Children through teens and even adults may require correction of their jaw bone and tooth alignment. Your family dentists in the Greenville area, Drs. Laura Davila and Norberto Velazquez, recommend orthodontics, or braces, for individuals desiring healthy, straight smiles.
Types of Braces Available
Traditional metal wire and bracket braces are still the treatment of choice for many complex orthodontic cases. Glued to tooth surfaces, these braces exert gradual pressure on teeth to move them into more attractive and healthier positions. On the average, treatment with metal braces takes 2-1/2 years or more, depending on the case. While boasting a long track record of success, metal wire and bracket braces:
- need frequent adjustments at the dentist's office
- pose oral hygiene challenges
- cause sore spots on soft oral tissues and some discomfort as teeth move
- impose dietary restrictions during treatment (no nuts, fibrous vegetables, sticky foods, bagels)
Ceramic or tooth-colored braces function in the same way metal braces do. Cosmetically, however, ceramic braces are more appealing because both brackets and wires can be tooth-colored and therefore, appear far less noticeable. Drs. Davila and Velazquez caution that ceramic braces cost more and are prone to staining.
Lingual braces are preferred by many patients because they are mounted on the tongue-side of the teeth, making them unnoticeable as an individual smiles. Lingual braces do not work for complex orthodontic problems, and they are even more difficult to keep clean than metal braces. Cost is high, and adjustments can be frequent and time-consuming.
Invisalign clear braces provide a practically invisible orthodontic option for older teens and adults who have mild to moderate alignment problems. Made of BPA-free clear acrylic, Invisalign aligners are custom-made in 18 to 30 pairs which are changed out every 2 weeks or so according to the treatment plan. Worn 20 to 22 hours per day, Invisalign aligners are removable for meals, oral hygiene and special occasions such as weddings. Treatment time averages one year, and patients are free of dietary restrictions.
Life after Braces
After your Greenville family dentist removes braces, teeth are cleaned and checked for decay. Most patients wear a retainer for 6 months to a year to maintain teeth in their new positions. Some patients even wear a permanent retainer or splint on some teeth to keep their healthy and attractive alignment stable.
Braces for You or Your Child
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. However, older patients may be checked at any time as life with braces knows no time limit.
If you are wondering about the right kind of braces for you or a loved one, contact Drs. Davila and Velazquez in Greenville. Phone (252) 756-7789.