Dental braces (also known as orthodontic braces, or simply braces)
These are devices used in the dentistry that help align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite, while also working to improve dental health.
Braces can be either cosmetic or structural. Dental braces or orthodontic braces are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to help widen the palate or jaws and to otherwise assist in shaping the teeth and jaws. While they are mainly used on children and teenagers, adults are also big contributors to this type of market including people seen on television, such as actors, Tom Cruise, Katherine Heigl, and R&B singer Fantasia.
They are often used to correct under bites, as well as, malocclusions, overbites, cross bites, open bites, deep bites, crooked teeth, and various other flaws of the teeth and jaw.
- Why Get Braces?
Getting braces is a decision that is faced by most people at sometime in their life. While some are lucky enough to have straight teeth through genetics and luck, the rest of us will commit to modern orthodontics to get the smile we want. A good smile is important to many people along with the functionality of your teeth and bite. Your overall appearance can change too depending on the situation of your orthodontic needs. You can look at our before and after photo gallery to get an idea of facial improvements due to braces.
- How braces work?
The application of braces moves the teeth as a result of force and pressure on the teeth. There are four basic elements that are needed in order to help move the teeth. In the case of traditional metal or wire braces, one uses brackets, bonding material, arch wire, and ligature elastic, also called an “O-ring” to help align the teeth. The teeth move when the arch wire puts pressure on the brackets and teeth. Sometimes springs or rubber bands are used to put more force in a specific direction. Braces have constant pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Occasionally adults may need to wear headgear to keep certain teeth from moving. When braces put pressure on your teeth, the periodontal membrane stretches on one side and is compressed on the other. This movement needs to be done slowly otherwise the patient risks losing his or her teeth. This is why braces are commonly worn for approximately two and a half years and adjustments are only made every three or four weeks. This process loosens the tooth and then new bone grows in to support the tooth in its new position which is technically called bone remodeling. Bone remodeling is a biomechanical process responsible for making bones stronger in response to sustained load-bearing activity and weaker in the absence of carrying a load. A tooth will usually move about a millimeter per month during orthodontic movement, but there is high individual variability. Orthodontic mechanics can vary in efficiency, which partly explains the wide range of response to orthodontic treatment.
- Treatment time
Typical treatment time is from six months to six years, depending on the severity of the case, location, age, etc., although the average duration is 1 year and 4 months.
- Orthodontics for children
- Q. At what age should a child have an orthodontic examination?
- A. Age 7, unless you suspect a problem at an earlier age, because most facial asymmetries are likely to be apparent by that time. A timely screening will lead to extraordinary treatment benefits. For others, the principle benefit is peace of mind.
- Q. Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
- A. Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for the permanent teeth and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth. Also, early treatment may shorten treatment time, make treatment easier and in some cases less expensive. It may even provide advantages that are not available later.
- Q. Is orthodontic care expensive?
- A. Orthodontic therapy may eliminate the need for other medical and dental treatment. The physical and psychological benefits usually last a lifetime, which makes orthodontics one of the best investments in healthcare and quality of life.
- Q. What is the psychological impact of early treatment?
- A. Appearance has been related to popularity, social behaviors, self-expectation, personality style, and self-esteem. Orthodontic therapy may lessen the likelihood that a child will be picked on by other children. Treatment may reduce appearance-consciousness and the emotional scarring that can occur during critical developmental years. Also, as adolescents enter the sensitive teenage years, they become far less receptive to orthodontic therapy.
- Q. In addition to esthetic improvements, what are some other benefits of orthodontic therapy?
- A. Additional benefits may include better function, improved cleanability, more favorable wear patterns and greater longevity of natural teeth.
- Q. Why is the growth spurt at puberty so important in orthodontics?
- A. This is the time when much of the development of the face occurs. Treatment during this period allows the orthodontist to favorably influence the facial profile in a growing child. Once growth of the facial bones is complete, correction of skeletal discrepancies usually requires surgery.
- Q. If I'm not sure about the need for orthodontics, how should the patient he managed?
- A. If in doubt, refer. If you notice a problem and refer to a specialist, your legal and professional responsibilities are fulfilled. Also, an early referral can avoid more complex problems that may worsen with time.
- Q. What's the problem with waiting until the permanent teeth erupt to refer?
- A. The problem may be one of opportunities missed with respect to growth and development. While patients can be treated at any age, those with available growth may enjoy a substantial advantage. Timely treatment may prevent the need for jaw surgery, extraction of permanent teeth, or fracture of protruded incisors. Early treatment may also help the psychological development. Patients also benefit from guidance of tooth eruption.
- Orthodontics for Adults
- Q. At what age is a patient too old for orthodontics?
- A. Patients who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old for orthodontic therapy. Age is not a factor.
- Q. How can I tactfully approach an adult patient who could benefit from orthodontics?
- A. Ask the question: "Are you happy with the appearance of your teeth?" The ill be your guide to further answer will be your guide to further development of the conversation.
- Q. Why are adults seeking orthodontics in increasing numbers?
- A. Many adults are receiving orthodontic care that was not available to them as children. They realize that improving the health of their mouths and the attractiveness of their smiles and facial appearances can result in changes for the better in their personal, social, and professional lives. Technical advances have also had an impact on adult therapy.
- Q. What are some of those advances?
- A. Advanced technology has produced small tooth-colored brackets that are barely noticeable. Specially alloyed wires are more comfortable, can speed up treatment, and may decrease the number of necessary appointments. New retainers can be placed where they do not show. Also, advanced surgical techniques now allow treatment of many skeletal problems after growth is completed.
- Types of braces
- Modern orthodontists can offer many types and varieties of braces:
- Traditional braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with nickel titanium, and are the most widely used. These include conventional braces, which require ties to hold the archwire in place, and newer self-tying (or self-ligating) brackets. Self-ligating brackets may reduce friction between the wire and the slot of the bracket, which in turn might be of therapeutic benefit.
- "Clear" braces serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending in more with the natural color of the teeth or having a less conspicuous or hidden appearance. Typically, these brackets are made of ceramic or plastic materials and function in a similar manner to traditional metal brackets. Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are available to be used with these clear braces to help keep the appliances less conspicuous. Clear braces have a higher component of friction and tend to be more brittle than metal braces. This can make removing the appliances at the end of treatment more difficult and time consuming.
Lingual braces (Incognito Braces) are custom made fixed braces bonded to the back of the teeth making them invisible to other people. In lingual braces the brackets are cemented onto the backside of the teeth making them invisible while in standard braces the brackets are cemented onto the front side of the teeth. Hence, lingual braces are a cosmetic alternative to those who do not wish to have the unaesthetic metal look but wish to improve their smile.