So, you have been diagnosed with an orthodontic issue. Now, it's time to decide on your treatment options. Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment of both time and money. You may want to to make sure that you're using the treatment that works best for your smile. Here, our North York dentists describe commonly used devices and products.
What are some popular orthodontic products?
Which orthodontic treatment option or product will work best for you will likely be determined by the nature of your orthodontic issue, its severity or complexity, and other factors. Financial considerations are also an issue.
The following are only a few of the orthodontist-and dentist-recommended treatment options that are generally used to help straighten a patients' teeth. You and your dental health professional will need to make the decision about what treatment option is suitable to your smile's needs.
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, metal brackets are connected by a thin archwire and small elastics to apply pressure to teeth an 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 in place, meanings that you aren't able to remove them to floss and brush your teeth, eat or drink. While braces will eliminate some foods from your diet during your treatment (such as very hard or sticky foods), you won't have to do any of the mental work of counting the number of hours in your day that you have been wearing them like you do with clear aligners.
These braces work much like traditional braces. The difference is that the brackets are made out of tooth-coloured ceramic, making them appear to be transparent.
Ceramic braces can be a popular choice for orthodontic treatment for patients who may not be able to undergo clear aligner treatment but still value a lower profile appearance than traditional braces. Keep in mind though that the elastics can become discoloured, and will require extra special attention when brushing and flossing.
Clear & Removable Aligners
Clear aligners are a popular alternative to braces for adults who require orthodontic treatment but would like the option for a more low-profile appearance. Clear aligners are removable, meaning that you can take them out to eat, drink, brush and floss. Many patients find that they can fit clear aligners into their lifestyle and continue to eat the foods they love during treatment.
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.
A custom-made retainer may be either a fixed or removable device and is typically made of wires and clear plastic. They are mostly used to keep your teeth straight after treatment with braces or clear aligners. If yours is removable, it should be worn at all times at first, except when you are eating or brushing your teeth.
Like braces, retainers also require careful care and maintenance to work as they should and keep your teeth in place.
Commonly used for patients with overcrowded teeth, palatal expansion and tooth extraction are two common options.
While tooth extractions were used more often in the past, orthodontists today will often recommend palate expanders that are custom-fit to your palate and that apply 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.