If you want to straighten your teeth but don't want to wear braces for the typical one to three years, short-term orthodontics can give you the smile you want in about six months – if it's compatible with your need. One option in short-term is High Speed Braces®, also called rapid orthodontics.
The "High Speed" approach is a trademarked term used by dentists who are licensed by the company to market this service. It uses self-ligating braces, which are different from traditional braces. Normally, dentists use three main components to move your teeth into their ideal position: The bracket, which is placed on each tooth; the archwire, which runs through each bracket and places pressure on the teeth; and a tie, usually made from elastic that connects the archwire to the bracket.
In contrast, according to 1-800-Dentist, self-ligating braces don't use ties. Instead, a permanently installed, movable component holds the archwire in place. Not using ties reduces the resistance of friction between the bracket and the wire, letting your teeth move more freely and using less applied force. The brackets are available in metal, cosmetic porcelain or lingual (placed on the back of the teeth).
Are Short-Term Braces for You?
If your goal is an enhanced smile, short-term orthodontics is an option, as long as your jaw and teeth are fully developed and do not require sweeping adjustments, states Dentistry Today. Short-term braces cannot give you the same results as traditional orthodontics if you have issues that affect your dental health, such as a misaligned jaw wherein teeth don't come together properly when you chew.
Rapid Braces vs. Veneers
For this reason, High Speed Braces® are primarily promoted as a cosmetic dentistry alternative to veneers. The braces use special nickel titanium archwires that only straighten the teeth that are seen when you smile, and not your bite or jaw alignment. Rapid braces are generally considered more conservative than porcelain veneers, cost much less than veneers and typically involve lower maintenance costs as long as you wear your retainers as recommended. However, finding a dentist who offers these braces can be difficult in some locations.
And as with other braces, attention to oral care is important to prevent food from becoming trapped between the brackets and your teeth, causing tooth decay. Start by brushing after meals with a toothpaste such as Colgate TotalSF Advanced Deep Clean Toothpaste to remain thorough despite the inhibitions of metal wiring. Continue flossing at least once a day to remove food from between teeth as as well. If you are unable to brush right after a meal, rinse your mouth with water. Your dentist may also provide other instructions for caring for your mouth depending on how your teeth look during those six months.