Braces Made Better - Recent Advancements in Orthodontics

Posted on: 7 February 2017

Nobody ever really enjoys orthodontic treatment, but between 25 and 50 percent of children need some type of orthodontics to help them improve their smile or make room for all of their adult teeth. There have been a number of recent advances in orthodontic care that can make these treatments less visible, less painful, or more quickly completed than in the past.

New Types of Brackets

The traditional stainless steel brackets used for braces were very noticeable. These days, more adults and teenagers are opting for less visible brackets. These include tooth-colored ceramic brackets and clear brackets. These brackets are still typically connected by metal wires, but these wires are less noticeable with less visible brackets. The downside is that these brackets aren't quite as strong and they need more careful cleaning to keep them from getting stained (and thus being more visible). Those who want to make a fashion statement with their braces can opt for colored brackets instead of clear brackets, which some kids and teenagers find makes the process more bearable.

Lingual Braces

Another alternative for people who want less visible braces is lingual braces. These braces are placed on the inside of the teeth rather than the outside, although this has its own disadvantages. The can't be used for all types of treatment and they aren't as easy to adjust or keep clean. Some people also find them irritating to their tongues.


Those who want to be able to eat and drink more normally and easily brush their teeth sometimes like the idea of the new clear aligners available from the Invisalign system. These aren't typically as good for people who need major changes to the alignment of their teeth, but they can work in cases of mild to moderate realignment. You need to make sure to truly keep them in place for at least 22 hours each day, however, or the treatment process will take longer than expected.

More Customized Braces

With the advent of new software designs, it's now possible for dentists to custom design braces using a 3-D planning software. Because they're patient-specific, they can be more comfortable and may be more effective for creating the perfect smile.

More Comfortable Braces

Another advance is in the system used to link the brackets. New passive self-ligating braces make it so there's less pressure and less friction involved during the adjustment period. They may even make it possible to minimize the need for pulling teeth or using a palate expander. There's also the option to use nickel- or copper-titanium for the wires in the braces instead of the traditional stainless steel. This makes it so people feel less pressure and don't need to have the wires tightened as often.

For more information about your orthodontic options, talk to a dentist like those at Crest Hill Family Dental.