Understanding Your Treatment Options

There are a lot of treatment options these days, from retainers to clear aligners to invisible, metal, ceramic and micro braces. They each have their uses. Orthodontists have the specialized knowledge to consider all possibilities, based on variables like your age, possible jaw imbalances, differences in the size of your teeth, and more. They know what to use and when to use it, and will work with you to make the best decision - for your best smile.
Braces
Clear Aligners
Archwires
Elastics
Retainers
Headgear
Other Devices
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Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are comprised of brackets that are affixed to teeth and wires that are threaded through slots in the brackets.  Some patients may also have metal bands encircling back teeth.  Wires are held to brackets by tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” or “o-rings.”  Brackets are generally made of stainless steel.  Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

Traditional Ceramic Braces

Traditional ceramic braces are tooth-colored, making them next-to-invisible. They are affixed to teeth, and wires are threaded through slots in the brackets. Wires are held to brackets by tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” or “o-rings.” Brackets are made of ceramic or porcelain materials. Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

Self-ligating ceramic braces are tooth-colored, making them next-to-invisible.  They are affixed to teeth, and wires are threaded through slots in the brackets.  Built-in clips hold the wires to the brackets.  Brackets are made of ceramic or porcelain materials.  Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

Self-Ligating Metal Braces

Self-ligating metal braces are comprised of brackets that are affixed to teeth and wires that are threaded through slots in the brackets.  Some patients may also have metal bands encircling back teeth.  Built-in clips hold the wires to the brackets.  Metal brackets are generally made of stainless steel.  Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Clear Aligners

Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays that are formed to fit an individual’s teeth. Patients are responsible for putting in and removing their aligners. A series of aligners is created to move teeth. Each aligner is worn for 2-3 weeks, and moves teeth a fraction of a millimeter at a time. Patients must remove aligners for meals and when brushing/flossing. The number of aligners needed to correct misaligned teeth varies based on the individual’s orthodontic problem and its correction.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Round Archwires

When viewed in cross-section, the shape of the wire is round. Round archwires are often used in earlier stages of orthodontic treatment to level and align teeth. Archwires fit into the slots in brackets and actually move the teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

Rectangular Archwires

When viewed in cross-section, the shape of a rectangular archwire is rectangular – square on both ends with a long segment in between.  Rectangular archwires are often used in later stages of orthodontic treatment to control and refine tooth movement.  Archwires fit into the slots in brackets and actually move the teeth.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Elastics

Elastics are tiny rubber bands that apply extra force to a tooth or teeth in ways that braces alone cannot, so that teeth move into their ideal positions. Tiny hooks on selected upper and lower brackets as used as attachment points.  The configuration of the elastics can be vertical or diagonal, depending on the individual’s need.  Patients are responsible for placing and removing their elastics.  Elastics should be worn as prescribed by the orthodontist. Do not wear more elastics than prescribed. Doing so places excessive force on the teeth and can be harmful.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Clear Retainers

removable retainers are clear, thin, slightly flexible, and made of a plastic-like material. They fit the exact shape and placement of the teeth.

Not only are there removable retainers, but there are also fixed retainers. Both types of retainers hold teeth in their new positions after “active” orthodontic treatment is completed. This allows newly formed bone to harden around the teeth. Wearing retainers as instructed is the key to maintaining the success of orthodontic treatment. Patients may be advised to wear retainers full-time for the first six months after “active” treatment ends, with subsequent wear time reduced to night-time only. When not in the mouth, removable retainers should be kept in the case provided by the orthodontist.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Headgear

Headgear is a general name for a type of removable appliance that creates external forces that guide the growth of the face and jaws, and supplements forces created by archwires on braces. Headgear can be used to prevent teeth from moving or to inhibit the growth of a jaw. Headgear delivers measured amounts of force in specific directions to achieve optimal results. Headgear works only when it is worn by the patient as prescribed by the orthodontist.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

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Mouthguard

A mouth guard is used by athletes of all ages to protect teeth from trauma during competitive and individual sporting activities. They are made of a variety of materials, some relatively flexible and others relatively rigid. Custom-made mouth guards deliver the greatest protection. Over-the-counter mouth guards are available in “boil and bite” versions, which are formed to the individual’s mouth, and “ready to wear” versions, which cannot be customized and offer the least protection. The American Association of Orthodontists advocates the use of mouth guards by children and adults during organized and recreational sporting activities.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

Sleep Apnea Appliance

A sleep apnea appliance is a custom-made device that slips over top and bottom teeth to help patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and/or who snore keep their airways open when they sleep. They hold the lower jaw slightly open and slightly forward.

See your orthodontic specialist for the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.