At Commonwealth Orthodontics we have been treating our patients with braces in Chesterfield, Colonial Heights and beyond for more than 20 years. And in those two decades, this popular orthodontic appliance has come a long way. In fact, despite the growth of Invisalign and other options for straightening your teeth, we still treat about 85% of our patients with braces thanks to their continued innovation and improvement.
How Braces Work
Before we detail the ways in which braces are better than ever, let’s quickly run down why we treat patients with braces in the first place. Simply put, braces help straighten our teeth, creating more picture-perfect and healthier smiles. Braces are designed to apply a specific force to a tooth, which in turn causes that tooth to move in the desired direction. We make it sound easy here, but orthodontists undergo years of specialized training and residency programs to gain the necessary experience to safely and effectively treat patients with braces.
Improvements to Braces
If you are older than 30 years old, you’re probably accustomed to the braces from yesteryear. They were big, uncomfortable, and came with big meal bands surrounding each tooth and a headgear.
But that picture has dramatically changed. Today, braces are less obtrusive, more comfortable, customizable and even camofluaged in some cases.
Here are some of the specific enhancements featured in modern-day braces:
- Construction: Today braces can be bonded directly to the tooth’s surface, eliminating the need for bands and spacers. This change not only creates a more comfortable patient experience, but it cuts down on patient visits and needed maintenance.
- Look and style: Once upon a time, you had one choice for braces: stainless steel. And while this silver option is still the most popular thanks to the fact that braces are now more compact and less noticeable, there are a bevy of other options. Patients can not only choose nearly any color, but they can change the colors when they come in for appointments. Those who would rather conceal their braces than show off their favorite color can elect for self-ligating braces, which don’t require a color to be placed around the braces to secure the wire. For those who want to go even further to hide their treatment, Invisalign clear aligners are one option (there is Invisalign for teens and Invisalign for adults). Another alternative is lingual braces, which are attached behind a patient’s teeth, but aren’t very popular due to the discomfort they can cause.
All of the innovation that has advanced the look and feel of braces has also made maintenance much easier. For example, because of the new wire types available in braces, patients can go 8-10 weeks before needing to return to their orthodontist’s office for adjustments.
While alternatives such as Invisalign continue to pop up, braces aren’t going anywhere. Because of their customization and continued enhancements, patients find them to be an increasingly effective and user-friendly option for kids, teens and adults straightening their teeth and achieving their ideal smile.