In the past orthodontics used large metal bands that were placed around each tooth in order to move the teeth. The latest materials are far less noticeable and our innovative technology enables us to move teeth faster. Orthodontic appliances today are made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable appliances or they may be brackets bonded directly to the teeth. The appliance will place a constant, yet gentle force on the teeth, which moves them into the proper position.
Metal brackets are small brackets that are bonded directly to each tooth and attached with a wire. These metal brackets and wires are far less noticeable than they used to be! Children and adults of all ages are choosing metal brackets for their orthodontic needs.
Clear or Ceramic Braces
Clear braces are similar to metal braces but are made of white material and are virtually undetectable! They bond to the front of the tooth and are connected by a wire. These braces are used mostly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. They do require a little more attention, which is why our trained doctors will let you know if they are the right options for you!
Clear aligners (sometimes called "invisible braces") are removable aligners that are changed every couple of weeks and apply pressure to the teeth until they are moved into the desired position. The aligners are worn most of the day and night and are taken out when you eat, or when you brush and floss. Please consult with your doctor to see if invisible braces are an option for you.
Other appliances are used in combination or in conjunction with braces and must be used as directed by your doctor. Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment, so make sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw will only move into their correct position if you consistently wear your rubber bands, headgear, retainers or other appliance, as prescribed by your orthodontist.
- Rubber Bands: Wearing elastic rubber bands improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth as they come together. They must be worn as directed for best results.
- Spacers: Spacers are little rubber doughnuts that are placed between the teeth to separate them so that orthodontic bands may be placed. They may feel like something is stuck between your teeth but need to be left in place until instructed. They will be removed before the bands are placed.
- Palatal Expander: The expander widens the upper jaw with gentle pressure on the upper molars. You may be able to adjust your expander at home or you may have to visit your doctor.
- Headgear: Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an overbite or an underbite. An overbite is when the upper jaw is too far forward of the lower jaw and an underbite is when the lower jaw is forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently pulls on the teeth to correct the jaw discrepancy.
- Herbst appliance: This appliance is in the mouth and helps reduce an overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This appliance is used mostly in growing children and is worn for about a year, but is different for everyone.
- Positioners: Positioners complete the final tooth movement and may only need to be worn for 4 to 8 weeks.
- Retainers: Retainers may be fixed or removable. They act to hold your teeth in their new, correct position. You will be instructed on how to care for the retainers and keep them very clean. It is very important to wear your retainers as directed to prevent shifting of your teeth after treatment!