Dental braces correct all kinds of bite problems, position, and alignment of teeth, improving oral health, function, and aesthetics of the patient’s smile.
Traditional Dental Braces
Traditional braces have better quality, are comfortable, smaller, and are now lighter in weight than they used to be years ago. They are composed of high-quality stainless steel, which has been scientifically proven to be biocompatible and strong.
Traditional orthodontic appliances are mainly composed of 2 elements:
The bracket is attached to each tooth using a type of resin cement, and the archwire is the metallic thread that passes through all brackets. The archwires are connected to the brackets using elastic O-rings, which will be changed in every visit.
Advantages Traditional Dental Braces
There are many advantages to traditional braces to consider:
- Metal is very strong compared to other materials.
- Variety of colored elastic O-rings
- Faster results than other braces options
- Metal braces can treat the most complex cases.
- They are bonded to teeth and cannot be removed by the patient, making the treatment infallible.
Low- Visibility Braces
Low visibility braces are known as “ceramic braces”, these are made of porcelain or, in some cases, plastic. They are similar in size with metal braces, except that they have clear or tooth-colored brackets that blend in with your teeth much better than metal braces. They are less noticeable than metal braces. Ceramic braces are as efficient as metallic braces to straighten teeth, correct jaw alignment, and other orthodontic issues.
Advantages of Low- Visibility Braces
- Tooth-colored (Aesthetic)
- Don’t demineralize tooth enamel
- Easy to remove after treatment finishes
- They are bonded to teeth and cannot be removed by the patient, making the treatment infallible.
- More comfortable
- Resistant to food stains
Hidden or lingual braces have the same components as conventional braces, but they are fixed to the back (tongue side) of your teeth and are not easily seen. This feature makes them a preferred method of tooth alignment for those concerned about their appearance. Hidden braces use a flat design, which improves comfort. Thanks to hidden brace’s features, they are suitable for teenagers and adults.
With this type of orthodontic treatment, it is easy to achieve predictable results.
Advantages of Hidden Braces
- They are virtually invisible
- Increase self-esteem and aesthetics
- They are custom-fit to increase your comfort and maximize their efficiency
- Treatment with hidden braces is infallible; they remain on your teeth at all times
- Hidden braces can treat a variety of dental issues
Clear Braces / Clear Aligners
Nowadays, it is no longer necessary to give up esthetics while teeth are being aligned or corrected through orthodontics.
For working professionals, teens and persons who do not want to draw extra attention to their dental work in progress can have the option to use invisible orthodontic treatment. This treatment consists of custom-made tooth straightening removable trays that benefit from being “invisible” or “transparent.”
Advantages of Clear Braces / Clear Aligners
- Improved esthetics and self-esteem
- No dietary restrictions
- Improved oral hygiene
- High-quality results
- Shorter treatment times
- Teeth-grinding protection
When are Braces Required?
- Excessive Overbite
- Excessive Overjet
- Presence of diastema (spaces between teeth)
- Crooked teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
Procedure of Dental Braces and Aligners Treatment
First step: Diagnosis and treatment plan (for all types of braces)
On your first visit, the orthodontist will make a first visual examination of your mouth and will explain the different types of appliances with which he could treat you and the estimated treatment duration.
The first and fundamental step is to do a complete orthodontic study consisting of the necessary diagnostic tests with the help of diagnostic aids:
Panoramic X-rays will help analyze the presence of infection, cavities, dental roots position, and if you have your wisdom teeth or any missing teeth.
Lateral skull radiograph
With this radiograph, the Cephalometric study of each patient will be carried out. This study is the measurement of the relationship of the jaws, teeth, and craniofacial development.
Intra and Extraoral photographs
These records help diagnose any asymmetries, deviations, or inclinations of teeth.
With the complete photographic study, you can see the evolution of the orthodontic treatment.
Study models are necessary to measure teeth proportions calmly. They are important for analyzing the patient’s bite and correct it.
For obtaining study models, the patient will have to bite into an alginate material where the teeth will be marked as if it were an exact footprint. Then it is filled with dental plaster.
CT Scan (not always necessary)
This study is requested when there are doubts about some teeth. The orthodontist will recommend it when there are impacted or included canines and teeth in complicated positions that he will need to evaluate in 3D images.
CT scan also helps measure the bone’s thickness in case a dental implant is needed.
An orthodontic study is the previous step prior to the placement of the necessary equipment to correct the teeth’s position. The orthodontist will carry out a series of tests to analyze the patient’s bite and detect causes of possible occlusion problems.
Traditional and low visibility braces:
First step: Cleaning & Etching
The first step is cleaning the tooth surface with a brush with or without polishing paste, this surface will be etched with a special acid gel (orthophosphoric acid gel), and then this acid will be removed. Dental brackets will fall off if they are not placed in a clean surface.
The teeth sometimes seem clean, but they have a thin layer called dental plaque. Before placing braces, the dentist will entirely remove this layer.
The orthophosphoric acid gel does not damage the tooth, enamel, or dentin; it serves to create small retentions on the surface of the tooth to obtain an excellent adhesion at the time of bracket’s placement.
Second step: Adhesive placement
The second step consists of washing the remains of the gel from all of the teeth with plenty of water and then drying the surface. A unique adhesive for brackets is applied with a brush on this clean and etched surface and then dried with a little air.
Third step: Cementation
The third step is cementation, which is the most crucial step for the treatment to be successful. If a bracket is placed slightly out of place, the tooth will not be straight and aligned. If any remains of the composite are left, this could generate retention of bacterial plaque and food debris and cause inflammation in the gums. The dentist will place an ultraviolet light that makes the composite (cement) polymerize.
First step: Bite registry
After an exhaustive clinical and radiological study, the orthodontist will take impressions of the teeth and will send them to the dental laboratory. The dental laboratory is where the lingual braces will be manufactured, with a personalized design according to the patient. After having the braces ready, they will be sent to the dental office for placement.
Second step: Cementation
Hidden braces are fixed to the dental surface, just like traditional and low visibility braces. The orthodontist will cement these braces to the lingual or palatal side of the teeth and the archwires will be adjusted when needed.
Phase 1: Customization
Clear aligners are custom-made. It is necessary to take the impressions of the patient’s mouth using a 3D intraoral scanner. The virtual samples obtained will be sent to the dental laboratory. This 3D model simulates the necessary tooth movements to get an optimal result.
Phase 2: Start of the invisible orthodontic treatment
Dental aligners are manufactured following the orthodontist’s instructions. Aligners arrive at the dental office in approximately 8 to 10 days after fabrication.
The dentist will give the patient a set of trays and two more to change at home after two weeks.
At each dental check-up, the orthodontist will give the patient a new set of trays.
Phase 3: Refinement phase
At this stage, the orthodontist assesses the state of the mouth and the position of teeth.
Sometimes, the final result can be improved, and it is necessary to scan the oral cavity of the patient again and order new sets of trays.
The objective is to improve the aesthetics of the smile as much as possible.
Post-Operative Instructions For Dental Braces Treatment
- Brush your teeth regularly after each meal
- Floss once a day
- Use interdental brushes whenever it is possible to obtain good hygiene between the braces and under the wire.
- Rinse with mouthwash every day.
Post-Treatment Care For Dental Braces Treatment
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene
- Avoid eating hard foods and chewing sticky substances. Among the hard food to avoid are popsicles, caramel candies, popcorn, peanuts, peanut chocolate, gum, apples, pears, carrots, ice, etc.
- Sometimes wounds or small ulcers may appear at the beginning of treatment due to the friction of the orthodontic appliances with the internal tissues of the mouth (lips, cheeks, and tongue). These injuries usually disappear after a few days; wax can be placed on the bracket causing the injury.
- If you play sports, it is necessary to use a sports mouthguard.
- Visit your orthodontist regularly.
Do’s And Don’ts- Dental Braces Treatment
- Cut fruits and vegetables into bite-size pieces.
- Maintain a good oral hygiene
- Avoid sugary drinks and foods
- Ask for a protective mouthguard if you play sports.
- Chew ice or any hard object
- Eat or chew sticky, hard, and crunchy foods.
- Don’t forget to visit the orthodontist regularly, especially if a bracket becomes loose.
- Don’t bite your nails.
Myths About Dental Braces Treatment
Myth # 1: Orthodontic treatment only pursues aesthetic purposes
Truth: Orthodontic treatment not only improves the aesthetics of the mouth but also help align the teeth and correct problems such as crowding and poor chewing.
Myth #2: Orthodontic treatment takes too long
Truth: Treatment duration will depend on each patient’s needs. Some treatments last only a year and others that can last up to two or more.
Myth #3: Retainers are not necessary.
Truth: If the patient does not carry out the retention phase once the orthodontic treatment finishes, the teeth will likely move. It is essential to use the retainers that the orthodontist recommends to maintain the previously achieved results.
Myth #4: Only young patients can use orthodontic treatment
Truth: Although it is more common in children and young people, treatment can start at any age. In any case, you should visit the dentist regularly to detect problems at an early stage.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long will the treatment take with traditional, clear, and hidden braces?
On average, it takes about 24 months to complete orthodontic treatment with braces. Some patients require less time (12 months), and other patients require more than 24 months. Treatment duration will depend on patient’s age, patient’s compliance, and the severity of each case.
- How long will the treatment take with clear aligners?
The treatment with invisible aligners can take from 6 to 24 months, it depends on the severity of your particular case. This treatment is faster compared to traditional braces because the special software plans the movement of teeth in the most efficient path possible.
- Can teeth deteriorate with orthodontic appliances?
If you maintain an excellent oral hygiene during the treatment, the orthodontic treatment will not cause decay or stain the teeth.
- Can I wear braces if I am pregnant?
Yes, as long as the tissue that supports the teeth is healthy. Also, no anesthesia or antibiotic medication is required, so there is no risk for the baby. However, the orthodontist is the one who will determine whether or not you can use braces if pregnant, since due to hormonal changes, many women present gingivitis (gum disease).
The risk of gum disease is controlled with adequate oral hygiene, and regular visits to the orthodontist. If gum disease is controlled, braces can be worn without a problem. The specialist will provide you with all the guidelines.