So, your dentist is recommending orthodontic treatment – now you need to decide on the right treatment option for you. Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment of time and money. You want to make sure you’re using the right product. Here, we consider a few of your possible options.
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. These are just some orthodontist- and dentist-recommended orthodontic treatment options that are typically used to help straighten patients' teeth. You and your orthodontist or dentist will need to make the decision regarding which one works for you.
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 with metal brackets connected by a thin archwire and tiny elastics, braces apply pressure to your teeth to 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, which means you can’t remove them to eat, drink, brush or floss. Though braces treatment will necessarily eliminate some foods from your diet (very hard or sticky foods, for instance), you won’t have to do the mental work of counting your hours of wear time during the day as you would with clear aligners (see below).
Ceramic (Clear) Braces
These braces work much the same as traditional braces. The difference is that the brackets are made out of tooth-coloured ceramic, making them appear to be transparent.
A popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment but may not be candidates for clear aligners, these braces are lower profile in 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 need orthodontic treatment but want an option more low-profile in appearance. Clear aligners are removable, which means that you can take them out to eat, drink, brush and floss. Many patients find they fit comfortably into their lifestyle and allow them to keep eating the foods they love.
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.
Though tooth extraction was used more often in the past, today’s orthodontists will often recommend a palate expander, which is custom fit to your palate and applies 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.