While people have been trying to straighten their teeth since ancient times, modern orthodontics dates back to the 18th century, when a pair of French dentists, Pierre Fauchard and Pierre Bourdet, wrote books about dentistry that included orthodontics. Another French dentist, Christophe-Francois Delabarre, developed the first modern braces in 1819.
In the 1970s, dentists began seeking ways to make braces less visible. They thus developed the first lingual braces, in which the brackets were bonded to the backs of the patient’s teeth. Invisalign® was developed in the 1990s. Orthodontists can thus now offer patients a range of choices in terms of orthodontic treatments.
Braces and aligners don’t just improve a patient’s appearance: they improve their dental health. Straight teeth are easier to clean than are crooked and crowded teeth. Consequently, brackets and wires (or clear aligners) help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
In addition, crooked teeth increase wear on the surfaces of other teeth, and they can put undue stress on the jaw and gums. Orthodontic treatment prevents such problems – and treating some jaw or gum problems can be significantly more expensive or difficult than getting braces.
Metal braces are the oldest type of teeth aligner. They are also the most common and the most popular, because they are effective, and they cost less than many of the alternatives. Modern metal braces are smaller and less noticeable than the original model. There are also now two types of metal braces: conventional and self-ligating or self-tying.
In conventional braces, the orthodontist needs to periodically adjust and tighten the brackets. Conventional aligners also need elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into their proper place. Self-ligating braces have a special mechanism on the brackets that perform the same function as the elastics. Consequently, the patient does not need to wear elastics, and they don’t need to visit the orthodontist as often to have their braces adjusted.
Self-ligating braces can be active, passive, or combination. In the active kind, the brackets have a clip that presses down on the thick archwire that shifts the teeth into their proper position. In the passive kind, the brackets have a slide that opens and closes. The archwire is also thinner. Combination braces usually have active brackets on the front teeth and passive brackets on the back teeth.
The Damon® System
The Damon® System, which is also sometimes called the Damon® Smile, includes light-force archwires and passive self-ligating brackets that produce little friction. That reduced friction allows the teeth to move more freely, which reduces the patient’s discomfort. It also reduces erosion of the teeth. The brackets are also smaller and thus provide fewer places for plaque or bacteria to accumulate.
Damon® System’s lower friction also enables the braces to work more quickly and can reduce treatment time by as much as seven months. The shorter treatment time also results in fewer dental appointments. In fact, patients using the Damon® System visit the orthodontist about half as often as do patients wearing conventional aligners.
Other advantages include the following:
- Reduced need for extractions or surgery
- Reduced need for other appliances like headgear
- Smaller and less visible brackets and wires
Ormco Self-Ligation Appliances
Ormco appliances have active-passive brackets. The orthodontist will select the combination that will get the desired results. They may use active brackets on the front teeth and passive brackets on the back teeth, or they may decide to use all passive brackets or all active brackets.
Clear braces have the same arrangement as metal braces in that they also have brackets, an archwire, and so forth. However, they are made of translucent plastic or ceramic, and the ties can be white or transparent.
3M Unitek Clarity ADVANCED™
3M Unitek Clarity ADVANCED™ are translucent ceramic brackets that blend in with the patient’s teeth. They are also stain-resistant, so the patient can drink things like wine or coffee without fear. The brackets are small with rounded corners to reduce rubbing and irritation.
The brackets can come pre-coated with APC™ Flash-Free Adhesive that will help the brackets bond more quickly with the teeth. 3M Unitek braces are not self-ligating, so the patient will need elastics, which come in about twenty colors or can be transparent.
In-Ovation® C has ceramic brackets with self-ligation and a novel interactive control technology that enables the dentist to select a precise amount of control needed for each stage of treatment. The ceramic brackets are colored to blend in with the patient’s teeth.
Each bracket has a special clip built into them that help the archwire guide the teeth into their correct positions. The clips eliminate the need for wires or elastic ties used in conventional braces. The clips thus reduce the discomfort and friction that traditional appliances can cause.
Patients using In-Ovation® Calso need to make fewer visits to the orthodontist, and those visits tend to be shorter.
Damon® Clear, as might be guessed, is part of the Damon® System. It differs from the wholly metal Damon® System braces in having transparent brackets. Those brackets, however, have the same slide mechanism as do Damon® System braces, so patients enjoy the same benefits, such as faster treatment time and less discomfort. The brackets also have rounded corners to keep the material from digging into any tissues.
As with the Damon® System, patients who get Damon® Clear can shave months off of their treatment time, and they need to make fewer visits to the orthodontist. Damon® Clear braces are also easier to clean than conventional braces.
Damon® Clear is sometimes described as offering the best of traditional braces and clear aligners to their patients. Damon® Clear is as powerful and effective as are standard metal teeth straighteners, but it is also very nearly as unobtrusive as are clear aligners.
Damon® Clear also reduces the risk of relapse. In many cases, patients who undergo orthodontic treatment find that their teeth slowly revert back to their original crooked and crowded state after their braces are taken off. That is less likely to happen with Damon® Clear.
Clear aligners are indeed transparent, which makes them popular with adults who want to straighten their teeth without having everyone see they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Unlike other types of orthodontics, clear aligners are also removable, so the patient may eat what they like, as they don’t have to worry about possibly damaging any wires or brackets. They will also have an easier time cleaning and flossing their teeth. Clear aligners are also more comfortable than braces. They are also a good choice for patients who have metal allergies.
The chief drawback of clear aligners is that they exert less pressure on teeth than do braces and thus don’t work well on more severe or complicated malocclusions. Compliance is another issue: Patients who don’t wear their aligners for the stated amount of time or otherwise don’t follow directions won’t see the desired results. Consequently, most aligners are made for adults.
Invisalign® is the best-known make of clear aligners. Like the others, it consists of a set of transparent, custom-made “trays” that fit snugly over the patient’s teeth. Made from a durable and smooth plastic, they work by gradually nudging the teeth into their proper places and alignments. While there are no wires or brackets to adjust, the patient will have to change aligners about every two weeks.
Invisalign® is an effective treatment for crowding, gaps, and crooked teeth. It is available to both teenagers and adults.
During the initial consultation, the dentist will explain the process and take 3D images of the patient’s teeth to determine how the patient would look after undergoing treatment. They will also make a mold of the patient’s teeth and send it to a dental lab to have the aligners custom-made.
The patient will typically wear their aligners for 22 hours every day; they can take them out while eating or cleaning their teeth. The patient should see the orthodontist about every six weeks, so the orthodontist can check their progress, make any needed adjustments, and give them new aligners.
Treatment time will vary depending on the original problem, but some patients need aligners for only twenty weeks. Most patients, however, will need to wear Invisalign® for about a year.
Red, White, and Blue
Red, White, and Blue aligners are designed to help adult patients with minor to moderate problems that can’t be treated with just a retainer. They are used to treat either the upper arch or lower arch, and they help correct the front teeth. They form a transparent sheath over the patient’s teeth, and they do not affect the patient’s speech.
The aligners get their name from the small colored dots used to help patients change aligners in the correct sequence: red to white to blue. The aligners come in sets of three. The patient will wear each aligner for two to four weeks. At the end of a “correction period,” the orthodontist will examine the patient’s teeth. If necessary, they will order another set of aligners.
Simpli5 clear aligners are designed for patients who have only minor imperfections. They also concentrate on the front teeth. The aligners are called “Simpli5,” because the patient will use five sets of aligners during treatment. If the orthodontist deems it necessary, they will have the patient use two more sets of aligners to fine-tune the results.
During treatment, the patient will change aligners every three or four weeks. The patient would wear the aligners all the time, except while eating or cleaning their teeth. A typical treatment takes around five months.
During the first consultation, the orthodontist will examine the patient to determine if Simpli5 would work for them. If they decide that Simpli5 would help the patient, they will take a mold of the patient’s teeth to have the aligners custom-made for them. It usually takes three or five weeks to have the first set of aligners made.
Clearguide™ is a new line of aligners made by Ormco. They are designed to correct mild to moderate orthodontic problems, and they can be used to treat one or both arches. Like Simpli5, they work on the front teeth. The orthodontist will take a mold by using a “Heat-n-Bite” set, and the aligners will be custom-made.
The patient will be given up to ten sets of aligners, and they will wear each set for two or three weeks.
Consider us here at Nasser Children & Adult Orthodontics if you are interested in straightening your teeth. We are conveniently located in Shreveport and Bossier City. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!