Types of Braces
The Invisalign® System is a series of clear aligners made from medical grade plastic that are custom fabricated to gradually shift teeth into proper alignment. This orthodontic treatment system is available to teens and adults with certain orthodontic bite problems. Schedule an appointment to learn whether you are a candidate for Invisalign®. More about Invisalign®
Metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic treatment method. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and less noticeable.
Ceramic braces are constructed of clear material and their aesthetic appeal makes them particularly popular among adults. Their only drawback is that they aren’t as durable as metal brackets, and certain foods can stain the elastic ties. However, these ties are replaced at orthodontic appointments.
Types of Appliances
The completion of treatment with brackets and arch wires or Invisalign marks the beginning of the retention phase. This final treatment phase lasts for at least two years. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so don’t short-change this investment in your smile. Retainers must be removed before brushing, and they should be brushed before placing them back in your mouth.
Bonded to the upper molars, the Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic appliance that creates more space in the upper jaw. It often is used to provide a better relationship between the upper and lower jaw, or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
This appliance is used in children who are still growing. A child’s connective tissue between the left and right halves of the upper jaw is responsive to expansion. The expander widens the palate bit by bit each time the patient turns a screw in the center, using a special key we provide. The pressure created during this phase encourages bone growth between the right and left sides of the jaw, and ultimately results in increased width.
Separators/spacers are little elastics that fit tightly between teeth to create more room for bands to be placed around them later. Spacers can fall out once the space is created. You can tell whether they must be replaced by slipping some dental floss between the teeth. If the floss gets stuck, the spacer hasn’t made enough room and must be replaced prior to your banding appointment.
Elastics are an integral part of treatment and their success relies upon your willingness to wear them as directed. They apply additional forces to the braces to achieve the tooth movement necessary to create proper alignment and bite. Generally worn at all times except when eating and brushing your teeth, you should change your elastics at least once per day. They come in different sizes, and each size is used for a particular purpose.
It is important to wear elastics consistently to prevent treatment setbacks. If only one day is missed, it could cause your teeth to shift back to their original position!
Occasionally, as a 6-year molar erupts, it can get caught under the curve of the baby tooth in front of it. One way to correct this is by extracting the baby tooth it is caught under (and is causing damage to), then moving the 6-year molar back to its proper spot using an orthodontic appliance. Then, a holding appliance would be placed until the permanent premolar is ready to replace the baby tooth that was lost.
In some cases, we are able to use a Humphrey’s Appliance to both save the baby tooth, AND move the 6-year molar backward. Once the permanent tooth has been moved into its proper position using the Humphrey ‘s Appliance, the appliance can be removed. This eliminates the need for a holding appliance, because we did not have to extract the baby tooth.