Reasons for having your teeth straightened are as individual as the treatment available. It can be to fix the bad bite which is damaging your teeth, or to even the teeth out so you can clean them properly, or purely for cosmetic reasons. Maybe you are self conscious about that ‘fang’ which sticks out or maybe it just bugs you how those two front teeth cross over slightly.
When people think of Orthodontics the first thing they think of is braces. Dr Tiang understands that having metal railway tracks in your mouth is not always practical in today’s environment, especially for people dealing with clients and the public day-to-day. Luckily at the cutting edge of dental technology are several innovations which can make your orthodontic treatment as barely noticeable as possible. Read on to find out what is available to straighten your teeth without looking like Ugly Betty or that guy from the James Bond movies.
Invisalign is a virtually invisible way of straightening your smile using a series of custom moulded, clear “Aligners” which have been precision computer designed and manufactured in sequence to gradually shift crooked teeth into place. Because the aligners are made of a clear material, they can often be virtually undetectable to those around you. We have had patients straighten their teeth without any of their colleagues even realizing it was happening. Dr Tiang has been accredited as an Invisalign Platinum provider; recognition of his high degree of experience in this technique. Talk to him today about if Invisalign is right for you.
Clear or White Braces are a type of braces where the brackets (the small square part glued to each tooth) is made of either a reinforced porcelain material or a spcieal plastic composite polymer. They are sometimes known as ‘ceramic braces’ or ‘composite braces’ or Ice braces’. These materials have the advantage of being able to be made a similar colour to real tooth enamel and therefore visually blend into the teeth they are glued to. They are relatively unnoticeable and tend to be the braces of choice for our adult patients. The modern generation of white braces are very strong and generally do not stain (which tended to be problems associated with early types of these braves). People like to choose ceramic brackets because they “blend in” with the teeth and are less noticeable than metal. There are also wires which are coated with a whitish coloured teflon making the entire system white for maximum stealth. Dr Tiang’s preference is to use a ceramic self-ligating bracket together with super-elastic nickel-titanium wires to provide his patients with a system with a fantastic blend of stealth colour, bite-resistant strength and efficient tooth movement so they braces are not too noticeable and work well enough to get the treatment done in a reasonable time.
Removable Plates fit inside the mouth, usually pushing on the teeth from the inside. They are often completely hidden from view apart from some small metal clips on the back teeth. In certain situations with certain orthodontic problems they can be a very efficient and almost invisible way to move teeth.
There is also a controversial (here in NZ at least) branch of orthodontics known as “functional orthodontics” where sometimes removable plates (and fixed braces) are used with the intention of changing the way the muscles of the jaw and the surrounding areas work. By effectively ‘retraining’ these muscles, over time, the jaw bones and even the teeth themselves will move and reshape. We know this can work in theory because we have all seen kids who suck their thumb and end up with buck teeth. The thumb acts as a kind of functional orthodontic device and the sucking causes the muscles around the mouth to slowly and gently push the top front teeth forwards. Anyway, certain functional appliances and plates do work if used in the right situation at the right time and we will recommend these if we feel they would be suitable for your case.
Lingual Braces are braces which are bonded to the inside of the teeth rather than the outside. This is the ultimate aesthetic option. However, due to very time consuming nature of adjusting lingual braces at every visit, the costs are considerably more. Possibly double the cost of regular braces in comparable situations. They do also tend to be uncomfortable on your tongue. This is a specialised option in orthodontics in which only a handful of people in New Zealand are trained and experienced in.
Traditional Metal Braces consist of metal brackets glued to the teeth. These brackets act as handles which can be pushed and pulled by wires to move the teeth. These wires need to be tied to the brackets to push on them and this is usually done with little rubber bands known a ligatures. Options now include coloured rubber bands or “O” rings which ensure the patient doesn’t get bored with the treatment especially teenage children.
Self-Ligating Braces are braces with brackets that do not need ligatures (the small bands that hold the wire in place). You may also hear them referred to as “Damon braces” or “speed braces”. Rather than using ligatures or metal ties, the brackets themselves have a sort of trap door that holds the arch wire in place. This creates less friction between the wire and the bracket allowing for more efficient and therefore quicker tooth movement. We routinely use both metal and ceramic self ligating braces unless specifically asked for something different.
Combination Treatments can often be the solution after a professional has diagnosed treatment for your smile. For example if your teeth are severely crooked, clear or metal braces may be required initially, then followed by Invisalign to finish the treatment. Dr Tiang will advise on what treatment is best suited to each individual case.