We here at L&M are dedicated to give you the smile you have always wanted. But, you may wonder just how we do that. Today, there are multiple options available for patients when it comes to braces. A quick scan on Google will outline the multitude of various treatment options and orthodontic companies that you have to choose from. As a patient, it can be very hard to differentiate between these choices, and make an educated decision on which makes the best sense for your orthodontic treatment.
Luckily, that is what the team here at L&M Orthodontics is here for. Between the two of us, Dr. Lee and I have tried just about every orthodontic treatment option out there. We have liked some, disliked others, and have narrowed down our appliances of choice to the three main options we feel give us our best results: metal brackets, ceramic (clear) brackets, and plastic aligners (Invisalign).
Metal braces. More than likely, when you think of braces, these stainless steel brackets are what you picture in your mind. The basic components are the individual brackets or braces (we use these two terms interchangeably) on the front teeth, bands (a metal ring with a brace attached to it) for the back teeth, and the wires that connect the brackets and bands together. Bands and brackets are affixed to the teeth using a specialized temporary adhesive, and are not removed until the end of treatment (nothing coming in and out of the mouth). We also use elastic ties to hold the wire in place. These ties come in a large variety of color choices, and get changed at every visit. The colors are a fun part of your treatment, and are ideal for personalizing your orthodontic experience!
Ceramic braces. Clear brackets are composed of the same basic components as their metal counterparts with one noticeable difference: instead of stainless steel, they are made fromceramic and are much less noticeable esthetically. We even have a complement of white coated wires and clear elastic ties to help these appliances blend in to the surrounding teeth. Although the brackets themselves remain clear throughout the entirety of treatment, the elastic ties do tend to discolor to varying degrees between appointments due to differences in diet and habits such as smoking. Thats why it is lucky we change them at each appointment!
Plastic aligners. Clear plastic aligners, most notably manufactured by Invisalign, have become very popular and effective alternatives to the fixed appliances mentioned above. This treatment involves a series of aligners manufactured individually for each patient, to be worn over the course of treatment. Each aligner in the series sequentially moves the teeth to the desired result, and is traditionally worn about two weeks before changing to the next. They can be taken in and out of the mouth and have to be worn for about 22 hours per day (basically all the time except for when eating and brushing your teeth). These are by far the least noticeable option esthetically, but can also be discolored by colored food/drink and habits such as smoking. Luckily, each aligner is only worn for two weeks, and usually remains clear until changed.
Although the complexity of some orthodontic cases limits our options, most cases can be completed with any of the treatments listed above. At your initial appointment, either Dr. Lee or I will be more than happy to discuss the type of braces that are best for you. With so many different choices today, you and your family should have no problem finding the braces option that works best for achieving your Star Smile!