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At Aurora Dental Care, Nicholas Methven, DDS, and his team believe in empowering you to make your own decisions about your oral health. A vital part of that is understanding your treatment and how we are helping you with the dental services we provide. A comprehensive knowledge of how braces work can help ensure a successful treatment.
The Anatomy of Braces
When braces are discussed, most people just think of the brackets - the squares attached to the front of the teeth, and the wires that connect them. Braces are actually a lot more complicated than that and understanding how all of the parts fit together is necessary to understanding how braces are so effective at correcting misaligned teeth.
The archwire is often the most noticeable part of the ensemble because it wraps around the teeth, connecting each of the brackets. Brackets are what hold the archwire in place to each tooth, and while they are typically metal they can also be made from ceramic or even plastic. The last part, and the part that is often overlooked, are the elastic ligatures. These are what keep the archwires attached to the brackets, and can be given bold colors for some added fun.
Rubber Bands and Spacers
While all braces have archwires, brackets, and ligatures, your braces may have a few other parts too, depending on the unique demands of your orthodontic treatment. Rubber bands are commonly used when there are a few specific teeth that we want to put a little extra pressure on. We may also use a different type of rubber band that is looped around your upper and lower brackets. These bands are removable, and you will be responsible for wearing them daily and swapping them out with fresh ones. To help make space for bands, we may use loops appropriately known as spacers that go between the teeth.
Invisalign - An Alternative to Traditional Metal Braces
The Invisalign process uses a series of clear plastic aligners. When we determine that you are a good candidate for Invisalign, we will create a series of computer models that determine the best way to realign your teeth. From these models, our lab will create a series of Invisalign aligners. Each aligner moves your teeth gradually. You will start out wearing the first aligner and use it for approximately two weeks. You then come in and we check to see if your teeth have shifted as they should have. If they have, you move on to the next aligner. If they have not, you may need to wear the current one for another week or two. Once you are used to the process, you can usually go about six weeks in between visits with us. Once you are done with the last aligner, your teeth should be properly aligned and you never need to wear the aligners again.
Knowing how braces work means that you can make informed, empowered decisions. The best treatment is a partnership between orthodontist and patient. To begin your relationship with Nicholas Methven, DDS and his dental team at Aurora Dental Care, call us at 907-376-8400.