Dental braces is a kind of orthodontic treatment to align crooked teeth.
With advancement of technology, we now have more options when it comes to selection of dental braces. How do we know which type of braces is more suitable? Is it the conventional braces with colourful bands? Or the newer braces which are invisible and removable? Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of braces before deciding which works best for you.
Why do we need braces?
Dental braces can not only align the teeth and improve esthetics, by aligning the teeth, chewing efficiency improves. This also improves the function of our teeth and allow for better digestion and overall better general health. Other than that, well aligned teeth are less prone to tooth decay, food entrapment as well as gum diseases causing premature lost of precious teeth.
What are the types of braces?
1. Conventional braces
2. Self-ligating/ Damon braces
3. Clear aligner/ Invisalign braces
Conventional braces are the most common and affordable type of braces. It comes with colourful bands that are tied to each bracket to secure the wire to the teeth. This is a popular braces type among teenagers due to the option to choose a different colour band each month.
Treatment duration for conventional braces is usually longer. It ranges from 3 years to 5 years depending on difficulty of the treatment.
The advantages of conventional braces is definitely its price point, ability to choose fun colours every month and the strong metal brackets which doesn’t chip off as compared to ceramic braces.
However, there are also a few disadvantages of conventional braces to take note of. The first few days after changing the bands monthly, there will be tightness and discomfort on the teeth. Soft diet is prefered during this period until the discomfort subside. These brackets also have sharp edges that tend to cause ulcers in the mouth and lips. Oral hygiene is a hassle as food tend to get trap around the bands making it difficult to brush and increase the risk of cavity formation around the brackets. Furthermore, as this treatment does not allow for arch expansion, it will sometimes require teeth extraction to create space to accommodate the crooked teeth.
Self-ligating/ Damon braces
Self-ligating or Damon braces is a type of braces that does not have colourful band on each bracket. The wire is held onto the teeth through build-in gate system on the brackets themselves.
Due to the lack of rubber bands, the teeth are freely moving and thus causes less pain and discomfort compared to conventional braces.
Treatment duration for self ligating is sometimes shortened as movement of the teeth are now faster than in conventional type. It can be reduced to 1.5-3 years depending on case severity.
Damon braces a brand of self ligating braces. It is a reputable brand with long track record. The Damon system has a unique design of the bracket which allow for easy care and cleaning. The edges on the brackets are smooth and does not cause ulcers in mouth. Due to the passive bracket system, as well and low force Damon copper NiTi wires, it allows expansion of the arch and thus able to prevent the need for teeth extraction in some cases.
Clear aligner/ Invisalign
Invisalign is a type of clear aligner braces treatment. It is the pioneer as well as the best aligner brand available in the market. With its wide patient data base, treatments are more predictable without any guess work. The end result is portraited in 3D animation and estimation of treatment duration is accurately predicted.
Braces treatment using Invisalign allows for faster result with minimal discomfort. Treatment duration of invisalign is usually 6 months-2 years. It is the best choice for those who wants invisible braces without annoying brackets and wires. The aligner can be removed during meal and therefore patients have no diet restrictions. There is also no fear of brackets dislodge and wire breakage that calls for emergency dental visits.
Each aligner is replaced every 7-10 days. Wear time is 22 hours a day, which calls for strict compliance in wearing the aligners. As it needs a constant force to move the teeth, wear time is especially important. If wear time is insufficient, the teeth might not move into the position predicted and might cause off tracking of teeth, leading to longer treatment period.
Brushing and dental care is not affected as aligners can be removed during brushing, allowing patients to brush and floss as usual.