Decades ago, when someone wanted to straighten their teeth, metal braces were really the only option and treatment was mostly reserved for teeangers. That’s why the stereotypical image that comes to mind when someone says “braces” is of a teen with a mouth full of metal. Thanks to advances in engineering and materials, that’s not the case anymore. These days, patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment and there are a variety of options. Even the metal braces we use today are a pretty big leap forward from those of the past. To help give you a better idea of what your choices are, we’re covering the different types of braces Dr. James Scramstad, a general dentist practicing orthodontics only, offers at Align Ortho in Kelowna.
Metal braces are still the most commonly used out of all of the different types of braces. Why? Because they’re effective! As we said, today’s metal braces are nothing like the big, bulky ones that were used in the past. The brackets are smaller and more attractive and they use light, continuous forces for less discomfort. Metal braces feature brackets made from a biocompatible, medical-grade stainless steel and thin, lightweight archwires. How do braces work? The system of brackets and wires applies gentle pressure to the teeth, which encourages the process of bone remodeling. The bone breaks down and the teeth shift in response to the pressure. Then, new bone forms, holding the teeth in their new places. The wires act as a track to guide the teeth where Dr. Scramstad wants them to go.
With conventional metal braces, the wires are secured to the brackets with elastics. Patients can choose from different colour elastics to personalize their braces and make a statement. This is why metal braces are the most popular type of braces for kids. Children and teens love picking out colours to represent their school, the holidays, their favorite team or their personality.
Clear braces are a popular option when it comes to braces for adults or older teens. As with any of the different types of braces, clear braces also rely on brackets and wires to shift the teeth into place. However, clear dental braces are crafted from a translucent, ceramic material. They blend in with your smile, making them much less noticeable than metal braces. Ceramic braces used to be a little more brittle than metal ones and discolored easily. However, modern clear braces are durable and resist staining. To keep the clear elastics we use with ceramic braces from becoming discolored, try to enjoy foods and drinks that stain the teeth (i.e., soda, coffee, balsamic vinegar, berries, etc.) in moderation and rinse the mouth out really well with water or brush your teeth after having them. However, since we change the elastics throughout your Kelowna braces treatment, if they do begin to yellow, have no fear, because you’ll get a fresh set to replace them.
Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen
Now, what if you want to straighten teeth without braces? You’re in luck because Dr. Scramstad is a Kelowna Invisalign dentist and offers both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Invisalign is often preferred over braces for adults and teens due to the convenience and aesthetics. Invisalign involves a series of clear, removable, BPA-free plastic aligners. Dr. Scramstad plans out your treatment on a virtual, 3D model of your mouth, mapping out each individual tooth movement. He then sends the specifications to the Invisalign lab. The company prints out your custom clear aligners based on his prescription. The aligners slip over your teeth and apply steady, gentle pressure to shift the teeth into their ideal places when worn for about 20 to 22 hours per day. As you make your way through the series, your new smile takes shape.
When it comes to Invisalign vs. braces, the fact that the aligners are smooth, clear and don’t have brackets or wires is a big bonus because it means they’re virtually invisible. Most people won’t notice you have the aligners in your mouth. They’re removable, so there are no food restrictions and you can brush and floss as you normally would. They’re also comfortable and you don’t have to worry about cuts or irritation since they don’t consist of hardware like the different types of braces do.
Invisalign Teen is just that, Invisalign for teens. The aligners are designed to address teenagers’ needs. They feature eruption tabs to accommodate erupting teeth and there are a few free replacement aligners included in the system. For some teenagers, clear aligners are the better option because they draw less attention to their smile and there’s less interference in their everyday lives.
With the different types of braces and aligners available, there is truly something to suit everyone’s smile needs and lifestyle. To find out if you’re a candidate for Kelowna clear braces, metal braces, Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, schedule an in-person or virtual consultation at Align Ortho today!