Clear or White Braces
Clear or White Braces are a type of braces where the brackets (the small square part glued to each tooth) is made of either a reinforced porcelain material or a spcieal plastic composite polymer.
They are sometimes known as ‘ceramic braces’ or ‘composite braces’ or Ice braces’. These materials have the advantage of being able to be made a similar colour to real tooth enamel and therefore visually blend into the teeth they are glued to.
They are relatively unnoticeable and tend to be the braces of choice for our adult patients.
The modern generation of white braces are very strong and generally do not stain (which tended to be problems associated with early types of these braves). People like to choose ceramic brackets because they “blend in” with the teeth and are less noticeable than metal.
There are also wires which are coated with a whitish coloured teflon making the entire system white for maximum stealth.
Dr Tiang’s preference is to use a ceramic self-ligating bracket together with super-elastic nickel-titanium wires to provide his patients with a system with a fantastic blend of stealth colour, bite-resistant strength and efficient tooth movement so they braces are not too noticeable and work well enough to get the treatment done in a reasonable time.
- Much less visible than metal braces
- No compromise on the controlled movements braces are able to provide
- Faster than Invisalign but slightly slower than metal braces
- Better looking than metal braces but still visible
- Uncomfortable to the lips and tongue similar to metal braces
- Faster than Invisalign but slightly slower than metal braces
- Traps food particles and is glued to the teeth making cleaning the teeth more difficult
- Weaker than metal braces and can be more prone to breakages of the braces
Removable Plates fit inside the mouth, usually pushing on the teeth from the inside. They are often completely hidden from view apart from some small metal clips on the back teeth.
In certain situations with certain orthodontic problems they can be a very efficient and almost invisible way to move teeth.
There is also a controversial (here in NZ at least) branch of orthodontics known as “functional orthodontics” where sometimes removable plates (and fixed braces) are used with the intention of changing the way the muscles of the jaw and the surrounding areas work.
By effectively ‘retraining’ these muscles, over time, the jaw bones and even the teeth themselves will move and reshape. We know this can work in theory because we have all seen kids who suck their thumb and end up with buck teeth.
The thumb acts as a kind of functional orthodontic device and the sucking causes the muscles around the mouth to slowly and gently push the top front teeth forwards. Anyway, certain functional appliances and plates do work if used in the right situation at the right time and we will recommend these if we feel they would be suitable for your case.
- Cost effective way to achieve certain tooth movements
- Removable for easy cleaning of the teeth
- Often only the clips are visible when smiling and these tend to be located on back teeth
- If used in the appropriate circumstances can save future more complex and costly treatment such as braces or even jaw surgery
- Cannot produce fine, controlled movements of teeth
- Can be uncomfortable to wear and affect speech
Lingual Braces are braces which are bonded to the inside of the teeth rather than the outside. This is the ultimate aesthetic option. However, due to very time consuming nature of adjusting lingual braces at every visit, the costs are considerably more. Possibly double the cost of regular braces in comparable situations. They do also tend to be uncomfortable on your tongue. This is a specialised option in orthodontics in which only a handful of people in New Zealand are trained and experienced in.
- Possibly the ultimate in invisible braces as they are mounted on the inside of the teeth and there is nothing on the outside, not even a layer of clear plastic
- Able to control the movement of the teeth well (but not as well as for braces mounted on the front of the teeth)
- Very expensive (in excess of $12,000)
- Requires and dentist or orthodontist with special training as it is very skill dependant. There are not many people offering this treatment option in NZ
- Can be uncomfortable for the tongue
- Can get in the way of normally biting your teeth together making eating and chewing difficult and uncomfortable
- Visits for adjustments can take much longer than for normal braces
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional Metal Braces consist of metal brackets glued to the teeth. These brackets act as handles which can be pushed and pulled by wires to move the teeth. These wires need to be tied to the brackets to push on them and this is usually done with little rubber bands known a ligatures. Options now include coloured rubber bands or “O” rings which ensure the patient doesn’t get bored with the treatment especially teenage children.
- Gives excellent fine control over the movement of the teeth
- Often the most cost effective option for straightening the teeth
- Faster than Invisalign in most cases
- You can have the option to choose whatever funky (or not) colour rubber ring is used to hold the wire to the braces
- The rubber ring which holds the wire to the braces can become discoloured and dirty
- Wire changes can be uncomfortable
- Greater forces need to be applied to the teeth for them to move as there is a lot of friction between the wire and the rubber rings
Self-ligating braces are braces with brackets that do not need ligatures (the small bands that hold the wire in place). You may also hear them referred to as “Damon braces” or “speed braces”. Rather than using ligatures or metal ties, the brackets themselves have a sort of trap door that holds the arch wire in place. This creates less friction between the wire and the bracket allowing for more efficient and therefore quicker tooth movement. We routinely use both metal and ceramic self ligating braces unless specifically asked for something different.
- The most efficient method of straightening the teeth with the initial stages of straightening occurring faster than with any other method
- Minimal discomfort from wire changes
- The braces still need to have some metal component
Combination Treatments can often be the solution after a professional has diagnosed treatment for your smile. For example if your teeth are severely crooked, clear or metal braces may be required initially, then followed by Invisalign to finish the treatment. Dr Tiang will advise on what treatment is best suited to each individual case.
- Allow the best features of each treatment type to be taken advantage of
- More costly as multiple treatment types are used