Typically made of high-grade stainless steel, traditional metal braces remain by far the most common type of fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of metal bands that wrap around the molars in back and smaller metal brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. Metal braces offer a reliable, effective and economical treatment option. In contrast to the appliances of the past, today’s braces are actually smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to the wearer. The movements are achieved through a gentle, continuous pressure provided by the arch wire. The arch wire runs through the brackets and gently guides the teeth into a proper position. The arch wire is held to the brackets by flexible elastics or metal ties. The flexible elastics come in a variety of colors and are changed monthly. The colors allow the patient to customize their smiles each month with different combinations and patterns.
Clear ceramic braces are a more aesthetic variation on the traditional system. They use the same components as traditional braces except that the brackets on the front side of the teeth are made of a translucent ceramic material that blends in with the tooth’s natural color. This system has become a favorite for our adult patients. Several types of ceramic braces are currently available and the technology is constantly improving. Their aesthetic appeal is undeniable, but there are a few tradeoffs. The ceramic brackets have a slightly larger profile, are less durable than their metal counterparts and although the brackets do not discolor, the ties that hold the arch wire do. The doctor and staff will review with you all limitations and benefits to choosing ceramic braces before the start of treatment.
Brushing and flossing with braces can be a challenge. When the braces are placed, we will review how to achieve proper home care with helpful brushing and flossing techniques. Samples of all of the necessary supplies will be provided to your child at each visit.
During the monthly adjustment appointments, we ask our patients to visit our Brushing Station to brush and floss without the wires in place. We hold our patients to a very high standard of home care and will monitor carefully for signs of plaque/tarter build up or decalcifications. With braces, we recommend one additional dental cleaning per year and a nightly fluoride rinse regiment.
The better the hygiene, the more efficient and comfortable your treatment will be!
The brackets, bands, wires and ligature ties all work together to gently align the teeth. It is important to follow all limitations and instructions to ensure a successful and timely treatment.
With braces, we recommend avoiding popcorn and all sticky and chewy foods, especially candies and bubble gum. To help avoid broken brackets or split wires, we will also review a better fashion in which to eat with braces; ie; cutting meat off the bone, corn off of the cob, having any hard foods in small bite size pieces etc.
During any contact activities, we highly recommend a “braces safe” mouth guard be worn. The mouth guard will help to protect the teeth, lips and cheeks from injury. We will provide you with a special mouth guard for braces.
Often times with braces there is a component of removable elastic wear to better coordinate the bite. The success of the elastic wear is based solely on patient compliance. The elastics should be thought of as part of the braces, and although removable, they should be attached at all times. The only acceptable time for the elastics to be disconnected is while eating and brushing.