Fixed appliances, or braces, as they’re commonly called, are a popular form of orthodontic treatment that have been used for years and continue to be used every day. Many people have them or know someone who do, but information like how they work, why they’re beneficial, and what types exist may not be widely understood. Reach Orthodontics offers several types of fixed appliances to our patients and knows that making a decision between the different types may be difficult.
What are they?
Fixed appliances (or braces) consist of small brackets that are attached onto the front surface of the teeth with a dental adhesive and connected with a thin wire that’s held in place with elastic loops. The wire is thin and flexible at first, and as treatment progresses, it becomes stiffer, effectively moving the teeth into the desired position. Depending on how severe the problem is, this treatment can last anywhere between six and 30 months.
Why are they good to have?
Braces are used for:
- Giving you straight teeth – having a straighter, nicer smile can help boost self confidence.
- Reducing the possibility of tooth decay and gum disease – when your teeth are too crowded or crooked, it makes brushing and flossing less effective, putting you at risk for all kinds of problems. Fixing crowding and spacing issues will resolve this.
- Stopping bone erosion – misaligned teeth may cause too much force to come down on certain teeth while eating, which can slowly erode the bone. With the teeth moved into the proper position, the right amount of pressure will be achieved.
- Improving speech – if your teeth are too far forward or backward in your mouth, you could develop a lisp or other speech problems. Having your teeth in alignment usually improves speech problems after completion of treatment.
- Preventing dental injuries – protruding front teeth can make you more likely to have dental trauma in an accident, and misaligned teeth can cause you to accidentally bite your cheek or tongue often. Getting your teeth put into the right place may help protect you from injury.
- Correcting jaw pain and disorders – chronic headaches, jaw popping, and pain can be signs that your joints are trying to make up for the misalignment in your teeth, which may be helped by treatment.
What types exist?
There are several types of fixed appliance braces. Some of them are:
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of fixed appliances. They’re made out of metal bands, brackets, and wire, and you can choose colorful elastics for the brackets to stand out. This type of treatment is reliable, effective, and economical, and nowadays, even more comfortable to wear than previous versions.
Ceramic braces are becoming a popular alternative to metal ones. This is because although they work the same as traditional braces, the brackets are made of clear ceramic material that blends in with the teeth, so they appear less conspicuous. They are more aesthetically pleasing than the metal version, however they can be less durable and cost more. They are usually recommended for upper teeth only.
Lingual braces are completely inconspicuous, as they’re made the same as metal braces, but are attached to the back side of the teeth so they’re hidden from view. They don’t work for every orthodontic problem, they’re much more expensive, and can prolong treatment because they take more time for the wearer to adjust to them, but they are a good fit for those looking for the no-braces look.
Braces are a proven, effective form of orthodontic treatment, and have multiple variations to fit each person’s wants and needs. Dr. Hatcher can provide guidance for treatment options for you and your family. To schedule a complimentary consultation with Reach Orthodontics, contact us at 256-772-0041.