With the speed at which technology progresses nowadays, it should come as no surprise that the field of orthodontics is much different than it was 20 years ago. The days of one-size-fits-all braces, frequent office visits and painful adjustments are thankfully long behind us.
Twenty years ago, you either had braces or you didn’t. They were comprised of standard silver bands, brackets and wires interlaced with tan rubber bands during the day and often complemented at night with headgear.
Today’s orthodontics offers a wide range of teeth-straightening options. The traditional silver braces still remain a popular option for kids because they are effective and affordable, and now they can be customized to showcase your favorite color, show support for your team or school, or express your sense of style. Rubber bands are available in almost 30 different colors and can be changed at every appointment. WildSmiles® come in fun shapes like hearts and footballs, and Mascot Braces® sport your favorite team’s logo.
Maybe you don’t want to make a statement with your braces. Maybe you don’t want people to see them at all. A very popular less visible option is ceramic braces. While not completely invisible, the clear ceramic brackets blend in with your tooth enamel, making them less noticeable. This is a good option for teens who may be self-conscious about having braces or adults wanting to maintain a professional image at the office.
And of course, there is Invisalign®, so unnoticeable part of the word “invisible” is in the name. Created by Align Technology in 1997 and approved by the FDA in 1998, this revolutionary approach to straightening teeth involves a progressive series of clear, removable trays inserted over your teeth to gradually shift their positions. No brackets or wires required.
Two decades ago there were few things that caused a child more dread than going to the orthodontist. They were painful to put on and painful to adjust. With today’s technology, wires and brackets can be made to fit each patient’s teeth, making insertion easier, and adjustments are not as frequent or severe. Invisalign eliminates the need for adjustments altogether because the trays are progressive and gently move your teeth in the right direction.
Also, fewer teeth are pulled to prepare for braces than 20 years ago, as the industry has learned to shift existing teeth within the space given, and more people have come to understand the importance of early intervention.
Even being fit for braces is more comfortable now. Our office uses a digital scanner to take images of your teeth instead of making impressions with the messy compounds used years ago that felt like they were sliding down your throat.
Straightening your teeth is much less of a time commitment than it used to be. Measurements are quickly taken with a digital scanner instead of waiting for impressions that need time to harden. Fewer adjustments need to be made, which means less frequent trips to the orthodontist and limited time missed at school and work.
For those with minor cosmetic issues, Invisalign offers treatments that can take six months or less, and all Invisalign patients are given 10-12 trays at one time, resulting in a full 12 weeks between check-ups.
If you or your child is in need of orthodontic work, don’t let your childhood nightmares about braces keep you from seeking the perfect smile. Things are much different now, we promise.
To learn more about today’s orthodontic options, call Charleston Orthodontic Specialists at (843) 642-8100.