The great majority of orthodontic problems are best treated with traditional braces. We use high quality brackets from American Orthodontics, one of the top manufacturers of orthodontic materials in the world.
Think of braces as having two parts:
The brackets that adhere to the teeth, and the wires that connect the brackets.
Each bracket is a handle for a tooth. The wire grips each bracket and tries to straighten itself out. As it does, it carries the tooth with it to the new position.
The orthodontist can manipulate the action by choosing thin, flexible wires, or stronger, thicker wires. The stronger wires can be adjusted to move each tooth in any direction: up, down, in, out; and tip the root to any angle.
In the end, the final result is a combination of the accuracy of the bracket placement in the ideal location on each tooth, and the orthodontist's ability to manipulate the action with the wires.
There are two popular types of brackets today: the traditional bracket and the Clip (or Speed, or Damon) bracket. Traditional brackets have 4 wings and a small rubber O-ring (the colored band) holds the wire against the tooth. Clip brackets have a metal clip that slides into place and holds the wire into the bracket. Traditional brackets have the advantage of being easier to apply small detailed movements from a wire, and the clip brackets have the advantage of faster (to some degree) manipulation and less resistance to sliding forces. In the end, they are both just handles on a tooth, even though each type may make claims about achieving physics that they other cannot, or improving treatment times. These claims have not been substantiated by controlled studies, and we prefer to use traditional brackets in order to make finer-detailed movements.
Traditional braces come in two slot sizes, 18-slot and 22-slot. We actually use a mix; we use 18-slot in the front to get a better grip to align the roots to the proper angulation, and 22-slot in the back, to allow the back teeth to have some freedom to fit with each other better.
The light gold braces in the image above are a popular new option. This is a purely cosmetic choice, and we have gold-plated wires that can match. These brackets have become very popular in our office, and the majority of new patients choose these "champaign" brackets.
For adults and patients that want a less noticeable appearance, we use Clarity Advanced brackets from 3M Unitek. They are made of porcelain and significantly improve the esthetics of the braces. We usually use traditional metal brackets on the bottom teeth for a variety of reasons, including protecting the top teeth from biting wear, minimizing the size of the brackets on smaller lower teeth, and also the fact that the lower braces are not particularly visible for most people.
Clear aligners like the Simpli5 system can be used to correct some orthodontic problems, particularly minor crowding or small spaces between the teeth.
Our office uses the Simpli5 System from Ormco. It consists of 5 aligners that move the teeth into position over a 6 month period. At the end of the treatment period, the aligners are used as retainers to maintain the result.
We also have the digital capability to create custom aligner sets for our patients directly in our in-house laboratory. Click here for more information!