Once upon a time, people who needed braces had only one choice: the infamous “railroad tracks.” These days, people have more options. Here are some of the different types of braces that are available at Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
These are the braces most people think of when they hear the word “braces.” They have metal wires and brackets, although the brackets are smaller than they used to be. The archwires can now be heat-activated, and they use the body’s heat to move teeth less painfully and more quickly than in the old days. Traditional braces often come with colored rubber bands. Metal braces are still the most noticeable kind of braces, but they are also the least expensive. They are also the most effective for severe orthodontic problems.
These braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, but the brackets are clear or ivory to blend in with the patient’s teeth. Some models also come with tooth-colored wires that match the patient’s teeth. They are more expensive than metal braces, but they are much less noticeable. The patient has to be scrupulous about keeping them clean, for they will become stained otherwise. Ceramic braces are also less durable than metal braces which means they are more liable to break, chip or fracture. On the other hand, they are harder than tooth enamel and are thus not recommended for certain tooth biting patterns. Teeth that repeatedly rub or bite against the braces can become damaged.
Lingual braces are metal braces in which the brackets and wires are on the inside of the teeth. This has the advantage of hiding the braces from view, but lingual braces are not effective in treating severe cases of malocclusion or misalignment. They are also more expensive than traditional braces, harder to keep clean and harder for the orthodontist to adjust.
Invisalign is a series of clear, plastic removable aligners that look like mouthguards. The patient will wear one for two or three weeks and then replace it. The orthodontist makes impressions of the patient’s teeth and sends them to a lab that makes the aligners.
Since the aligners are removable, it is easier for the patient to clean their teeth. The patient can also eat what they like. Invisalign’s transparency means it has the advantage of being unnoticeable while being warn – but it is also easy to lose. Invisalign also has no wires or brackets that can get broken. The removability of the Invisalign does make it tempting for some patients to leave them off which will slow down their treatment. To be effective, Invisalign needs to be worn 20 to 22 hours every day and should be removed only when eating or brushing teeth.
At Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, we’ll work with you to determine the safest and most effective treatment plan for your needs. Doctor Scott Runnels will evaluate your teeth and recommend different braces options for you.