Orthodontic appliance guide: know everything about it!

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Dr. Natália Morales is a specialist in Endodontics, Implantology, Dental Prosthesis and 3d Dentistry and has been dedicated for 14 years to caring for patients with odontophobia. Reference in humanized care.

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Orthodontics has benefited over the years from technological innovations and new materials that make treatment with dental braces increasingly efficient and comfortable. Today, patients can choose from a wide variety of devices, each with its own particularities, allowing treatment to be personalized according to the specific needs of each individual.

An important aspect that many patients are unaware of is that the value of orthodontic treatment It is not just based on the price of the device, but on the service offered by the orthodontist in its entirety. The device is just one tool within a broader process that involves diagnosis, planning and continuous monitoring. 

This comprehensive guide will provide all the necessary information about orthodontic braces, helping you to make an informed decision and better understand the process involved in the treatment. Continue reading to find out more about the types of braces, their indications, care and the advantages they can offer for your oral health. Let's go?

The image shows an example of a young woman holding a type of orthodontic device.

What are orthodontic appliances?

First, we must understand the basic definition of orthodontic braces. They are devices designed to correct the position of the teeth and jaw bones, contributing to the improvement of the bite, the aesthetics of the smile and the functionality of the dental arch. 

These devices exert constant and gentle pressure on the teeth, promoting their movement in a controlled and targeted manner. Orthodontics uses a variety of devices, each with specific functionalities, adapting to the individual needs of each patient.

There are two main categories of orthodontic appliances: fixed and removable. Fixed appliances, such as traditional metal and ceramic brackets, are adhered to the teeth and adjusted periodically by the orthodontist. Removable appliances, such as transparent aligners and palatal expanders, can be removed by the patient for eating and oral hygiene. 

In addition to correcting dental misalignments, these devices can treat functional problems, such as difficulties with chewing and speaking, as well as preventing future complications related to malocclusion.

What types of devices?

The variety of orthodontic appliances available today reflects advances in technology and materials used in orthodontics. These devices are designed to meet the specific needs of each patient, whether for aesthetic corrections, functional corrections or both. 

Each type of device has its characteristics, indications and advantages, allowing the orthodontist to personalize the treatment to obtain the best possible results. Let's explore the main types of orthodontic appliances:

Metallic fixed braces

Fixed metal appliances are the most traditional and widely used in orthodontics. They consist of metal brackets that are glued to the surface of the teeth and connected by a metal arch. This type of braces is effective for treating a wide range of orthodontic problems, from mild misalignments to more complex cases of malocclusion. The main advantage of metal braces is their durability and efficiency in moving teeth.

Aesthetic fixed appliance

For patients who want a more discreet option, aesthetic fixed braces use ceramic or sapphire brackets, which are less visible than metallic ones. These brackets are designed to blend in with the natural color of teeth, making them a popular choice among adults and teens concerned about their appearance during treatment. While they are just as effective as metal braces, they can be more fragile and require additional care to prevent stains and damage.

Self-connected device

Self-ligating, or self-ligating, devices have a system of clips built into the brackets, eliminating the need for elastic bands (rubber bands) to hold the metal archwire. This design reduces friction and allows teeth to move more freely, which can result in faster treatment with less discomfort. Additionally, self-ligating braces generally require fewer visits to the orthodontist for adjustments, making them a convenient option for many patients.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are an invisible option because the brackets and wires are attached to the inside of the teeth, rather than the outside surface. This type of device is ideal for patients who want a completely discreet solution, such as professionals who work in public environments or who frequently participate in social events. However, lingual braces can be more uncomfortable at first and require more careful oral hygiene due to their position.

Removable device

Removable appliances include devices such as clear aligners and palate expanders. Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are popular because they are nearly invisible and the convenience of being able to remove them to eat and brush your teeth. They are made up of a series of plastic trays that are changed every two weeks to gradually move the teeth. Palatal expanders, on the other hand, are used to widen the dental arch and correct bite problems.

Containment device

After active treatment with braces, wearing a retainer is crucial to keep your teeth in their new position. Retainers can be fixed or removable and are used to ensure that teeth do not return to their original position. Fixed retainers are glued to the back of the teeth, while removable retainers can be removed during meals and for cleaning. 

Each type of orthodontic appliance has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of the best device must be made together with an orthodontist, who will evaluate the patient's specific needs and recommend the most appropriate option to achieve a healthy and aesthetically pleasing smile.

In which cases is each type of device recommended?

Each type of orthodontic appliance is designed to treat specific alignment and occlusion problems. Choosing the ideal device depends on the patient's individual needs, the complexity of the case and personal preferences. 

Metallic fixed braces

Fixed metal braces are recommended for a wide range of orthodontic problems, from mild misalignments to complex bite corrections. It is particularly effective for:

  • Crossbite: when one or more upper teeth close within the lower teeth.
  • Overbite: when the upper teeth excessively cover the lower teeth.
  • Severe misalignment: for cases where significant and precise tooth movements are required.
  • Orthopedic corrections: such as palate expansion in children and adolescents.

Aesthetic fixed appliance

Ideal for patients who want a more discreet option without compromising effectiveness, the aesthetic fixed device is recommended for:

  • Adults and teenagers: who care about their appearance during treatment.
  • Cases of moderate to severe misalignment: where aesthetics are a priority, but the functionality of the fixed appliance is necessary.
  • Long-lasting treatments: where discretion is important for an extended period.

Self-connected device

Self-ligating braces are recommended for patients looking for faster treatment and fewer visits to the orthodontist. They are recommended for:

  • Patients with busy lives: who prefer to reduce the frequency of orthodontic appointments.
  • Cases that require less friction: to move teeth more efficiently.
  • Complex bite corrections: where precise control of tooth movement is required.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are ideal for patients who want a completely invisible solution. It is recommended for:

  • Professional adults: who work in public or social environments and prefer orthodontic treatment not to be visible.
  • Cases of extreme aesthetics: where the visibility of a traditional device can be a problem.
  • Moderate Alignment Fixes: where the initial discomfort of lingual braces is tolerable and manageable.

Removable device

Removable appliances, such as clear aligners and palate expanders, are indicated for:

  • Patients who value convenience: They can be removed to eat and perform oral hygiene.
  • Mild to moderate corrections: where significant tooth movement is not required.
  • Orthopedic treatments in children: such as palatal expanders to correct jaw growth and development problems.

Containment device

After active treatment with braces is completed, the use of a retainer is essential to keep the teeth in their new position. Retainers are recommended for:

  • Post-treatment maintenance: to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.
  • Patients with a history of recurrent tooth movement: that require continuous control to maintain the results obtained.

Each type of orthodontic appliance has its advantages and limitations, and the choice should be made in consultation with a qualified orthodontist. The professional will assess the patient's specific needs and recommend the most appropriate option to ensure effective and satisfactory treatment.

How long does the treatment with the orthodontic device last?

The duration of treatment with orthodontic braces varies significantly according to the complexity of the case, the type of braces used and the patient's individual response to treatment. In general, treatments with fixed appliances, such as metal and aesthetic ones, tend to last between 18 and 36 months. 

Simpler cases, which involve only minor adjustments, can be completed in less time, while more complex corrections may require a longer period. Invisible aligners, for example, can offer results in a shorter period of time, as long as the patient strictly follows the instructions for use. 

Furthermore, the patient's cooperation in following the orthodontist's instructions, such as attending regular appointments and maintaining good oral hygiene, also influences the duration of treatment. Each treatment plan is unique, and your orthodontist will adjust the duration as needed to achieve the best possible results.

How to choose the best type of device?

Choosing the best type of orthodontic appliance is a decision that must be made together with an orthodontist, taking into account several factors specific to each patient. 

The first step is a detailed assessment of the oral condition, where the orthodontist examines the alignment of the teeth, the bite and any existing functional problems. Based on this diagnosis, the professional can recommend different device options. 

In addition to clinical needs, it is important to consider the patient's personal preferences, such as concerns about aesthetics and comfort. For example, adults who want discreet treatment may opt for invisible aligners or lingual braces, while teenagers may prefer cosmetic or metal braces due to their effectiveness in treating a wide range of orthodontic problems. 

The patient's lifestyle must also be taken into account, as some options, such as removable aligners, offer greater flexibility and ease of maintenance. Ultimately, the choice of orthodontic appliance must balance clinical needs, personal preferences and the orthodontist's recommendations to ensure effective and satisfactory treatment.

What is the ideal age to use braces?

The ideal age to start wearing braces can vary, but it is widely recommended that children have an initial orthodontic evaluation around 7 years of age. At this stage, the orthodontist can detect growth and development problems that can be more easily corrected with early interventions. 

Although many people associate braces with adolescence, when most treatments are started, early treatment can prevent more serious problems in the future and, in some cases, reduce the length of treatment needed in adolescence. However, there is no age limit for starting orthodontic treatment. 

Adults of all ages can benefit from orthodontic braces to correct misalignments, improve their bite and the aesthetics of their smile. The decision of when to begin treatment should be based on the orthodontist's professional assessment and the patient's specific needs.

How do I know if I need to use braces?

Identifying the need for braces involves observing certain signs and symptoms that indicate misalignments or bite problems. Some common signs include:

  1. Crowded or excessively spaced teeth: when the teeth do not have enough space and overlap or when there are large spaces between them.
  2. Difficulty chewing or biting: If you have difficulty biting or chewing food effectively, this could be a sign of tooth misalignment.
  3. Crossbite: when one or more upper teeth close within the lower teeth, affecting the aesthetics and function of the bite.
  4. Overbite: when the upper teeth excessively cover the lower teeth, which can cause abnormal wear of the lower teeth.
  5. Prognathism: when the lower jaw is projected forward, resulting in a misalignment of the bite.
  6. Frequent jaw pain: Frequent pain or discomfort in the temporomandibular joint may indicate alignment problems.
  7. Clicking when opening or closing the mouth: Clicking noises in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth can be a sign of misalignment.
  8. Frequent headaches: Recurrent headaches may be related to bite problems or tooth misalignment.
  9. Speech difficulties: Speech problems, such as difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, may be indicative of orthodontic problems.

The best way to determine if you need braces is to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist, who can perform a complete evaluation, including x-rays and impressions of your teeth, to diagnose any problems and recommend appropriate treatment.

The image shows a person wearing orthodontic braces.

How does device maintenance work?

Braces maintenance is a crucial component to successful treatment and involves regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments and monitoring progress. These appointments generally occur every 4 to 8 weeks and are necessary to adjust the braces wires, change the rubber bands (in cases of traditional fixed braces), and ensure that the teeth are moving as planned. 

During these visits, the orthodontist checks the integrity of the device, makes necessary adjustments, and addresses any discomfort or problems the patient may be experiencing. In addition, proper maintenance includes strict oral hygiene at home, using special toothbrushes, orthodontic floss and, in some cases, mouthwash to prevent cavities and gum disease. 

Compliance with these guidelines is essential to avoid complications and ensure that the treatment is completed in the shortest possible time with the best results.


Read too:

>>>> How to treat prognathism with braces: complete guide

What are the precautions before and after installation?

Preparation and care for oral health are fundamental to the success of orthodontic treatment. Taking care of your teeth before installing braces ensures that the oral environment is healthy, facilitating the adaptation process and avoiding complications. After installation, following a specific care routine is crucial to maintain the effectiveness of the device and promote the health of teeth and gums throughout the treatment.

Before installation

Before installing orthodontic braces, it is essential that your teeth and gums are in good health. The patient must undergo a professional cleaning carried out by the dentist to remove any accumulation of plaque and tartar, which can compromise oral health and the success of treatment. Additionally, any existing dental problems, such as cavities or gum disease, should be treated before braces are installed. 

The orthodontist will also perform a series of examinations, including x-rays and impressions of your teeth, to plan your treatment in detail. During this phase, the professional will explain to the patient the type of device indicated, the estimated treatment time and the necessary care. It is crucial that the patient understands all the steps and maintains good oral hygiene from the beginning.

After installation

After installing the orthodontic device, the patient must adopt a strict oral hygiene routine to avoid problems such as cavities and gingivitis. Brushing your teeth after each meal with a soft-bristled brush and using special dental floss for braces are essential measures. In addition, it is recommended to use mouthwash to help maintain gum health. Patients should also avoid sticky, hard or crunchy foods, which can damage the braces or dislodge the brackets. 

Regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments and checks are essential to ensure that treatment is progressing as planned. During these appointments, the orthodontist can adjust the wires and replace the rubbers, in addition to monitoring the patient's general oral health. Following these guidelines helps ensure efficient and successful orthodontic treatment.

What are the advantages of using orthodontic braces?

The use of orthodontic appliances offers a series of benefits that go beyond aesthetics, contributing significantly to the patient's oral health and general well-being. Among the main advantages we have:

Improved facial aesthetics: One of the most visible benefits of using orthodontic braces is the correction of misaligned teeth, which results in a more harmonious and pleasant smile. Facial aesthetics are improved as teeth alignment can improve facial symmetry and overall appearance. A well-aligned smile can increase self-confidence and self-esteem, positively influencing the patient's social and professional life.

Oral health: Straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain. Correcting tooth alignment makes flossing and brushing easier, helping to prevent plaque buildup, cavities and gum disease. With well-positioned teeth, hard-to-reach areas decrease, which reduces the risk of long-term dental problems. Additionally, correcting incorrect bites can prevent uneven tooth wear and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.

Masticatory function: Orthodontic appliances correct the bite, improving chewing efficiency. A proper bite allows food to be chewed evenly and effectively, facilitating digestion and nutrient absorption. Furthermore, adequate chewing function can prevent digestive problems caused by inadequate chewing.

Problem prevention: Correcting dental misalignments can prevent a number of long-term problems. Crooked teeth or an incorrect bite can lead to frequent headaches, neck and jaw pain, and excessive tooth wear. Preventive orthodontics can prevent these problems from developing, promoting oral and general health. Additionally, correcting harmful habits, such as thumb sucking or mouth breathing, may be part of orthodontic treatment.

5 myths and truths about braces and treatment

Orthodontics is surrounded by information and beliefs that do not always correspond to reality. To help clarify these common doubts, we uncover some of the most common myths regarding the use of orthodontic appliances and their impact on oral health. Check it out below and find out what to really expect from your orthodontic treatment.

Myth 1: Orthodontic braces are just for children.

True: The belief that orthodontic braces are exclusive to children and adolescents is mistaken. Adults of all ages can undergo orthodontic treatments to correct misalignments, improve their bite and the aesthetics of their smile. As techniques and materials advance, there are discreet and effective treatment options, such as invisible aligners and lingual braces, which are especially popular among adults. Modern orthodontics allows dental problems to be treated at any age, as long as the patient has good oral health.

Myth 2: Wearing braces makes your teeth rust.

True: orthodontic appliances are manufactured with biocompatible and corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel, ceramic and sapphire. These materials are chosen specifically for use in the oral cavity and do not rust. It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to avoid the formation of plaque and tartar around the brackets and wires, but the braces material itself does not cause rust.

Myth 3: The treatment is extremely painful.

True: During the first few weeks after installing the braces, it is common to feel some discomfort or mild pain, especially after periodic adjustments made by the orthodontist. However, this discomfort is temporary and usually goes away within a few days. Advances in orthodontic materials and techniques have also contributed to significantly reducing pain associated with treatment. Using orthodontic wax and simple pain relievers can help alleviate any initial discomfort.

Myth 4: Invisible braces are less effective.

True: you invisible aligners, like Invisalign, are highly effective at correcting a variety of orthodontic problems, including misalignment, spacing, and crossbite. They are custom made for each patient and changed every two weeks to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. Although they may not be indicated for extremely complex cases, for many patients, invisible aligners provide results comparable to traditional fixed braces.

Myth 5: Orthodontic treatment is merely aesthetic.

True: orthodontic treatment is not limited to improving the appearance of teeth; it also plays a crucial role in oral health and chewing function. Correcting misalignments and bite problems can prevent problems such as abnormal tooth wear, jaw pain, difficulty chewing and even digestive problems. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Thus, orthodontics contributes significantly to the patient's overall oral health and well-being.

Why is OdontoLiuzzi the best option for you to get braces?

A OdontoLiuzzi stands out as the best choice for your orthodontic treatment thanks to the combination of expertise, advanced technology and an unwavering commitment to the satisfaction of our patients. 

Our team of highly qualified orthodontists uses the most modern and effective techniques, guaranteeing precise and aesthetic results. We value your health and well-being, offering personalized service from the first consultation until the end of the treatment. Furthermore, we use state-of-the-art materials to provide comfort and discretion. 

Schedule a free evaluation today and discover how we can transform your smile safely and efficiently. Trust OdontoLiuzzi for superior orthodontic treatment and long-lasting results.


Read too:

>>>> Orthodontic device: 7 tips on how to relieve pain after maintenance

>>>> What is the difference between aligners and braces?

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