Braces are a common way to fix a multitude of alignment and orthodontic issues. You can have your dream smile through braces, learn more about them below.
Traditional braces work on the same principle that was in use as far back as 400-300 BC! The process was refined and modernized in 1669 by a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard. Advancements in the science of dentistry and orthodontics continue. The braces of today are smaller, more comfortable, and less noticeable.
The principle that makes braces effective in straightening teeth is the use of tension to create force (yes, physics is involved, but no math for you). The doctor affixes tiny brackets to each tooth using dental bonding. A small wire, called the archwire, threads through each bracket. As the doctor tightens the archwire, the tension created by the wire produces the force necessary to pull your teeth into the proper position.
Each time the doctor adjusts the archwire, teeth shift gradually closer to perfect alignment. The archwire is clipped into each bracket and is held in place using tiny rubber bands, called elastics. With self-ligating brackets, the bracket is designed to securely hold the archwire in place and there is no need for elastics.
Traditional Metal Braces are the most common type of bracket and wire braces. The brackets are stainless steel and the wire is normally titanium. The size of the brackets is much smaller and more effective than in the past.
Brackets are often available with self-ligating clips to retain the archwire. This style bracket makes adjustments quicker and easier, but it takes away the fashion element.
Braces have become a fashion element with the addition of colored elastics. The taunts of, “metal mouth” have been replaced with, “What colors do you have this week?” You can show off school colors, cheer for your favorite sports team, or even match your prom outfit. Dress up traditional metal braces with colored elastics and make a statement.
Ceramic Braces are quickly becoming more popular than traditional metal braces. They are identical in form and function, but the brackets are clear. With clear brackets the natural coloration of your teeth shows through, making the brackets less noticeable.
Clear brackets are available with standard brackets and self-ligating brackets. Not every facility carries all the options, so ask your orthodontist what they work with. The addition of colored elastics makes the clear brackets null, but your favorite colors can pop.
Lingual braces work with brackets and wires, but each bracket is custom-made and fits the backs of your teeth. Because of the placement behind the teeth, lingual braces are almost completely invisible during normal conversation and activities.
Many orthodontists don’t offer lingual braces because they are difficult to put on and adjust. Many patients prefer the nearly invisible option of Invisalign®.
Some of the alignment problems braces can correct: