Braces in Pearland, TX
Braces are fixed orthodontic appliances attached to the teeth that work to slowly and gently move your teeth into the proper positions. For the vast majority of orthodontic patients, wearing conventional braces will be a major part of treatment. But while they're still quite popular, traditional-looking metal braces are no longer the only game in town! Let's have a look at some of the options available in orthodontic appliances.
First, we should distinguish between fixed and removable appliances. Fixed appliances like braces are attached to the teeth by metal bands or special cement. They aren't taken off until treatment is complete. Removable appliances, such as Invisalign clear aligners, are typically worn 22 hours per day, but may be easily taken off as needed. While clear aligners can be effective in treating mild to moderate orthodontic problems, fixed appliances are generally needed for more comprehensive treatment.
Types of Braces
Typically made of high-grade stainless steel, traditional metal braces remain by far the most common type of fixed orthodontic appliance. They consist of metal bands that wrap around the molars in the back and smaller metal brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. A thin, springy metal wire, running through the brackets, gently guides the teeth into a proper position. This arch wire may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or other types of clasps.
There are many good reasons why time-tested metal braces remain popular — because they offer a reliable, effective, and economical treatment option. In contrast to the appliances of the past, today's braces are actually smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to wear. If you want a less traditional look, you may be able to choose colorful elastics for the brackets or other modifications.
Clear Braces are a new variation on the traditional system that provides a far less noticeable method of treatment. They use the same components as traditional braces — except that the brackets on the front side of the teeth are made of a translucent ceramic material that blends in with the tooth's natural color. This system has become a favorite for adults because they are less noticeable.
Several types of clear braces are currently available, and the technology is constantly improving. Their aesthetic appeal is undeniable... but there are a few tradeoffs. The clear brackets can be less durable than their metal counterparts; plus, while the brackets themselves don't stain, the elastic bands that attach them to the arch wire do (however, these are generally changed each month.) Clear braces also cost more than metal — but for many people, the benefit of having an inconspicuous appliance outweighs the costs.
Invisalign® Clear Aligners
Removable clear aligners offer adults and teens a nearly invisible alternative to traditional metal braces. They also allow easy cleaning of your teeth each day and can even be taken out for important social occasions. Learn more about Invisalign and Invisalign for Teens.
Braces for Children and Adolescents
Orthodontic treatment can resolve a number of bite problems, which often become evident by around age 7. These include underbite, crossbite or excessive overbite, where upper and lower teeth don't close in the proper position; open bite, where a space remains between top and bottom teeth when the jaws are closed; and crowding or excessive spacing, where teeth are spaced too close together or too far apart.
To correct bite problems, teeth need to be moved — but doing that isn't as hard as you might think! Teeth aren't fixed rigidly in their supporting bone; instead, they're held in place by a hammock-like structure called the periodontal ligament, which is very responsive to forces placed on the teeth. Orthodontic appliances move teeth by careful application of light, constant pressure. This force can be applied via metal wires that run through small brackets attached to the teeth (braces), or via the semi-rigid plastic of clear aligners.
Having orthodontic treatment in childhood is ideal in order to take advantage of a youngster's natural growth processes to help move the teeth into proper alignment. Like the rest of the body, the teeth and jaws are now changing rapidly.
Hygiene & Post-Orthodontic Care
When teeth are
misaligned or crooked, it may make it harder to brush and floss
properly. Bacteria and plaque can begin to build up and cause further
issues to develop. Once your smile is straightened, it will be much
easier to keep your smile clean and free of plaque and tartar. In the
meantime, if you are wearing conventional braces, you must adapt your
normal oral care routine in order to thoroughly clean around and
under the brackets and wires on your teeth.