Two Orthodontic Alternatives to Traditional Braces
If your teeth are misaligned, you may already know that you need an orthodontic adjustment. However, you may want to avoid traditional braces. Nevertheless, there are orthodontic alternatives to traditional braces to help straighten your teeth. Here are a few of them.
Traditional braces shift teeth into proper alignment using brackets, an archwire, and elastic bands. The brackets are bonded to the teeth and the archwire is connected to the brackets by elastic bands. To apply appropriate alignment pressure, the archwire is adjusted by the orthodontist at intervals during the treatment process.
The elastic bands that are used to connect the brackets to the archwire create friction that works against the alignment force. Thus, with traditional braces, the force exerted to straighten the teeth must be strong enough to overcome the friction and still coax the teeth into alignment.
Self-ligating braces have specially designed brackets that eliminate the need for elastic bands. The brackets have tiny holes through which the archwire is fed. These tiny tunnels hold the wire in place, making the elastic bands unnecessary. As a result, self-ligating braces straighten the teeth more quickly and painlessly than traditional braces. They even require fewer visits to the orthodontist.
As an added bonus, self-ligating brackets are smaller than traditional braces. They are also available with ceramic brackets, which are tooth-colored, to make them even less noticeable when worn.
Clear plastic aligners are also used to straighten the teeth. They are mouthguard-like structures made of transparent hard plastic. To straighten your teeth, multiple sets of clear plastic aligners are used. Each aligner set is worn for a couple of weeks and then replaced by the next set in the plan for progressive alignment. At the conclusion of the final set, the alignment should be complete.
The plastic aligners are perfect for people who would like to have their teeth aligned discreetly, since the appliance is completely clear. Additionally, the aligners can be removed from the mouth to make eating and brushing more comfortable.
Still, plastic aligners are not suitable for everyone. Your palate must be fully grown, and you must be disciplined enough to wear your aligners for the prescribed period each day.
To learn more about orthodontic options that may be suitable for correcting your dental misalignment, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in your area, such as one at Orthodontic Associates. He or she will be able to assess your bite and alignment to prescribe the best appliance for your specific needs.