Traditional orthodontics focuses primarily on straightening teeth that are misaligned. The main goal is to create a great smile with perfect tooth alignment and a proper bite (occlusion). Braces and wires, or aligners such as Invisalign® are the preferred ways of aligning teeth. In cases of severe crowding, some teeth may be extracted. Poor jaw relationship is corrected by using various mechanics and appliances such as elastics, headgear, Herbst, etc. Severe discrepancy in jaw relationship is usually resolved by jaw surgery in adulthood, when all growth is complete.
In today’s society most people are familiar with the term braces. Braces refer to a type of appliance that straightens teeth. The whole set-up consists of bands for molars, and multiple brackets that are glued onto teeth connected with wire. The wire is secured into the brackets by an elastic or thin wire tie (ligature). Some brackets are self-locking and do not require a tie to hold the wire. Elastic ties have many different colors, and are usually changed at each appointment.
Brackets serve as attachments to grab onto the teeth and the wire is what lines the teeth up. Brackets can be made of metal, plastic or porcelain. Metal brackets are the strongest and most durable. Plastic or porcelain brackets have a white or clear color that blend in with the color of the teeth. However, they are not as durable as their metal counterparts.
There are many types of wires (varying in thickness, shape, softness/stiffness, and material) and each can accomplish a different goal. The wire is the component that is being changed at the follow-up visits depending what kind of movement is needed, but brackets stay in place until the treatment is finished.
There are additional gadgets that are used with braces, such as elastics. Elastics (or rubber bands), which are different from the colorful elastic ties, move upper and lower teeth relative to each other. They are an additional force that moves the teeth, usually spanning from top to bottom teeth in various directions, depending where the teeth need to move.
This review is long overdue! I have permanent retainers glued to the top and bottom of my teeth to keep them from moving. Somewhere along the way, the bottom one broke off (probably trying to open things with my teeth....very bad habit). And I lost the actual retainer so it couldn't just be glued on. I was referred to Aligne by my dentist (Dr Munk who is just right next door) and they were fantastic to work with. I needed a new retainer made and attached in a *very* short period of time because I was leaving the country. Everyone at Aligne was so nice and helpful and fun to talk to. I was able to get my shiny new retainer installed and on the way to the airport in no time.
~Chelle P. Seattle WA
Invisalign® is a system that straightens crowded dentition via a set of clear aligners that fit tightly around one’s teeth. The aligners worn fulltime, but are removable and need to be changed about every 2 weeks. The advantage of Invisalign® over traditional braces is that the teeth are easier to brush and keep clean. The aligners are also less conspicuous and less irritating to the soft tissues in the mouth. The disadvantage is that the control of tooth movement is less precise with the aligners than with braces, and they are more limited in what they can accomplish. Mildly crowded dentitions and moderate open bite situations are ideal cases to treat with this method.
Myobrace is a method of treatment that considers the function of the muscles of the mouth and face, and aims to retrain them into proper operation. It works with a series of mouth guards that are worn for 1-2 hours during the day and during sleep. The mouth guards initially retrain the muscles and then line up the teeth.
ALF appliances are made of wire designed to improve the alignment of your teeth and bite without braces. The ALF addresses the alignment of the bones, and brings about changes in the muscle function to achieve the result. The ALF is a whole-body and whole-mind approach to improve not only straightening, but overall health as well.