It's time for braces, that time-honored tradition of adolescence many of us recall so well. Metal-mouths, tons of tiny rubber-bands all over the place, and that feeling of not wanting air to touch your teeth on adjustment days.
Don't you miss it?
But, oh wow, what gift we were provided when they were finally removed. Straight teeth!
Yes, braces can be a pain, but the results are worth it. And if you're considering braces for your teen, you'll no doubt find the choices astonishingly different than when you were a teenager. Heck, now can even be invisible nowadays!
Technology has been kind to orthodontics, so let's take a look at the kind of choices you and your teen will have moving forward.
Good, ol' fashion metal - probably just like those you wore when you were a kid. These braces usually require the use of bands, which, of course, these days come in a rainbow of colors.
Those allergic to the nickel in some brackets can chose from those made of gold-plated stainless steel instead. How's that for fancy?
Viazi, or Viazis Brackets
These brackets are often referred to as fast braces.
Unlike traditional metal brackets, the Viazi method adjusts both the crown and the root simultaneously. This is opposed to traditional brackets, which move the crown in the first year, and the root in the second.
Viazi brackets are triangular in shape, in part, to accomplish this task.
This system places all the metal and wiring behind the teeth, leaving the front of the tooth obstruction free. The choice is often cosmetic, and like regular metal braces, they can irritate areas of the mouth that come in contact with the metal.
Unlike regular braces, however, the tongue is affected by this irritation with lingual braces, and the braces themselves can interfere with speech. Also, not all orthodontists have been trained in the installation of this system, so you would need to locate one with the certification.
As you might imagine, ceramic braces are in fact made of ceramic composite materials. The biggest advantage to this type of bracket is they tend to blend in with your teeth and are less noticeable.
A famous guy named Tom Cruise wore this type of braces. Like traditional brackets, they do require ligatures (bands) as well.
Self-Ligating (Damon Brackets)
While Viazi braces are known as fast braces, Damon Brackets have been called speed braces.
Damon brackets also work without the need for ligatures and are smaller than metal brackets. They are, however, only used in certain circumstances - your orthodontist can suggest whether your teen is a viable candidate.
This system is actually an aligner instead of a permanent set of braces. It’s used in cases of crooked teeth with no need of significant adjustment.
As the name suggests, they are considered to be nearly invisible and thus have a big cosmetic advantage over traditional systems.
With each passing year comes new advances in orthodontics, so we should expect this list to expand. Be sure to discuss these options with your orthodontist.