Dental braces (also known as orthodontic braces or simply braces) are devices used in dentistry that align and straighten teeth. Conventionally metal braces were used for a long time but recently newer techniques have been developed. Invisible and lingual braces are equally efficient and offer more confidence as they cannot be seen by others.
How Braces Work
The application of braces moves the teeth as a result of force and pressure on the teeth. This application of slow, continuous and guided force onto the teeth helps loosen the tooth from its original place and then shifts it to a new position. A tooth will usually move by about a millimeter per month during orthodontic movement, but there is high individual variability. Orthodontic mechanics can vary in efficiency which partly explains the wide range of response to orthodontic/braces treatment.
Types of Braces
1. Traditional metal
Traditional metal wired braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with titanium and are the most widely used.
2. Invisible braces
Invisible braces serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending im more with the natural colour of the teeth and having a less conspicuous or hidden appearance. Typically, these brackets are made of ceramic or plastic materials and function in a similar manner to traditional metal brackets.
3. Lingual braces
Lingual braces are custom made fixed braces, bonded to the back of the teeth, making them invisible to other people. Hence, lingual braces are a cosmetic alternative to those who do not wish the braces to be visible.
Procedure for Getting Braces
The first step is to determine whether braces are suitable for the patient. If braces are appropriate, an appointment is set up where X-rays, models and impressions are made. The records are then analysed to determine the problems and the course of action.
Typical treatment time varies from 6 months to two and a half years, depending on the complexity and type of problems. Orthognathic surgery may be required in extreme cases.
Teeth to be braced will have an adhesive applied to help the cement bond to the surface of the tooth. A metal wire will be threaded in between the brackets and affixed with elastic or metal ligatures. Wires are bent, shaped and lightened frequently to achieve the desired results.