Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align teeth. Most commonly it involves the use of braces to move teeth into proper positioning. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a track, guiding each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to patients, including traditional metal braces, ceramic “tooth colored” braces, as well as clear plastic braces.
Clear Braces utilize brackets made of monocrystalline sapphire, which make the braces nearly see-through except for the thin arch wire. Next to the Invisalign system (below), clear braces are the closest thing to invisible braces.
Metal Braces are the most economical and traditionally used braces. Metal braces are also ideal for those with more extensive realignment needed.
Orthodontic Retainers are appliances made from plastic and stainless steel to custom fit your mouth. They act as a guide to hold your teeth into place after braces are removed. The retainer holds your teeth in place so your surrounding gums and bone can adjust around them – allowing you to maintain your realigned smile. Although the time you must wear a retainer will vary, many orthodontists recommend retainers are worn into the early 20s until the bone in your jaw and mouth has stopped growing.
Invisalign works by first creating a series of clear essentially invisible trays that will gently and gradually move your teeth until you see the beautiful end result you want. At the end of each two-week period, you will switch trays. Throughout the process, you will visit Fuller Dental every six weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will likely wear a clear retainer to ensure your new smile stays in place.
As with all orthodontic appliances, the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. However, Invisalign is generally more expensive than traditional braces. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces.
The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth, forcing them to shift. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but since the trays are made of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible. In addition, because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.