Engineering in miniature

A lot of “tech” goes into modern braces and this is especially true of the squares that are fixed onto the teeth during orthodontic treatment…we call them “brackets”.

In the olden days

shutterstock_153698363Having a fixed brace a few decades ago was a daunting experience involving the placement of metal bands fitted around each of the teeth…even the front ones.

Colours? Not a chance. The James Bond “Jaws” look was what you got.

Keeping your oral hygiene up to scratch must have been a challenge! And not only would it have taken hours to fit, it must have been seriously uncomfortable.

Modern braces for modern times

Braces these days are quite easy to fit. We use glue to stick the brackets on…no more unsightly bands around the front teeth. Even the brackets have become much smaller and thinner.

This makes braces quicker to fit (usually a fixed brace can be placed in under an hour) and much easier to keep clean with special toothbrushes and mouth washes.

And of course they look nicer. The introduction of colours on braces has meant that many children and young adults actually look forward to wearing their braces.

Adults can now have white ceramic braces. So generations of people who thought that they had “missed the boat” for braces are now getting their teeth straightened.

Precision engineering in your mouth

Brackets act as a handle that orthodontists use to “grab” the teeth, using wires and other things like “elastics”.

But they are more than just that. Each bracket has a “slot” where the wire sits. (If you have a brace on, go to a mirror and see for yourself).

The “slot” in a bracket is a clever piece of precision technology. It is a certain width, depth and angle so that when the wires are tied in to it, the teeth slowly get pulled into the correct angulation. The slots differ by only fractions of a millimetre.

Your upper front teeth need to be moved to a different angulation than your upper back teeth. So each type of tooth needs it’s own special bracket…otherwise the teeth will not look correct at the end of treatment.

Other parts of the brackets are also meticulously designed, including the shape of the corners that allow coloured rings to be attached and the back “fitting” surface where the glue goes. Every bit matters ( well, it does to orthodontists, anyway!).

This is a high tech stuff and the companies that innovate, design and manufacture the brackets invest millions of dollars each year as the global demand for orthodontic treatment climbs ever upwards.

Other brackets are available

White braces work in the same way as the metal ones. They don’t work any better…but they do look great!

Sometimes it may even be better to have a metal rather than white brace on the lower teeth. Your orthodontist will advise you.

Other types of bracket include “self-ligating” braces e.g. Damon braces. These brackets have tiny clips that hold the wires in place instead of using coloured elastics.

Brace care…the key to success

The most important stage of orthodontic treatment is the planning stage…before any braces are fitted at all.

Specialist orthodontists have the training and experience to ensure that safe and effective treatment is provided.

After that, the biggest factor is “patient compliance” including brace care. If brackets are continually broken, treatments can become long and outcomes less ideal.

Orthodontic teams are very thorough in providing the right advice and support to ensure their patients know how to keep their braces in one piece!

Why not take a look at our brace care support section?

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.