Orthodontic Options to Reduce the Appearance of Braces

28 September 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If you are an adult who has decided to invest in the orthodontic process, then you likely know that you have many different straightening options available to you. However, if your teeth are extremely misaligned, then your dentist may suggest the use of traditional braces. Traditional braces will be more visible and this may keep you from investing in them right away. Fortunately, there are some options you can choose from to make sure your braces are not as visible as they could be. 

Choose Clear Brackets

Traditional braces come with affixed brackets that hold the arch wires and wound orthodontic wires in place. The brackets come in a wide variety of sizes and widths, and they also may be single or double types. Curved and straight options help to make sure that the hardware fits properly against the different types of teeth. While the first brackets were made out of gold, modern hardware is made out of stainless steel.

In recent years, orthodontists have also been offering ceramic brackets so the braces are even less noticeable. Ceramic braces are offered in white, frosted, and clear options and they are made from an alumina material. This material is desirable because it is non-porous. This helps to keep the brackets strong and free of most stains.

If these tooth-colored brackets are too expensive for you, then you may have the option of picking acrylic or polycarbonate brackets instead if your orthodontist still offers them. These brackets may be less expensive, but they are not nearly as strong as the ceramic ones. You also will need to make sure that you avoid foods that can stain the acrylic. This means staying away from brightly colored candies, coffee, wine, and tea.

Pick White Wires

If you choose ceramic braces, then your orthodontist will need to utilize an arch wire in the same way that it is used when traditional steel brackets are placed on the teeth. A steel wire may be used, or you can speak with your dental professional about white varieties that match the teeth. However, these wires do present some challenges and your orthodontist may not have experience with the materials that are available. Also, some wires may be thicker than usual due to the thickness of the coating material.

If your orthodontist is willing to provide invisible or white wires, then coated steel varieties may be available. These wires are fitted with an epoxy, Teflon, polymer, or palladium material. Teflon is a popular choice due to the strength and security of the coating that is thermal sprayed onto the wire. Resin materials are also common and they are added to the arch wires with the assistance of an electrostatic charge.

Unfortunately, friction will cause the coatings on the metal to flake off over time. Sometimes, the material will wear away within a month and leave noticeable metal spots across the surface of the arch wire. Some manufacturers are experimenting with metal primers to help with the security of coatings, so make sure to ask your orthodontist about new product offerings. 

Consider Non-metallic Wires

If you do not want to deal with flaking wire coatings, then you can ask your orthodontist about spun glass and polymer arches or strengthened polymer varieties. Unfortunately, these wires are not able to bend like steel, so you may need to wait until later in the straightening process until your teeth are more aligned. Your orthodontist may also need to be careful when the orthodontic wire is secured so the pressure does not cause damage to the arch.

If these wires are not available or if you need to wait until your teeth are straighter, then think about asking for either clear or white orthodontic elastics to sit over the arch wires. While colored bands may be fun, they will draw more attention to the braces, especially if some metal hardware is required.

For more about this topic, chat with your orthodontist before making your final choice.