Types of Orthodontic Care
Before orthodontic treatment can begin, pre-treatment records are gathered (this is the key to successful diagnosis of orthodontic problems). Those records include medical/dental history, clinical examination, plaster study models of your teeth, photos of your face and teeth and x-rays of your head. This information will be used to decide on the best treatment for you.
Orthodontic treatment usually consists of applying braces to the teeth or using other appliances which gradually move the teeth or jaws into their correct position. Many of today’s braces are far less noticeable than those of the past. Braces consist primarily of brackets and interconnecting wires. Brackets (the part of the braces that hold the wires) are bonded to the teeth. Often, clear or tooth colored brackets are used for esthetics.These braces may not be suitable for all types of orthodontic problems and, because they are more difficult to place and control and require frequent adjustments, they tend to be more costly. New white-colored elastics blend with the teeth. For the younger crowd, colored elastics are available.
When braces are removed, it is usually necessary to wear a retainer for a period of time. A retainer keeps the teeth in their new, correct position until the tissues surrounding them stabilize.
Removable Dental Appliances
At the other end of orthodontic treatment, a special appliance is fabricated to hold the teeth in their new positions. This is called a “retainer”. Some retainers are cemented over teeth to hold the position and others that are removable.
Other removable appliances are very similar to the removable “retainer” in looks but provide a very different function. These can, in fact, create pressures on teeth in a specific way so as to cause the appropriate teeth to come into the correct position. This appliance can be used for active treatment as well as for post treatment retention.
Types of Braces
Braces come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are the more traditional looking metal brackets that have been greatly reduced in size. Other brackets are clear plastic types and still other are made of ceramic materials. These last two types have been developed to aid in creating a greater cosmetic acceptance by patients in treatment. Sometimes these brackets can be placed on the inside of the teeth. Brackets positioned in this way cannot be detected by others.