Did you know that over 4 million Americans are currently wearing braces? That’s a lot of beautiful smiles in the making! The number of orthodontic patients doubled between 1982 and 2008, and one big reason for that is advances in both the technology and techniques used. There are more options than ever before for improving your oral health, and we’re seeing patients of all ages take advantage of that here at Vermette Orthodontics.
Our practice is proud to offer children, teens, and adults in Concord a wide variety of treatment options to correct a range of orthodontic issues! From crowded teeth and overbites to protruding teeth and underbites, Dr. Vermette is able to achieve confident smiles by utilizing several different treatment methods, including traditional braces.
Today’s braces are smaller, more efficient, and more attractive than previous versions. They still have the same track record of producing healthy, functional smiles, though! Improvements in orthodontic technology allow us to offer our patients a more rewarding orthodontic journey, from the first appointment to the last. If you’ve been exploring orthodontic treatment for you or your child, there’s never been a better time to be in braces! Let’s take a closer look at how they work and the different types we have available.
What are traditional braces? How do they work?
Braces are probably the most well-known orthodontic appliance. The basic design of our current braces has actually been around since the early 1900’s! Metal or clear brackets are affixed to the front surface of the teeth, then tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands that are sometimes referred to as elastics. Over time, these components work together to gently move the teeth into the desired positions.
Braces can sometimes align teeth more quickly than other methods might. This will vary from case to case. Every smile is unique, and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, however, the average treatment time for braces tends to be anywhere from 12-24 months, depending on the patient’s specific needs.
Like any new adventure, traditional braces can come with a learning curve! This is especially true in the early days, but it’s nothing good old patience and practice can’t fix. Part of this is maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. While this is important for everyone, orthodontic patient or not, it’s essential for patients in braces since the nooks and crannies created by brackets and wires can be difficult to keep clean. Some patients do have a hard time brushing and flossing effectively around their braces, but there are a number of accessories designed to make this an easier process. For example, a waterpik can help rinse those hard to reach areas, while ortho picks can assist with successful flossing. We recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed to keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Follow-up visits are another important part of the treatment process. Patients in braces will be seen every 4-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, Dr. Vermette will check that the teeth are moving according to the treatment plan, and will also change the bands attached to the brackets. He may replace the wire as well. We try to keep these appointments brief so patients can get back to school or work quickly!
What types of braces are available at Vermette Orthodontics?
Metal braces are composed of a mix of stainless steel, nickel, and other high-quality metals. This means the brackets are very durable and long-lasting! Modern metal braces are also much lighter, more efficient, and more comfortable than they used to be. They’re also customizable! Patients can choose from a variety of fun colored elastics to match their personality.
Metal braces produce excellent results, and can be particularly useful in cases that are severe or complex. Since they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments do, metal braces tend to be a slightly more affordable option. There’s a reason these orthodontic workhorses are the top treatment, year after year!
Clear braces are also referred to as ceramic braces, tooth-colored braces, or esthetic braces. Although they function in much the same way metal braces do, clear braces come with the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. The brackets are about the same size and shape as metal braces, but better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile. This offers a more subtle straightening option for patients, especially when paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties!
Clear braces are tough, but the material they’re made from can be prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can tolerate more pressure than ceramic ones, they may be a better option for those who require severe corrections to be made. Clear brackets are often slightly more costly than metal brackets, as well. Since they can be more expensive and are more prone to breakage, we generally recommend clear braces to our older teen and adult patients.
Invisalign and Invisalign Teen clear aligner therapy
Invisalign is actually the most popular alternative to traditional braces, but we think this system is also worth knowing about! Invisalign consists of a series of clear removable aligners that are custom designed to fit comfortably over the patient’s teeth. Like traditional braces, these customized aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions over time. However, they don’t require any brackets, bands, or wires to do so.
Patient compliance is an important aspect of any treatment process, but it’s essential for success with the Invisalign system. Patients must wear the aligners 20-22 hours every day to move the teeth on schedule. They’re also responsible for replacing each aligner for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks in order to keep up with the movement of the teeth.
These clear, removable aligners do offer patients a little more freedom and flexibility than traditional braces. They’re designed to be taken out when eating or drinking, so there are no food restrictions, and it’s also easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Patients simply remove the aligner, then brush and floss as they normally would! Invisalign tends to work best with mild to moderate cases of most common orthodontic issues.
Choose the best braces for your smile at Vermette Orthodontics
Every smile is beautifully unique! Dr. Vermette knows that what works for one patient may not be the best choice for another. That’s why he creates a customized treatment plan for every patient. If you’re in Concord or the surrounding communities and would like to learn more about how our braces can transform your smile, get in touch today! We’d love to schedule you for a FREE virtual or in-office consultation with Dr. Vermette.