Fixed and removable braces?

woman wearing braces

Clear, removable retainers and why they are popular

Whilst cosmetically, clear removable retainers have risen in popularity they are more suited to the mild to moderate cases of misalignment as they use pressure points to push the teeth back into place. This gentle approach is much more appealing to the older generations who are conscious of their smile at work and in social situations. These retainers are transparent and can be removed by the patient which means for the big events if really needed the retainer can be left out, though this is not advised as it delays the treatment plan.

Whilst living your everyday life these retainers, which cause minimal discomfort, are basically only noticeable when someone is directly in your face and therefore only the patient and the dentist would generally know that a treatment is being carried out. This is one of the leading reasons that this orthodontic treatment is so popular.

Why a fixed brace may be more suitable.

When suffering from severe tooth misalignment such as overbite, underbite or crooked teeth, taking a gentle pushing approach may not be the most effective approach to begin the journey of straightening your smile. Whilst as an adult the idea of wearing a visible brace may deter some people from seeking treatment, modern advances within dentistry thinking and equipment has ensured that even fixed braces have multiple options including the traditional metal wired brackets and tooth-coloured wires and brackets.

The traditional brace method uses small brackets which are bonded onto the surface of the teeth and then uses wires linked between, through the gentle tightening of these wires the teeth are pulled into their new position.

teeth fitted with metal braces

How long do the treatments take?

Each individual case comes with different challenges which is why a specific time length can not be given on any dental treatment. Outside factors carry many impacts on the timing, for instance, the removable retainers may be removed by the patient too frequently or left out for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this means that the end result gets delayed as the repositioning of the teeth requires a consistent amount of pressure on the teeth to hold and guide them. For cases where the plan has been followed precisely, it can take anywhere from 3 months to 12 months but this will always be discussed with the patient. The fixed braces often take a little longer than the retainer method due to the severity of the alignment problem. With this in mind, most cases can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to reach the desired result.

How to know which treatment method is best for you?

As with all treatments and procedures, it is necessary to have in-depth discussions with your dental team as whilst personal preference does have some impact on the resulting treatment it is necessary to have the right dental information first and to follow a treatment plan which will work best for the patient. Whilst cosmetically there may be a more appealing treatment it is important to use the most effective one for the patient’s individual case.

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