A Guide to Different Types of Braces

The science behind orthodontics has made some significant advances in recent years. Many people might need to realize all the orthodontic tools we have at our disposal for straightening teeth and correcting jaw issues. Your Melbourne orthodontist has many more options than just traditional braces for treatment. Here’s a guide to some of the many different types of braces offered.

1. Metal and Ceramic Braces

Traditional braces adjusted every few weeks by your orthodontist are still the most well-known appliance. They shift the teeth over time until they reach the desired position. Traditional metal braces are the most common. Ceramic braces are made from tooth-colored materials, so they are less noticeable. Braces can correct many problems, especially when the patient is an adolescent.

2. Invisalign

Invisalign is a system of clear aligners that fit over the teeth and apply pressure to them. The aligners are nearly invisible, so people don’t have to know you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Surveys published by the National Institutes of Health have shown that Invisalign is the most popular choice of orthodontic appliance among adults. The aligners can be removed to enjoy meals and brush your teeth. While Invisalign is a great system, it cannot treat as many orthodontic issues as a traditional set of braces.

3. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces work very similarly to traditional metal and wire braces but are affixed to the backs of the teeth. They provide a more discreet option for treatment than regular braces. Like regular braces, they adjust the teeth over time until they align correctly. 

4. Mouthguards and Night Guards

Many teenage patients still want to enjoy their favorite sports while undergoing treatment with braces. Your Melbourne orthodontist can fashion a custom-fitted mouthguard that fits over the braces for added protection. These are versatile and offer many advantages over the cheaper “boil and bite” mouthguards that can be purchased over the counter.

A night guard is an appliance that can help patients diagnosed with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Patients who grind their teeth at night can experience problems that range from eroded tooth enamel to jaw misalignment and headaches. The guard is custom-fitted, and the patient wears it at night to shield the teeth from grinding.

5. Palatal Expanders

Sometimes, a patient’s upper jaw is too narrow for the teeth to align properly with the lower jaw. A palatal expander has a metal frame that attaches to the upper molars. A small key adjusts the frame, expanding the jaw over time until the upper and lower teeth are lined up properly. Expanders can correct problems like crossbite or overbite in some patients.

6. Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance is a different types of braces that can be used to correct an overbite. It works well in younger patients whose jaws are still developing. A metal frame connects the upper and lower jaws and limits how much they can move. Over time, this adjusts the lower jaw forward until the upper and lower teeth properly align.

7. Distal Jet

A distal jet is an appliance that adjusts a young patient’s molars. This is a good option when the orthodontist wants to create more space in a patient’s mouth before all their adult teeth erupt. Creating more space, the distal jet can help the adult teeth come in straighter and reduce the need for more aggressive orthodontic treatment as they age. This appliance is the more modern version of orthodontic headgear and is much less intrusive.

8. Retainers

Even after your treatment with braces has concluded, you will still need to wear a retainer. This appliance ensures your teeth won’t naturally shift back to their original locations over time. They are a vital tool for retaining the results of your treatment.

Contact Us about Melbourne Orthodontic Treatment

If you are interested in having your teeth straightened and want to know which types of braces will work best, Contact Us at Melbourne Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.