Evolution of Braces and Aligners

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that is focused on correcting teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly by utilizing metal braces and clear aligners that can be employed to treat an abnormal bite to a functionally sound and esthetic alignment.

Orthodontics has seen remarkable advancements over the years. The journey from metal braces to the modern marvel of Invisalign showcases a field that has consistently embraced innovation to improve patient experiences and outcomes.

The History of Orthodontics stretches back centuries, with evidence of dental wires and braces dating as far back as ancient Egypt. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that significant progress was made, culminating in the introduction of metal braces in the early 20th century. These early braces were rudimentary, often made from materials like gold, and required a cumbersome process of wrapping wires around each tooth.

Advancements in Metal Braces

The mid – 20th century marked a turning point with the development of stainless-steel braces, making orthodontic treatment more accessible and affordable. The introduction of ceramic braces offered a less conspicuous option, appealing to those concerned about the esthetic impact of metal braces. Technological advancements also led to improvements in the design of brackets and wires, enhancing patient comfort and reducing treatment times.

The advent of digital technology has had a profound impact on orthodontics. Digital imaging and 3D printing have revolutionized treatment planning, allowing for a more precise customization of braces and other orthodontic appliances. Software advancements have enabled orthodontists to predict treatment outcomes with greater accuracy, further personalizing patient care.

The Invisalign Breakthrough

In the late 1990s, Invisalign introduced a revolutionary approach to orthodontic treatment. Utilizing custom made, clear aligners, Invisalign offered an almost invisible solution to teeth straightening. This system uses advanced 3D imaging to create a series of aligners that gradually shift teeth into their desired position. The clear aligners are not only aesthetically pleasing but also removable, offering significant advantages in terms of comfort and convenience over traditional braces.

Aligners Vs Braces

Aligners or Braces – Which will suit you better?

Many patients are confused about which option would suit them better, Braces or Aligners. There are various factors that can influence your decision regarding the choice of treatment.

It is important to understand that the Invisalign or aligner therapy can treat most cases, but not all Orthodontic problems. However, aligner therapy has advanced quite significantly in recent times to address various complex orthodontic issues. It is advisable to get a consult and a thorough examination with the Dentist/Orthodontist to get a better perspective about the type of malalignment you may have and then formulating the appropriate treatment plan and deciding whether braces or aligners would be best suited for that particular condition. Traditional orthodontic therapy with conventional braces and wires can treat a wide range of orthodontic problems and is best suited for early ages and teen age. Conventional fixed braces are beneficial in treating early onset orthodontic issues of narrow arches, crowding of teeth, gaps, reverse bite, interception of abnormal jaw growth and growth modification during the pre-pubertal phase.

In order to get a better understanding between Braces and Aligners, it is essential to know what each therapy entails:

Braces

These are small metal pieces (also known as brackets) that are attached or bonded to the surface of the teeth and strung together with a metal wire that can be of various alloys ranging from stainless steel to Nickle titanium. The arch form works by applying continuous pressure on the brackets to progressively move teeth into their desired positions.

There are several different types of braces: Metal, clear, lingual, self-ligating. The most common theme among braces is that they are a fixed appliance therapy.

Invisalign or Clear Aligners

Are removable, 3D printed splints that are placed on top of the teeth and perform similar or same function as the braces by correcting malalignment of teeth by applying continuous forces to move teeth into desired positions. It is actually more imperative to consider the method each uses to achieve the desired outcome.

Advantages of Invisalign or Clear Aligners

Appearance: Invisible or less noticeable as they are clear, and custom made to fit your teeth. They are more discrete and inconspicuous in comparison to traditional braces.

Comfort: Clear aligners are more comfortable than braces. Although the teeth can be somewhat tender as they begin to move, the lips and the cheeks tend to be less irritated as the plastic aligner is smoother than the metal or porcelain braces. This may be particularly relavent for those playing contact (or semi – contact) sports.

Diet: You have the advantage of removing your aligners to eat your favorite foods and putting them back on after your meal unlike traditional braces that are fixed and are not removable and may have breakages while eating certain foods.

Appointments: As the tooth movements are pre-planned by your orthodontist, the appointment visits are much simpler and shorter as compared to the wire changes of conventional braces. This can be a big advantage for people living busy lives.

Disadvantages of Clear Aligners

Compliance: Aligners need to be worn 22 hours a day to be effective. This means they are only removed for eating and cleaning. Compliance equals results.

Effectiveness: Aligners can treat most cases, but not all complex cases. In such situations, your orthodontist may recommend traditional braces for more precise or surgical correction of teeth and jaws.

In some cases, the cost of aligners can be more than braces. However, in many cases they are similar or the same. Your orthodontist can discuss the cost of your options before you decide.

Advantages of Braces

Applicable to all cases: Whereas aligners can treat most cases, braces can be used treat all cases. That means braces are always an option.

Variety of braces: Braces can be various types of metal braces, with or without colors. There are also porcelain braces which are much more discreet than regular metal braces.

Compliance: Because the braces are fixed to your teeth, you cannot forget to wear them, or lose them. This can be useful for some patients if they are not internally motivated to comply with wearing aligners adequately.

Disadvantages of Braces

Hygiene: It is much more challenging to clean your teeth with braces rather than aligners. If cleaning is not done adequately, real damage can occur to the teeth. This may lead to the decision to remove your braces early, before an optimal final result has been achieved.

Diet: With braces attached to your teeth, your diet will need to be modified. Hard foods (or nighttime grinding) can cause breakages which can slow or stop your treatment progress. Also, as you are more prone to decay with braces on, sugary sticky foods need to be avoided. A poor diet, plus inadequate hygiene is a recipe for disaster!

Comfort: Generally speaking, braces are more likely to cause discomfort as they can rub on the cheeks and lips. Some patients suffer from this more than others and is often a consideration for people involved in some sports and other activities.

Appearance: Braces (even the porcelain ones) are more noticeable than aligners. This is important for some patients depending on their occupation, hobbies and personality.

Appointments: The appointments needed for braces tend to be longer and more involved, with active adjustments needed to be carried out in the chair. There may be a need for more frequent visits as well.

Orthodontic Care at Sky View Dental

There’s a lot to consider when you are weighing up the options of orthodontic treatment. There are no right or wrong options, however being informed about your choice and what it will mean on a day-to-day basis is very important.  Our team of expert dentists at SkyView Dental help you decide what pros or cons matter most to you to make your decision easier. We give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. We provide a variety of orthodontic treatment options including metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign, advanced braces and more. Call us today at (317) 886-9500 to book your appointment and get all the information you need to start your journey to a confident, happy and healthy smile.