The earliest forms of braces have been worn since the beginning of the 20th century and the modern types of braces are still being modified until now. Braces are essentially appliances affixed on the teeth to treat dental irregularities such as malocclusions, underbites, overbites, open bites, cross bites, problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and several others.
They are generally worn for several months and sometimes for years, depending on the condition of the patient’s teeth. Some braces need to be replaced or adjusted regularly in order to achieve the desired appearance.
Even people who have not used braces during their childhood still have a chance to have their dental irregularities corrected because adult braces are now available in the market. The only catch is that adults may have to wear braces for longer periods because their jawbones have already stopped growing.
It’s also likely that other treatments would first be made on the patient before braces can be fitted. For instance, adults tend to have other dental issues such as plaque buildup or gum disease, and these have to be worked on first before braces can be affixed.
Braces can be made from different materials. The most popular kind are the metal braces – the silver apparatus you always see, and they can be used by both children and adults. One modification to this type of brace is that which is affixed to the inside part of the teeth so the wearer won’t be embarrassed about smiling with his or her mouth filled with metal. In fact, many people won’t even know you’re wearing braces unless you tell them about it.
These are called lingual braces and are more expensive than those affixed in front. Many wearers also notice that their speech is affected by lingual braces.
Another type are the ceramic or the “tooth-colored” braces. They are also held in place with brackets and are adjusted with wires, only they are made from ceramic, not steel. Ceramic braces are more comfortable to wear than the traditional metal braces and are attached to the visible teeth – that is, the upper front ones. Some of them can also be discolored by substances such as coffee and wine.
One innovative model of braces is the Invisalign invisible braces. These are made from clear plastic and are fitted onto the person’s teeth, much like a mold. These Invisalign braces are also regularly replaced with new ones that conform to the new measurements. This goes on until the teeth are properly aligned in the way the patients want them to be.
The patient has to be disciplined enough to wear Invisalign Braces for the prescribed duration in order to get the best results. Three distinct advantages of this type of braces is: one, they aren’t as unsightly as metal braces; two, food can’t get stuck on the teeth; and three, you can remove them anytime you need to do so.
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By Dana Whiteford