Dental braces are designed to correct several anomalies of the mouth which can lead to an ugly smile. Newer technology has, to a certain extent, diminished the impact of braces on the physical appearance of the person, making them easier to live with.
Clear dental braces are designed to correct several anomalies of the mouth which can lead to an ugly smile.
Common issues addressed by invisible dental braces include:
Overly crowded teeth—when there is a lack of space in the jawbone for all teeth to fit normally. If left untreated, this condition precipitates tooth decay and gum disease.
Widely spaced teeth—occurs when the jawbone continues to grow, even during adulthood. It can also be as a result of missing teeth so that the remaining teeth are displaced due to the extra space.
Cross bite—is the result of the misalignment of the upper and lower jaws. It causes excessive wear of teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
Overbite—is when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. This may be a genetic problem but may also arise as a result of bad oral habits. Gum problems and excessive wear of the lower teeth can arise as a result.
Under-bite—is when the lower teeth stick out beyond the upper teeth. This impairs the function of the front teeth, leading to tooth wear.
These conditions are fairly common and require the placing of braces in order to correct the anomaly. Braces consist of three parts: brackets, wires and elastics. The bracket (plastic or metal) is cemented to each tooth. A wire is then run from bracket to bracket, connecting all the teeth. The small elastic band is placed over the bracket and the wire to hold them together.
Metal, invisible or clear braces allow the dentist to manipulate the teeth over a long period by adjusting the wire.
Traditional metal braces had the disadvantage of completely ruining the smile of the person. Since braces are normally put for a long time, this can result in the person becoming self-conscious about his or her smile, leading to psychological problems.
New Technology Clear and Invisible Braces
Newer technology has, to a certain extent, diminished the impact of braces on the physical appearance of the person, making them easier to live with.
Clear ceramic braces represent one of these technological innovations. Because they are clear (i.e. virtually transparent), they do not stand out against the white teeth and thus have a less offensive look. There are, however, certain drawbacks to be noted.
Clear ceramic braces tend to be more fragile than their metal counterparts. There is a risk that they may come off due to the biting action. Ceramic braces on the lower teeth can be shorn off as a result of the action of the upper teeth. They may also be stained through the consumption of certain foods such as coffee or sodas.
The fragility of the ceramic braces also tends to increase the length of the treatment. This is because the wires have to exert less force so that the teeth will move more gradually.
Invisible Braces are a second important innovation in the field of orthodontic treatment. This technology makes use of scanned images of the insides of the teeth. Labs use CADCAM technology to build custom brackets that are attached to the back of the teeth (rather than the front as with normal brackets). Invisible braces are thus hidden from view.
Who Can Use Clear Invisible Dental Braces?
Unfortunately, not everyone can use Invisible Braces. It is specifically designed for adults and older teenagers. Children and teenagers with baby teeth cannot use it.
Invisible dental braces are also not adapted to certain oral habits. For example, if during the bite, the bottom front incisor teeth strikes forcefully against the back of the upper front teeth, then invisible braces would not be suitable.
Ultimately, it is up to the orthodontist to determine whether the bites of the person are suited to the placing of Invisible Braces.
An even newer system, called the Invisalign clear aligners, consists of a series of custom-fit aligners that will gradually straighten the teeth. These aligners are clear plastic sheaths that fit over a whole row of teeth. They do not have any impact on consumption of food and can be removed occasionally, for example, to attend social dinners.
The primary disadvantage is that Invisalign is costlier than traditional braces since it requires special computerized technology to custom make the set of aligners for each patient.