Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align teeth. Most commonly it involves the use of braces to move teeth into proper positioning. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a track, guiding each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to patients, including traditional metal braces, ceramic “tooth colored” braces, as well as clear plastic braces.
Damon Bracket — The Damon bracket uses a “sliding-door” technology called “self-litigation.” This new technology allows a wire to slide back and forth inside the bracket. This method requires no elastics, creates less friction and is therefore more comfortable for the patient than traditional braces. Damon brackets require fewer adjustments and a shorter treatment period.
Ceramic “Tooth Colored” Brackets — Ceramic braces are translucent brackets that blend in with your natural tooth color. They are used with patients who are concerned about the appearance of their smile as they are less metallic looking than traditional braces. Ceramic braces are designed to resist staining and discoloration over long periods of time.
Clear Braces — Clear Braces utilize brackets made of monocrystalline sapphire, which make the braces nearly see-through except for the thin arch wire. Next to the Invisalign system (below), clear braces are the closest thing to invisible braces.
Metal Braces — Metal Braces are the most economical and traditionally used braces. Metal braces are also ideal for those with more extensive realignment needed.
Orthodontic Retainers are appliances made from plastic and stainless steel to custom fit your mouth. They act as a guide to hold your teeth into place after braces are removed. The retainer holds your teeth in place so your surrounding gums and bone can adjust around them – allowing you to maintain your realigned smile. Although the time you must wear a retainer will vary, many orthodontists recommend retainers are worn into the early 20s until the bone in your jaw and mouth has stopped growing.
Short Term Braces
Short term braces are different than traditional braces. They use a different bracket shape and wire type to quickly align both the root and tooth to cut the treatment time essentially in half. Both steps of the process of straightening teeth are accomplished at the same time, instead of one at a time like with conventional braces.
Treatments usually last a few months versus traditional braces, which can require several years of treatment. Most cases can be easily corrected with short term braces, even extreme crowding. There also can be decreased pain and less time using a retainer when corrected with short term braces.
The Calabasas Dental Institute can help you decide if short term braces are the best option for you.
The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth, forcing them to shift. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but since the trays are made of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible. In addition, because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
The Invisalign System work begins by first creating a series of trays that will each move your teeth gradually until the end result is achieved. At the end of each two-week period, you will switch trays. Throughout the process, you will visit your dentist every six weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will likely wear a clear retainer to ensure your new smile stays in place.
As with all orthodontic appliances, the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. However, Invisalign is generally more expensive than traditional braces. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces. To learn more, visit the Invisalign website by clicking here.