Do you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth? Would you prefer nicely aligned teeth for a “Hollywood” smile? At Life Dental & Orthodontics, we have many options for you! If you would prefer inconspicuous wire appliances that gently move teeth with almost invisibly with minimal effect on your speech, then Crozats might be the answer for you! Dr. Hockel’s father, Dr. Jack Hockel, literally wrote the book on Crozats (see https://www.amazon.com/Crozat-Arch-Development-Mechanics-Children/dp/1425181848), and he passed on his extensive knowledge to Dr. Brian Hockel, who now teaches the technique to dentists from all over the world. But this is just one of many approaches that we use here in our office…
“Airway-Friendly Smiles” – our specialty!
We also offer other orthodontic appliances and approaches, including traditional braces, depending on what each patient needs and wants. Orthodontics has come a long way when it comes to straightening crooked teeth. In fact, it can help with a variety of tooth, jaw, and airway issues, not just crooked teeth. Orthodontics can effectively close gaps for crowded or overlapping teeth, fix misaligned or protruding teeth, align a bad bite, and match up dental midlines to help address jaw problems. And you can rest assured that any treatment recommended to you by our team will be an “Airway-Friendly” option, with no teeth ever pulled “backward” in your face, reducing your tongue space and airway volume!
For those struggling with any of these issues, orthodontic treatment can help you eat, speak and even clean your teeth better while giving you a straighter smile.
A Closer Look at Traditional Braces
If the idea of wearing traditional braces for straighter teeth doesn’t appeal to you, you are not alone! Many of our patients prefer more inconspicuous options such as Crozats or clear aligners. However, traditional braces do have their advantages, including the most effective and usually the fastest way to move teeth to their correct positions. Plus, they are not as cumbersome and uncomfortable as in years past.
Like everything else under the sun, modern traditional braces have evolved, thanks to modernized dental technology. Metal bands no longer wind around every tooth. Today, they are typically only placed on one side of specific teeth and slid into a tube on a band for support.
Today’s braces aren’t just sleeker, smaller and less obtrusive, but more comfortable and cost-effective as well. How long these braces are worn depends on your unique needs, but treatment generally ranges from one to three years after which a retainer is worn to keep the teeth in position. (Also, addressing the role of the tongue pushing against the teeth can help keep your nice straight teeth where they are supposed to be.)
What Do Braces Look Like Today?
Modern braces come in durable stainless steel and high-grade titanium. They work with brackets, an archwire and ligature elastic.
Depending on who manufactures them, the silver-colored brackets come in different shapes and sizes and are bonded to the front of each tooth’s surface.
The teeth are then connected to each other with a metal archwire that puts pressure on the teeth being aligned to guide them slowly into their corrected position.
A ligature elastic or metal band can be used to hold the orthodontic wire and braces together; the wire is what moves the teeth while the bracket is an anchor on each tooth. The wires are changed out or tightened during routine orthodontic checkups to keep up the necessary pressure that aligns the teeth.
Who Needs Them?
Traditional braces are a great option for all ages: kids, teens and adults. Particularly popular with kids, they are both durable and cost-effective. Kids also adjust to wearing them fairly quickly as their oral tissues toughen up, so they barely notice them. This is all thanks to today’s metal wires and brackets which aren’t as irritating to soft tissues as braces from long ago.
Plus, the elastic that fits around the brackets come in fun colors that can be changed out at each appointment. This can give children something to look forward to as they show off their personality, celebrate holidays or display team spirit. For teens and adults who prefer a more subtle appearance, the bands are available in neutral silver, gray and white.
How Do You Maintain Your Braces?
You’ll want to follow the guidelines our dentist provides to keep teeth healthy while wearing braces. This means eating approved foods, avoiding excessively crunchy or sticky foods, and brushing and flossing faithfully after meals. You want to protect your teeth against damaging plaque buildup around brackets and prevent permanently stained teeth from lack of oral care.
When it comes to orthodontic therapy, today’s traditional braces are an excellent and common choice when seeking to straighten smile issues. Give us a call today if you would like to know more or want to schedule a visit with Dr. Hockel and our team of dental and orthodontic professionals at Life Dental & Orthodontics.