Esthetic Orthodontics 101
It may be surprising to some of you, but I am going to begin our discussion of esthetic choices for orthodontic treatment with metal brackets. I know, you are thinking “what an orthodontist!” However, by the end of this blog, I hope that you will see that there is really no better place to begin! You see, NOT all orthodontic brackets are created equally, and I could spend the next several blogs talking about the wonders of this little masterpiece of engineering wonder. At the risk of not boring those of you who are not in the dental field, I will limit my discussion of the advantages of this bracket solely in regards to ESTHETICS.
This is a Speed bracket and it is THE MOST esthetic metal orthodontic bracket on the market today. Now before you say, “A metal orthodontic bracket cannot be esthetic.” Let me show you some brackets from the past and present. 30 years ago, each tooth had a band that went all the way around the tooth which obviously was not very esthetic. When bonding brackets directly to the teeth became possible, the esthetics improved, but orthodontists needed to use little rubber rings to connect the brackets to the wire. These brackets were better than bands in regards to esthetics, but still nowhere near where we are today.
Not so good old days of Full bands. No orthodontist uses these anymore.
Standard brackets with bands on the molars. Most orthodontist still use these style of brackets.
Our brackets (made by Speed Systems) are much smaller than traditional brackets!
Here is side-by-side comparison between speed braces and some of the other brackets (both metal and ceramic). You can easily see how much smaller the speed brackets are which (of course) means BETTER ESTHETICS!
Ok, let’s take another look, because there is another feature that will greatly enhance our esthetics of these brackets. Speed brackets have a gate that holds the wire and therefore do not require the rubber rings of traditional brackets.
A patented gate holds the wire to the bracket thus foregoing the need for ligature ties. By using a gate instead of the rubber ligature rings, it not only improves the reliability of the bracket-to-wire connection, but it GREATLY improve oral hygiene! This was actually proven in a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, but here is a patient that shows how much this can make a difference.
Here is a patient that came to our practice with traditional braces and very poor hygiene! We informed him that to finish his treatment we would have to change his brackets to Speed braces that would be easier for him to keep clean!
This is the SAME patient one month after we changed out the brackets to Speed braces! WOW! Hard to believe that this is the same patient, but this is how his teeth looked walking in to our office for his first adjustment with his Speed braces. Much of this improvement can be attributed to better brushing, but I think having the smaller Speed braces without the rubber rings really enhanced his ability to keep his teeth clean! They were this clean at every remaining appointment that this patient had.
“What about colors?” you might ask. We have many patients that really want to decorate their braces with the colors. Of course, we allow them to do so, but only if they are keeping up their part with good brushing!
So there it is, all the reasons that I thought the discussion of “ESTHETIC ORTHODONTICS” should begin with our little metal braces. Tune in next time for the next step toward better esthetics by looking at clear (ceramic) braces.