Have you been diagnosed with an orthodontic problem? If so, it's time to pick your treatment method, and you want to make sure you are picking the best possible option. Here, our Antigonish dentists share some key facts about common orthodontic products and services.
What are some popular orthodontic products?
The best orthodontic treatment product or option for you will probably be determined by the type of orthodontic problem you have and its complexity or severity, as well as other elements. You will probably also have to consider the costs. These are only a few orthodontic treatment options recommended by dentists and orthodontists that are generally used to help straighten patients' teeth. You and your orthodontist or dentist will need to make the decision regarding which one works for you.
Thanks to advances in orthodontic technology, traditional braces have received some upgrades in the past few decades to become more streamlined, lighter in structure and weight than in years past.
Made from high-quality stainless steel with metal brackets connected by a thin archwire and tiny elastics, braces apply pressure to your teeth to move them gradually into their prescribed positions. Braces can be used to fix a wide variety of simple and complex orthodontic issues, from misalignment to excess spacing, overcrowding, crooked teeth, and crossbite.
Braces are fixed, which means you can’t remove them to eat, drink, brush or floss. Though braces treatment will necessarily eliminate some foods from your diet (very hard or sticky foods, for instance), you won’t have to do the mental work of counting your hours of wear time during the day as you would with clear aligners (see below).
These braces function similarly to traditional braces. What makes them different is that the brackets are made out of tooth-coloured ceramic, giving them an almost transparent appearance.
This is a popular selection among adults that require orthodontic treatments but might not be clear aligners candidates. This type of braces is more low profile in appearance than traditional braces. However, you need to remember that the elastics could become discoloured, and you need to provide them with extra special attention when it comes to your brushing and flossing routine.
Clear & Removable Aligners
Clear aligners are a popular alternative to braces for adults who need orthodontic treatment but want an option that's more low-profile in appearance. Clear aligners are removable, which means that you can take them out to eat, drink, brush and floss. Many patients find they fit comfortably into their lifestyle and allow them to keep eating the foods they love.
However, you’ll need to wear them for 22 hours a day for them to work, so sticking with your custom treatment plan and remembering to track your daily wear time, meal times and any time your clear aligners will not be worn is critical.
You’ll also need to brush and floss your teeth every time you eat or drink anything other than water, before you put your braces back in, to prevent bacteria from getting trapped between your teeth and the aligners and causing tooth decay and cavities.
Retainers are custom-made and could be either removable or fixed devices. Most of the time this product is made from wires and clear plastic. They are often used as a way to make sure teeth stay straight following orthodontic treatments with clear aligners or braces. If you have a removable retainer, you should wear it all of the time in the beginning, except during the times you are brushing your teeth or eating.
Similar to braces, retainers also need to be cared for carefully and require maintenance in order to function the way they are supposed to and keep your teeth in their appropriate positions.
Commonly used for patients with overcrowded teeth, palatal expansion and tooth extraction are two common options.
Though tooth extraction was used more often in the past, today’s orthodontists will often recommend a palate expander, which is custom fit to your palate and applies pressure to the backs of your upper molars, gradually moving your teeth further apart.
Over time, this expands your palate, making it possible for other types of braces to be used to correct the position of misaligned teeth.
Orthodontists and dentists can now screen children as young as 7 years old to find out whether they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. If they are, there are various appliances that can be used for treatment, including a Forsus appliance.
A spring on the Forsus appliance attaches to braces to bring the upper or lower jaw into position. These have mostly replaced the use of headgear for braces and are commonly used to help correct stubborn overbites.