Types of Braces
Welcome to SMILE Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry in Colorado Springs, CO! Our mission is to create beautiful, healthy smiles in a positive, welcoming, and professional environment. One of the main tools we use to accomplish this is braces — a tried-and-true method for straightening teeth and correcting malocclusion (improper bites).
Braces work by applying continuous pressure over time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape to accommodate the new positions. It’s a fascinating process that has helped millions of people achieve the smile of their dreams.
At SMILE Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, we offer two main types of braces: metal braces and ceramic braces. Both are effective at aligning your teeth, but they have distinct features that might make one more appealing than the other depending on your lifestyle, comfort, and aesthetic preferences.
The long-standing stalwarts of orthodontic treatment, and metal braces have been transforming smiles for generations. Today’s metal braces are a far cry from those of the past. They are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than their predecessors. Crafted from high-quality stainless steel, these braces consist of brackets that are meticulously bonded to each tooth and an archwire that threads through these brackets.
The science behind these braces is fascinating. The archwire applies gentle, continuous pressure on the teeth, gradually encouraging them to move into the desired position. Periodic adjustments by your orthodontist ensure that this pressure is directed exactly where it’s needed.
And let’s not forget about the fun aspect: the elastic bands, also known as ligatures, that hold the archwire in place on the brackets. These come in all colors of the rainbow. Whether you want to express your individuality, show off your school spirit, or coordinate with the season or upcoming holiday, the choice is yours! This touch of personalization makes the orthodontic journey a bit more enjoyable, especially for our younger patients.
If discretion is your priority, ceramic braces might be the perfect fit for you. Functionally, they work the same way as metal braces, but there’s a key aesthetic difference. The brackets are made from a translucent ceramic material designed to blend in with the natural color of your teeth. This makes them less noticeable, offering a more subtle approach to orthodontic treatment.
Despite their delicate appearance, ceramic braces are robust and highly efficient at moving teeth. They offer the same level of control as metal braces, which means they can handle all types of orthodontic cases, from simple alignments to more complex bite corrections.
One thing to keep in mind is that while the ceramic brackets themselves won’t stain, the clear or white elastic ties can discolor between appointments. However, these are replaced during your regular adjustment visits, keeping your braces looking fresh and clean.
Braces For Kids
At SMILE Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry in Colorado Springs, CO, we’re here to help guide your child’s smile as it grows and develops, ensuring a healthy and confident future. One of the ways we do this is through early orthodontic treatment, including braces for kids.
Orthodontics is not just about creating a beautiful smile; it’s a crucial part of oral health. Misaligned teeth or jaw problems may lead to issues like improper cleaning, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, or even tooth loss. Early orthodontic treatment can help prevent these problems, making it an investment in your child’s overall oral health.
So, when is the best time for your child to first see an orthodontist? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic check-up no later than age seven. At this stage, they would have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, making it easier for orthodontists to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Guide Jaw Growth — This can dramatically influence proper facial symmetry and can help alleviate potential issues such as underbites, overbites, or crossbites.
- Lower Risk Of Trauma To Protruded Front Teeth — If your child’s front teeth stick out, they might be more susceptible to injury during physical activities. Early correction can prevent traumatic injuries to the teeth.
- Correct Harmful Oral Habits — Early orthodontic treatment can help address habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting before they lead to more significant problems down the line.
- Guide Permanent Teeth Into A More Favorable Position — This can create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips, and face.
- Improve Appearance And Self-Esteem — A beautiful smile can boost your child’s confidence, impacting their social interactions and self-esteem.
Remember, early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems, but it can help in certain cases. A two-phase approach might be recommended for your child’s treatment. Two-phase treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, and facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your child’s life.
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is not growing enough can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
In between the two phases, there is a resting period where the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Retainers are not usually recommended since they might interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path; otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
The objective of the second phase is to ensure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it harmonizes with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is achieved, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two generally involves full upper and lower braces and commences when all permanent teeth have erupted.
At SMILE Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, we’re dedicated to providing children with the highest quality care in a fun, comfortable environment. Our team is highly trained and experienced in early orthodontic treatment and braces for kids. We’re here to guide you and your child through the process, ensuring a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.
Braces For Teens
The teenage years are an ideal time to address orthodontic concerns. During adolescence, the body is growing rapidly, including the mouth and jaw. This makes it easier to shift teeth into their correct position, often leading to faster and more efficient treatment. Plus, getting braces as a teen can help prevent more complex dental issues down the line, boost self-esteem, and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Transitioning to life with braces may seem daunting, but with some minor adjustments, it becomes second nature. After getting braces, there may be some initial discomfort as your mouth adjusts to the new appliance. But don’t worry, this discomfort is temporary and will subside as your mouth gets used to the braces.
Proper care is crucial to the success of your orthodontic treatment and the health of your teeth. Brushing after every meal and flossing daily is essential to remove food particles that can get stuck in your braces and cause plaque build-up. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, along with special orthodontic flossers that make it easier to clean around braces.
While you have braces, certain foods should be avoided as they can damage your braces or get stuck in them. These include hard, crunchy foods like popcorn and nuts, chewy foods like caramel and gum, and sticky sweets like toffee. Instead, opt for softer foods that are easier to chew and less likely to harm
Braces For Adults
If you thought braces were just for teens, think again. More and more adults are discovering the benefits of orthodontic treatment, and it’s never too late to start your journey to a healthier, more confident smile.
Orthodontic treatment isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about improving oral health and functionality. Misaligned teeth can lead to problems like abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing, and an increased risk of tooth injury. Correcting these issues can enhance your oral health and overall well-being.
Adults often have a better understanding and appreciation of the benefits of braces, making them more committed to the process. This commitment can lead to excellent oral hygiene habits and regular follow-ups, contributing to successful outcomes.
There are several reasons why adults consider braces:
- Correcting Relapse — Some adults had braces as a child, but didn’t wear their retainers as directed, leading to shifting teeth. Braces can correct this relapse, restoring the alignment.
- Addressing Health Concerns — Misaligned teeth can contribute to headaches, jaw pain, and increased wear and tear on your enamel. Braces can help alleviate these issues by bringing your teeth into proper alignment.
- Improving Confidence — A straight smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence, positively impacting your social and professional interactions.
- Preparing For Restorative Or Cosmetic Dentistry — For procedures like implants, bridges, or veneers, it’s crucial to have properly aligned teeth for the best results. Braces can prepare your mouth for these treatments.
At SMILE Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that everyone deserves a smile they’re proud to share. Our experienced team is committed to providing personalized, effective orthodontic solutions for our adult patients. It’s never too late to pursue the smile of your dreams — contact us today to request your free consultation!