Braces are the appliances used to correct misaligned or crooked teeth. Braces can be metal or ceramic brackets. Wires run through them and are held in place by tying an elastic band around the bracket.
The purpose of gluing these brackets on the teeth is to intrude, extrude, and move the teeth inward or outward while in the patient’s mouth.
If you haven't been around braces since your own childhood, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn about all the changes, advancements, and options that are now available.
Traditional Metal Braces
For many people, metal braces are the first thing that pops to mind when you think of teeth straightening. In a nutshell, metal braces consist of metal brackets fastened to your teeth and connected by wires. After the orthodontist puts on the braces, you return periodically to have them tightened. This is the mechanism that moves your teeth into the right place.
In most cases, the orthodontist also puts rubber bands on your braces, and those help with the process. Kids and teens tend to like to have a bit of fun with their rubber bands. They often choose their favorite colors or display school pride with their options.
Favored by adults and teens who want a less noticeable alternative to metal, ceramic braces work almost exactly like traditional braces. In short, they feature ceramic brackets that are tooth colored and attached to wires. If you need rubber bands, you can echo the discreet style by choosing tooth colored rubber bands as well.
Another discreet option, Invisalign clear aligners are actually clear retainers. Sometimes called invisible braces, these retainers fit into your mouth and reposition your teeth. For best results, you need to wear your Invisalign trays as much as possible. Most orthodontists suggest wearing them at least 22 hours per day, but you can take them out to eat and keep them clean during the day. Sometimes to achieve proper movements the orthodontist may need to place resin buttons on the facial surface of the teeth that the aligners will latch on to. The Invisalign retainers are sent to the orthodontist’s office each month and will be placed in the patient’s mouth to continue to gradual tooth movement.
With all the new innovations, the Invisalign company offers a digital impression taking technique that may or may not work for all Invisalign patients but if it does, it can literally eliminate the physical impression and mold making for the retainers.
Additional Orthodontic Solutions
In a lot of cases, you need more than just braces to straighten your teeth. Orthodontic care involves a lot of elements. For example, if the orthodontists believe that your teeth are crowding, they may opt to remove wisdom teeth or even some of the bicuspids (premolars) to make more room.
Your orthodontic care may also involve several stages. In particular, many patients start with braces, but once those are removed, they get a retainer. That can be a permanent retainer, which is a small metal bar that's cemented in behind the teeth, or a removable retainer, similar in appearance to Invisalign aligners.
Supplemental Dental Care
In other cases, you may decide to pair your orthodontic care with cosmetic procedures. This can include reshaping some teeth, adding veneers, or even teeth whitening. Of course, it's also important to keep up with general dental care while you have braces.
Ready to get started? Want to learn more? If you want orthodontic care in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, we can help. Contact Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry to set up an appointment today.