January 1st, 2021
Patients will often ask me how orthodontists can move teeth. The process is really quite simple – we stimulate teeth to move by applying a constant, gentle pressure to the teeth. This force acting on the teeth stimulates the bone around the roots of the teeth to remodel. The remodeled bone allows the tooth to move to a new position within the jaw and voila! – your tooth is now straighter.
How the force is applied to the tooth is important in determining the direction and rate of movement. With Invisalign aligners, one of the challenges of moving teeth can be making the aligner apply the correct force to the tooth in the correct direction. Invisalign aligners do not grip teeth the same way braces do because the aligners are removable and slip on and off the teeth. Aligners are not bonded to the teeth like braces. While this is convenient, it also makes it challenging to apply the correct forces to the teeth for tooth movement. One of the ways we have created a work-around for the limitations of Invisalign is by bonding attachments to the teeth. Attachments are little tooth-colored bumps bonded to the teeth. The attachments give the aligner a “handle” to grip the tooth and move it more efficiently like conventional braces would. This allows Invisalign aligners to get closer to the quality and speed of treatment results you might achieve with conventional braces by allowing for a better grip on the teeth and therefore more difficult tooth movements.
If you are interested in improving your smile and self-confidence, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss treatment options with you to find out what would be the best way for you to achieve a beautiful, attractive and confident smile.
April 17th, 2020
Patients frequently arrive at my Phoenix orthodontic office wanting to know what options are available nowadays for treatment with braces. While there are many different manufacturers of orthodontic products in the U.S., most of them offer the same categories of braces with very minor variations.
Standard Metal Braces- This is the most common type of braces with our younger patients and by far the most common in general. They offer excellent strength and durability while sacrificing a little bit on esthetics. This type of braces is also usually the most cost-effective.
Clear braces or “Invisible” braces – This type of braces is often confused with Invisalign, which is a very different treatment from clear braces. Clear braces are made of porcelain (similar to the material used to make tooth crowns or caps) and are the most popular option with adult patients who are not candidates for Invisalign treatment. Many orthodontic offices charge slightly more for this type of braces due to the higher cost of the material. It is an excellent option for patients looking for excellent treatment results while maintaining the highest possible esthetics.
Lingual braces- This type of braces is placed on the inside of your teeth (near your tongue) instead of the outside of the your teeth. The draw of this type of braces is that they are literally invisible to the casual observer. However, you may sacrifice some comfort for this method of treatment compared to other available options and this type of braces also tends to be one of the most expensive due to the additional instruments, wires, and materials that must be used with this type of braces.
Self-ligating braces- There are both clear and metal versions of this type of braces. The difference between self-ligating braces and standard metal and clear braces is that self-ligating braces do not require ties (the colors that kids choose to hold the wire against the brace). These braces are sometimes thought to be a little easier to keep clean and you don’t have to worry about discolored ties. It was once believed that this type of braces reduced the amount of time you would need to spend in treatment by reducing friction. However, there have been several studies published that have shown that assumption to be false.
Invisalign- Invisalign is actually a series of clear plastic aligners – not braces – that are formed to the teeth. Each successive set of aligners is worn for approximately one to two weeks and will gradually align the teeth. While there are limitations to what aligners can do compared to braces, for the right candidate Invisalign can be an excellent treatment option.
March 12th, 2019
Some orthodontists have a very specific list of what foods you can eat and what foods you cannot eat that is given to patients at the beginning of treatment. Personally, I give a list of the foods we most often have problems with but try to avoid long detailed lists and focus more on principles to follow that will minimize any complications with treatment. This approach was inspired by a patient who once came in with a broken brace who had been asked to avoid Hot Tamales but instead ate Mike and Ike’s – a different flavor of the same candy!
The “glue” that is used to place the braces is designed to be strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of chewing, but not so strong that it damages the teeth when the braces are removed. Some of the braces can get loose when really hard or sticky foods are eaten which acts as a safety mechanism to protect the teeth. We would much rather have a brace come loose than have part of a tooth break or fracture. This is the reason for the need to be a little careful about what you eat while wearing braces.
I simply tell patients that anything really hard or sticky should be avoided, but we don’t expect you to eat soup for the duration of your treatment. Ice chewers and taffy lovers are going to have problems. However, most foods can be eaten without any problems with some simple modifications – corn on the cob should be removed from the cob first, apples should be sliced before eaten, etc.
One of the major advantages of Invisalign treatment compared to traditional braces is that there are no diet restrictions because the Invisalign aligners are removable. If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, however, you will find that with a little creativity most of your favorite foods will work well with your braces.
One side note on gum chewing – I actually encourage chewing an occasional piece of sugarless gum in my office because the chewing stimulates the flow of saliva which protects the teeth from decay. There also are studies that have shown if sugarless gum is chewed immediately after the placement of braces, it stimulates the blood flow around the roots of the teeth and helps reduce soreness. There is a small risk that the gum can shift the wires in the initial stages of treatment, but the potential benefits far outweigh the potential hazards. In summary, any concerns you have about what you can eat during your orthodontic treatment should be laid to rest. You can achieve the beautiful smile you want with very little inconvenience. Please contact Budd Orthodontics to schedule a free consultation and we can review the options that will work best for your own treatment.