodontic device used to straighten or align teeth for patients suffering from malocclusion or other bite abnormalities. These devices apply continuous pressure to the teeth over the entire length of treatment. As the teeth gradually move to the desired, correctly aligned position, the patients' smiles become increasingly attractive.
Candidates for Braces
While braces were once considered a treatment specifically for older children and teenagers, today's braces can be effectively used to help patients of all ages achieve the appearance they desire. In fact, many orthodontic patients today are adults who are taking advantage of the advanced types of braces currently available. All children should have an orthodontic examination by the time they reach the age of seven to ensure optimal treatment results.
Types of Braces
Instead of only the traditional bands, patients who need braces now have a choice among several different types of appliances, many of which offer specific benefits, such as shorter treatment time, greater comfort and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Patients can choose tooth-colored brackets if they so desire.
Length of Treatment with Braces
The length of treatment needed varies for each individual patient but can range from a few months to a few years. Patients will likely be asked to visit their orthodontist every six to eight weeks so that the movement of the teeth can be monitored.
Care After Removal of Braces
Most patients will need to wear a retainer after braces are removed in order to maintain the new position of the teeth and to prevent further movement. The retainer should be worn at all times for the first six months and thereafter only during sleep. Once treatment is complete, patients can enjoy and be proud of their straight, beautiful smiles.
Braces are orthodontic devices used to straighten teeth and correct abnormal bites. For patients concerned with maintaining an attractive appearance while straightening their teeth, clear braces offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative. As more adults seek orthodontic treatment, clear braces have become increasingly popular, enabling patients to maintain a professional, mature image throughout the course of their treatment.
Made of a ceramic material designed to match the color of the teeth, clear braces provide comparable results to metal braces without the metal-colored wires and brackets. Clear braces allow patients to correct a crooked smile or bite problems while essentially camouflaging the equipment being used.
The same routine orthodontic care, regular dental care, and careful daily cleaning are necessary for clear braces as for metal ones. Patients with any type of braces should be prepared to wear retainers at night for a period of years in order to keep their teeth in the correct position permanently.
Wearing Invisible Braces
Patients who decide to wear clear braces are fitted with removable orthodontic aligners that the orthodontist adjusts as the teeth shift. No metal or wires are involved in the process. Normally, each set of aligners is worn for a period of approximately 2 weeks, during which time the teeth are moved gradually into their correct position. On average, the total treatment time takes between 6 and 18 months.
Benefits of Invisible Braces
Because clear braces are nearly invisible, there is a significant advantage to patients who wear them in that they retain an attractive professional appearance during treatment. This may be especially important to individuals who are required to make oral presentations or speeches. Other benefits of clear braces are that they:
- Are smooth and comfortable with no wires to snag soft tissue
- Enable patients to eat whatever they want
- Are removable for efficient cleaning
The fact that clear braces do not have wires or brackets to irritate the mouth is a significant advantage since it permits a much greater degree of comfort for the patient and prevents the development of small oral sores. The fact that clear braces are removable is also extremely beneficial because it means that the patient can remove the device for eating and clean both the teeth and the apparatus with a thoroughness not possible with metal braces. This helps to maintain dental health and prevent plaque build-up.
Disadvantages of Invisible Braces
While clear braces are normally a very successful alternative to metal braces, there are times when they don't work as well. Metal braces may be required when:
- The teeth are severely crooked
- There is a significant bite problem
- The teeth are of differing heights
- The teeth are severely rotated out of position
In such situations, traditional metal braces are likely to provide better results more quickly. Other disadvantages of clear braces are that the adhesive used with clear braces may stain if the patient smokes or drinks dark beverages and that clear braces are more costly than metal ones.