Designing Your Smile With Orthodontic Braces
Invisalign®: A Clear Way To the Straight Path
When to See an Orthodontist
Have you heard? Dental braces aren't just for teenagers anymore. These days, more and more adults are getting braces for teeth. Why the shift? After all, dental braces were once the butt of some pretty legendary jokes. But today's orthodontic braces are way different from the "train tracks" of the 80s. Teeth braces are now available in clear plastic aligners or with tooth-colored ceramic brackets, making them virtually invisible. Some are even placed behind the teeth, creating a now-you-see-them, now-you-don't optical illusion. Others are still made of metal, but the brackets are smaller and treatment time is cut in half. Are you curious now? Explore this section to find out what types of braces are right for you!
Q: I keep hearing about invisible dental braces. What are they?
A: The term "invisible braces" is used to describe new types of dental braces designed to look more natural than metal orthodontic braces. One type of invisible teeth braces uses clear brackets made of tooth-colored ceramic. With lingual dental braces, the brackets are placed behind the teeth, making them practically invisible. Another type of invisible braces for teeth, Invisalign®, is radically different: Instead of bracket and wire technology, Invisalign uses a set of clear plastic, removable aligners to gently shift teeth over time.
Q: What types of braces are appropriate for adults?
A: Most types of braces are appropriate for any age; however, the types of braces that are right for you will depend on your specific bite problem and budget. Popular choices are speed braces, mini braces and Invisalign® aligners.
With "speed" orthodontic braces, treatment can take just 6-9 months rather than 12-20; some brands even offer ceramic brackets to blend in more with natural teeth. Mini braces for teeth use brackets that are 30 percent smaller than traditional ones, making them less noticeable and easier to clean. Invisalign technology uses clear plastic aligners that are virtually invisible; Invisalign aligners are also removable, reducing the chances of buildup and tooth decay that can sometimes result from wearing traditional teeth braces.
Q: What do I need to know about getting dental braces?
A: The process of getting dental braces starts with a complete orthodontic exam. An orthodontist will examine your medical and dental history and take measurements of your teeth, jaws, face and profile using a combination of panoramic X-rays, molds of your teeth and sometimes photographs. This information is used to help the orthodontist determine what kind of bite problem you have (overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc.). Then your orthodontist will analyze this information and devise an orthodontic braces treatment plan for you. At this time, you can discuss what types of braces are best for you (speed braces for teeth, lingual teeth braces, Invisalign and so on). Depending on the health of your teeth, you may need a teeth cleaning, tooth extraction, gum disease treatment or fillings before the dental braces are placed.