Braces are devices used in orthodontics to align and straighten teeth and help in positioning them with regard to a person’s bite. They can either be fixed or removable. These dental aligners can be fixed on the lower jaw, upper jaw or both jaws depending on the type of correction needed.
Dental aligners apply pressure on teeth thus moving them to the required direction in order to come up with the required alignment.
If you are considering dental aligners for your child or yourself, you have a wide range to choose from. There are clear varieties and even tooth–coloured ones, among others.
Here are the types available in orthodontists’ clinics:
- Metal or plastic –Stainless metal varieties are made for patients who do not react to metal, whereas plastic ones are suitable for patients who do.
- Ceramic type – These are also known as ceramic brackets. They are made of high-tech transparent or translucent materials and blend well with the natural colour of teeth. Such aligners also possess certain properties that make them resilient to discoloration, thus making them ideal for people who are conscious with their appearance.
- Sapphire brand – These aligners are made of monocrystalline sapphire. They are translucent and do not stain unless the stain is formed due to smoking. Apart from being strong, a patient’s teeth would blend well with such dental aligners. They are not easily noticeable, especially in cases where the patient has white teeth. Unfortunately, they are more expensive compared to other types.
- Gold type – These consist of gold arch wires. Most people use them for aesthetic appeal.
- Lingual aligners – These are placed at the back side of teeth. They are essentially metal types with wires, but not visible from the outer side.
- Invisible type – These types contain custom-made treatment trays put together in relation to a patient’s jaw structure, using a computer. Although, they are placed on the front side of teeth, they are un-noticeable. Moreover, such aligners do not stain, but they cause some discomfort at first. Invisalign is one example, which is ideal for patients with mild malocclusions.
- Traditional silver aligners – These are the most common type. They consist of the newest bracket design and functionality, which creates a specific and most effective movement of teeth. Based on a patient’s preference, they can be decorated using coloured patterns. Computer-generated templates can also be used to decorate the aligners.
According to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, it is important to have your teeth examined by a qualified orthodontist before application dental aligners. An x-ray of your teeth is usually done to check how they are aligned. The orthodontist will also ask about your dental history. After getting a clear view of the problem, the best remedy is settled upon.
The procedure of placing dental aligners is carried out after choosing the most appropriate type. These are then adjusted to enable your jaws to move correctly.
Retainers are worn after the treatment to avoid teeth relapse. This is because the gums and bones need some time to stabilize.