Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both. Orthodontic treatment can focus on dental displacement only, or can deal with the control and modification of facial growth. Orthodontic treatment can be carried out for purely aesthetic reasons with regards to improving the general appearance of patient’s teeth. Today’s orthodontics involves repositioning of the teeth and underlying roots, providing better support for the crown of the tooth. Orthodontic treatment is now associated with the benefits of greater esthetic appeal, increased comfort and reduced treatment time.
Braces work by the following method.
Teeth move through the use of force. The force applied by the arch wire pushes the tooth in a particular direction and a stress is created within the periodontal ligament. The modification of the periodontal blood supply determines a biological response which leads to bone remodeling.
Traditional braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with nickel titanium, and are the most widely used. These include conventional braces, which require ties to hold the arch wire in place, and newer self-tying (or self-ligating) brackets. Self-ligating brackets may reduce friction between the wire and the slot of the bracket, which in turn might be of therapeutic benefit.
Ceramic braces serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending in more with the natural colour of the teeth or having a less conspicuous or hidden appearance. Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are available to be used with these clear braces to help keep the appliances less conspicuous. These ceramic braces, or clear braces, have a higher component of friction and tend to be more brittle than metal braces.