Braces & Orthodontic Appliances
iSmile offers a variety of brace styles to suit different orthodontic treatments. Our most common options are:
- Ceramic braces (clear braces)
- Traditional metal braces
- Functional appliances (plates)
- Invisible braces (Invisalign)
We use a state-of-the-art self-litigating method to hold the wire in place for all of our bracket systems. This allows us to move your teeth a little faster, prolongs the lifespan and durability of the wires and means we no longer use coloured bands which trap food and require more frequent appointments.
The most popular style of braces is the traditional metal frame. Constantly being refined and improved, they are more comfortable now than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, these metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. Patients also have the option of adding coloured elastics for a more unique and colourful smile.
We also offer clear or ceramic braces. These work in the same was as the traditional metal braces but are far less visible because they use clear materials rather than metal. These are most commonly used for teenagers and adults who have cosmetic concerns. They are less noticeable but do require more attention and more diligent oral hygiene. Ceramic braces are larger and more brittle than their metal counter parts and are therefore more often used on the upper front teeth rather than the lower set.
A number of appliances are available which can be used either independently or in conjunction with braces treatment to help us achieve your goal. Here are the most common styles and how they are used.
Maxillary Expansion Appliances
The Expander is for patients whose upper jaw is narrow. The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars and stretching the centre palatal connective suture (the space between the two halves of the upper jaw) each time an adjustment is made. To achieve bone expansion, the Expander is used only prior to completion of growth.
We will show you, the parent or the patient, how to adjust the Expander daily until the palate has been widened enough. It is then left in place for about 10-12 months without further adjustment while new bone fills the suture and healing occurs.
Functional Appliances/Bite Correcting Appliances
One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower, or a Class II malocclusion. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and we use a Class II bite correcting appliance to help this happen.
Here are the four most popular appliances and a brief description of how they are used:
- Clark Twin Appliance – The Twin Block is made up of a removable upper and lower plate, which work together to correct the bite. It is like wearing two appliances, one of which fits the upper jaw while the other fits the lower. These two pieces work together to bring the lower jaw forward. This appliance is generally utilised in younger children between the ages of 8 and 12 and requires compliance as it can be removed by the patient.
- Herbst Hank – The Herbst Appliance is a fixed functional appliance that reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. Somewhat similar in function to the Twin Blocks, the Herbst Appliance consists of crowns cemented over your back teeth. The upper crowns have tubes attached to them that are connected to two rods on the lower crowns. This postures your lower jaw forward. The arms are screwed in place to the crowns allowing you to move your jaw forward, open and close your jaw, but not move it back. This orthopaedic appliance helps correct jaw and tooth imbalances in which there is an underdevelopment of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw. The Herbst appliance is usually worn for about 10 to 12 months, followed by an additional period of time in fixed orthodontic appliances (braces). This appliance is fixed in the mouth so compliance is not an issue as the patient cannot remove the plates.
- Forsus Fixed Class II Correcting Springs – The Forsus is a fixed appliance used for dental asymmetry corrections when higher force is needed than can be supplied by elastics alone. It is also occasionally used when compliance becomes an issue. This appliance is designed to hold your teeth and lower jaw in a different relationship than you usually posture, while still allowing you to open and move your jaw freely. It is placed in the mouth while braces are in place. The objective is to allow the teeth to develop and erupt into a correct biting relationship, thereby eliminating the existing “overbite”.
- Orthodontic Elastics – Elastics are essentially rubber bands attached to brackets, usually between the upper and lower or front and back teeth, applying tension and causing teeth to move. Elastics can be used in many ways depending upon the treatment goals. The patient is able to place these in the mouth themselves.
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands for appliances may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Sometimes they are used to push teeth apart to let new ones erupt properly. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks or floss.
Temporary Anchorage Devices
Mini-implants or temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are simple, small screws that are placed in the jaws to facilitate tooth movements during orthodontics. Often this tooth movement occurs in a manner that could not be accomplished with only traditional orthodontic mechanisms, or would require alternative treatments like head-gear, extractions or surgery and longer, more complex treatment mechanisms. The placement of a mini-implant is a brief, minimally-invasive process that has three parts: anesthesia, placement, and attachment of orthodontic forces. There is minimal discomfort or problems with mini-implants and orthodontic treatment results can be significantly enhanced. TADs are exceptionally helpful little tools when needed.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Our team will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and how long you will need to wear it. Wearing your retainer as directed is vital to prevent relapse of your treatment. We believe in long term retention for a long term result.