Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional braces except they use a special metal clip to hold the archwire in place rather than elastics (colored rubber bands). This clip reduces friction and can be beneficial in some cases. Dr. Williams may recommend self-ligating braces in some cases but the patient must be willing to go without "colors" at least initially. Self-ligating braces can be metal or clear ceramic just like traditional brackets.
Clear Ceramic Braces
Clear braces are made of ceramic and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns.
Clear Aligners (Invisalign)
Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) are used to correct the bite and improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth together. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.
Palatal Expander (Hyrax)
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for about four months to solidify the expansion.
Forsus Springs are an alternative to elastics when the amount of bite correction needed is more. They are generally used for a moderate to severe overbite.
The Herbst® appliance corrects a severe overbite by encouraging the lower jaw to grow more forward. This fixed appliance can be used in growing children and is worn for about 9-12 months.
Headgear is sometimes used in younger patients who have a severe overbite (the upper jaw is forward of the lower jaw) or an underbite (the lower jaw is forward of the upper jaw). Headgear applies a gentle pressure to the jaws to change the ways the jaws are growing and correct the underlying bite issue. Don't worry, headgear only has to be worn at night while sleeping.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss so please try to avoid them during the short time that they are in.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to hold the new position of your teeth.