You might not have noticed it, but orthodontics, as we know it today, burst in just a few years. Not long ago, orthodontists wrapped teeth in metal bands that anchor the wires.
Before the seventies, patients had their mouths full of metal, and you nailed it. Yes, it was painful and terribly uncomfortable. Teeth extractions, as part of the orthodontic practice, were more habitual.
A breakthrough innovation took place in the seventies when orthodontists started to cement the brackets directly to teeth, and this practice remains active today for efficient tooth movements.
Shortly after, Craven Kurz, an orthodontist, envisaged the possibility of cementing braces in the back of teeth. In 1975 Kurz launched a prototype of this kind, and in 1979, he patented the first generation of lingual braces.
Today, lingual braces moved to their ninth generation with advancements that minimize nooks and crannies, reduce the size of the brackets, allow better hygiene, and introduce technology advancements to enhance efficiency.
For a couple of decades, conventional and lingual braces became quite popular. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) estimated in 1998 that, at a single time, approximately four and a half million US Americans wore braces.
Also, at some point, we remained convinced that lingual braces were the most striking invention ever appearing in orthodontics and that nothing could beat them because they are invisible to the naked eye, but fortunately, we were wrong.
On the rise of orthodontic braces, exactly when braces wearers doubled by year, a Stanford student wearing orthodontic retainers imagined using retainers as orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth into their correct position.
Using a 3D model, he detailed straightening a malocclusion with different sets of aligners from what we previously know as retainers. Invisalign saw the light in 1998, and two decades after it, we enjoy a comfortable, discreet, and hygienic option to straighten our teeth.
Now that you know how orthodontics evolved in the last decades, we want to share a description that depicts the orthodontic appliances mentioned above in more detail.
What Are the Various Types of Braces?
From the conventional metal braces to Invisalign, we briefly discuss each device’s strengths and mention at least its most significant con so you get an idea of which orthodontic system best fits your needs.
Conventional Metal Braces
If they are still in the market, it is because they do the job. So yes, metal braces are here to stay for a long time. Indeed, stainless-steel braces are sturdy and offer an excellent mechanic scope to orthodontics.
Metallic braces have the advantage orthodontists use them to fix severe malocclusion cases. Metallic braces are sturdy, with brackets and archwires made of metal.
On the other hand, the main concern for orthodontic patients associated with traditional metal braces is some people feel self-conscious wearing them. However, they have been with us long, and most people find them trivial.
Clear Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces present an essential advantage, their color. Ceramic braces resemble the color of teeth; this is why they appear indistinguishable at times. People still look at them, but they aren’t as evident as metal braces.
Good Oral hygiene and avoiding artificial and natural color foods and drinks are essential. For example, ceramic braces might stain and look yellowish when not correctly maintained.
Self Ligated Braces
Conventional braces sometimes require elastic rubber bands to hold the brackets in place. Orthodontists might also use elastic with hooks to enhance treatment mechanics.
Self-ligating braces use clips instead of elastic bands to hold the archwires. Self-ligated braces are of two kinds:
- Active Self-Ligated Braces. These braces have a spring system in the clip that exert additional active force onto the archwire, helping it hold on to the slot.
- Passive Self-Ligated Braces. A passive self-ligated braces system has a bracket with a door for maintaining the wire in position, but it doesn’t exert any pressure on it.
In short, self-ligated braces do not require external elements like orthodontic bands to hold the wires and not having ligatures form fewer nooks and crannies for food and debris to accumulate.
Still, active or passive self-ligating braces are not yet as aesthetically sound as other orthodontic systems. In addition, the bracket design and size might be less precise in rotating or moving teeth than conventional braces.
We previously insinuated the goods of lingual braces, and yes, we can say this they are fabulously invisible. Orthodontists cement the brackets in the rear part of teeth.
Lingual braces have significant advantages. However, many orthodontists refrain from recommending them because they make dental hygiene a complex task.
We recommend our patients with traditional braces brush thoroughly and floss following a protocol that includes interdental brushes, a water irrigator to unclog food particles, and mouthwash.
Following this extensive protocol implies patients must observe teeth and braces while doing this, and having the braces in the back doesn’t help much. Consequently, brackets and wires in the back can catch more food than conventional braces.
Invisalign – Clear Alignment Devices
Invisalign is becoming the most popular orthodontic system in the US. Invisalign consists of various sets of guards that look like orthodontic removable retainers. Some of the most influential factors of Invisalign include the following:
- Esthetics. Invisalign is barely visible, and in most cases, people won’t notice you wearing it in most cases. This is because the trays are transparent, which makes them invisible to the naked eye.
- Comfort. The patented technology of the materials makes them formidably snuggly for teeth and, at the same time, enhances traction, making them quite effective.
- Hygiene. The clear aligners are removable. Therefore, patients could remove them before eating, which helps them practice their regular oral hygiene routine as normally as a person without braces.
- Efficiency. Invisalign is efficient. In some mild and moderate cases, Invisalign help patients get faster results than traditional braces, reducing treatment time for straight teeth.
Wrapping up the Goods and Not That Goods of All Systems
In short, traditional braces are the most effective orthodontic system and could help patients with severe malocclusions. Invisalign introduced astonishing advancements allowing them to correct many severe malocclusion cases. However, we still trust conventional metal braces’ reliability for some severe specific malocclusions.
Researchers worked on reducing the nooks and crannies in the wires and making the brackets smaller regarding lingual braces. However, having braces on the back is a significant impediment to practicing good hygiene, despite how important it might be for patients’ discreetness. Consequently, our vote when it comes to cosmetics goes for Invisalign.
At Hong Orthodontics, we strive to give our patients advice about the functional appliance that best fits their needs, guiding them on each system’s most favorable aspects. So, schedule an appointment and start the journey to a beautiful smile.