A dentist is showing a brace sample to the patient

What Are The Different Types Of Braces, and Which Is Right for Me?

Few people are lucky enough to have perfect teeth, but orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference to you or your child. Your orthodontist may recommend any of the following types of braces or dental appliances to correct your misaligned teeth.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces have progressed since the early days and are now lighter in weight and structure than they used to be. They are made from high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets attached to each tooth using a type of cement. The brackets link to each other with a thin archwire, which puts pressure on the teeth to cause them to move slowly into the correct position.

The archwires are connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time he tightens the braces. Some types of braces have brackets that don't need o-rings, and these are called self-ligating braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work in the same way as traditional braces, but the brackets are a clear, transparent ceramic material. The braces are less visible to others, making them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. Patients wearing these types of braces occasionally find that the elastics become discolored, which can sometimes cause discoloration or marks on your teeth.

Self-Litigating Braces

This type of braces is currently enjoying a wave of popularity with orthodontists because it provides gentler treatment and requires fewer dental visits. Self-litigating braces use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires.

These braces produce faster results because the teeth can move on their own without needing to be adjusted. This process causes less friction and pressure on the teeth, so movement is less painful. The braces are also easier to keep clean. Having to make fewer trips to your orthodontist means that the process costs less time and money, too.

Clear and Removable Aligners

Clear aligners are a type of orthodontic appliance that you can use instead of metal or self-litigating braces. This process involves a range of clear plastic aligners that resemble mouth guards, which are custom-made for you. They are removable for eating and cleaning, and you change them out for a newly made aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes the adjustment of your teeth one step further.

Clear aligners are also recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.

Forsus Appliances

Some children require the use of Forsus appliances to correct difficult overbites. These appliances have primarily replaced the use of headgear for braces. The Forsus appliance is a spring worn inside the cheeks that attaches to the braces to adjust the upper or lower jaw into position.

Palatal Expanders

For patients with overcrowded teeth, two options to remedy the problem are tooth extraction and palatal expansion. Tooth extraction was the preferred solution in the past, but modern orthodontists often recommend the wearing of a palatal expander for a period. A palatal expander is a device that fits your palate and applies pressure to the back of your upper molars to move your teeth farther apart gradually. This movement expands your palate and makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of your teeth.

With the proper care and application, any of these options could work to correct misaligned teeth. However, every mouth is different. So, talk to your orthodontist to discuss which option is the best fit for you or your child's smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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