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All Posts in Category: Braces & Retainers

The pros and cons of four types of braces

Do you need braces? If so, there are several options to choose from.
In this post I describe four types of braces we offer at Turner Lim.

If you find this useful please share. If you have any questions, please leave a comment at the end.

1: Metal braces

metal braces

When you think about braces, you’ll more than likely picture those made of metal — they are certainly the most common.

Metal braces are made from high-grade stainless steel and rubber bands are used to attach the wire. Thankfully, these days, metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and nicer looking than in days gone by.
Metal braces now use heat-activated archwires that use your body heat to move your teeth quicker and with less pain.

Pros: Metal braces are the least expensive. The o-rings also come in a variety of colours, which allow children to express their personalities.

Cons: They are the most noticeable of all types of braces.

2: Ceramic braces

creamic braces

Ceramic braces are popular with adults. This is because they are made of translucent material, which is less noticeable. Some come with tooth-coloured wires, which make them even more appealing.

Pros: They are less visible than metal braces and move teeth faster than clear plastic aligners (Invisalign).

Cons: They are also more expensive than metal braces.

3: Self-ligating braces using the Damon System

Damon System

Traditional braces apply pressure by using o-rings to push your teeth into position. Damon braces, on the other hand, don’t use o-rings or metal-tie wires to hold the arch wires in place. Instead, they use a sliding mechanism. Though your teeth are still forced into position, they can move freely. As a result, you may experience less pain.

Pros: Compact and can be easier to clean. Though debatable, you’ll likely experience less pain.

Cons: They are expensive compared to other types of braces.

4: Invisalign®

invisalign

Invisalign uses a series of 18 to 30 mouth-guard-like templates (called aligners). These templates are generated by computer simulation and can be removed every two weeks.

The Invisalign system is suitable for adults or teenagers with particular bite problems.

Pros: You can eat and drink what you want. The aligners are clear and almost invisible.

Cons: Invisalign is not effective for serious dental problems. It is a more expensive option and the aligners can get mislaid easily.

Don’t forget about a retainer

Once your braces come off, you still need to wear a retainer. If you don’t, all the progress you’ve made will be wasted as your teeth move out of alignment.

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What is SureSmile and why should you be interested?

Have you heard about SureSmile? Actually, it is quite likely you haven’t because, despite the fact that orthodontists in the United States and Australia have been using it for a number of years, SureSmile is quite new to New Zealand.

Turner Lim Orthodontists was actually one of the first New Zealand orthodontic practices to adopt Suresmile technology — first in the North Island

Let me explain why …

What is SureSmile?

You could describe SureSmile as a reinvention of orthodontic treatment. For the patient, the benefits are significant. They include:

• fewer visits to the orthodontist
• less discomfort
• higher-quality results.

How does SureSmile work?

Using an OraScanner — a wand that works like a 3-D camera — your orthodontist takes pictures of your teeth. These are sent to a computer and a detailed 3-D model is constructed. Using this model, your orthodontist can see how your teeth fit together from any angle. And by using virtual tools, which come with SureSmile software, they can determine the final position of your teeth and the best plan for your treatment.

 

orascanner

The OraScanner taking 3-D images of a patient’s teeth.

Sometimes your treatment will start with a scan of your teeth using a Cone Beam Computer Tomagraphy (CBCT). A CBCT scan allows your orthodontist to see the position of your teeth as well as their roots.

Once a treatment plan is determined by your orthodontist, a robot bends a memory alloy archwire in accordance with your prescription. The archwire, once fitted to your teeth, then delivers gentle, consistent forces to move them directly to the desired position.

robot shaping archwire

Robot shaping archwire

To see how this works, view this video.

So, why is SureSmile better?

As I mentioned, there are three key benefits — fewer visits, less discomfort and higher-quality results. Let me explain these benefits in more detail …

Fewer visits to your orthodontist

SureSmile treatment is on average 29% faster than traditional treatment. This is due to the unprecedented precision made possible by the 3-D imaging and the use of a robot to bend the archwire. The archwire will push your teeth in multiple directions to exactly where your orthodontist prescribes — first time around.

So, this means the need for manual adjustments is reduced considerably and your treatment is completed much faster.

Less discomfort

If you know someone who’s worn traditional braces, the chances are they’d say they weren’t very comfortable.

With SureSmile, the system is engineered to maximise the efficiency of each wire — each wire provides smoother movement for a more comfortable experience.  Also, due to the precision of the technology, you don’t have to experience so many uncomfortable adjustments in the orthodontist’s chair.

Higher-quality results

With traditional braces, your orthodontist adjusts the wires manually. As already mentioned, SureSmile wire is adjusted to your prescription by a robot — to a level of precision that no human can match. And when the wires are put in place, each tooth moves directly to the prescribed position. It is this precise movement that produces superior results.

So, I hope this post explains why SureSmile is so good. If you found this useful please share. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

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Why do I have to wear a retainer?

If you’re about to have your braces removed, no doubt you’ll be pretty happy. After all, they’ve probably been an unwelcome resident of your mouth for months, maybe years. Well, don’t get too carried away — your treatment isn’t over yet. You’ll still need to wear a retainer.

Retainer

It’s important to wear a retainer after your braces are removed.

Why wear a retainer?

Your orthodontist has probably spoken to you about retainers. But if not, let me explain.
In days gone by, once your braces were removed, that was it. However, we now know that retainers are important for keeping your teeth in position.

You see, braces work by applying pressure on your teeth to make them straight. However, when your braces are removed, your teeth still have an inclination to move make to their original crooked positions — it takes time for your mouth to adapt.

Wearing a retainer is a crucial part of your treatment. If your orthodontist tells you to wear one, do it — if you don’t, your teeth will move out of alignment and all the hard work that you and your orthodontist has achieved will be wasted.

How long should I wear a retainer?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t straight forward — it depends on your situation. When your braces are removed, your orthodontist will make an assessment of your smile, teeth and bone structure. Normally a patient wears a retainer day and night for 6 to12 months. Then, they are usually able to cut down to just wearing it at night for 6 to 12 months.

Without wanting to scare you, ideally, wearing a retainer should be a life-long commitment. However, this may mean just wearing it 1 to 2 nights per week, long term.

Different kinds of retainers

There are three kinds of retainers:

1. Metal retainers (bonded retainers) — these are thin strips of metal going across your teeth and are glued to your teeth with dental resin. These are usually worn long-term.

2. Plates — impressions are made of your teeth. This involves your orthodontist filling a tray with a putty-like substance and placing a tray into your mouth and over your top teeth. These are then used to make a special individual plate that fits only you.

3. Clear trays — once the impressions have been made, clear retainers will be made for you — one for your top teeth and one for your bottom teeth. If you are a habitual tooth grinder, clear retainers are good for protecting the surface of your teeth.

Your orthodontist will work out which retainer(s) is best for you after your braces have been removed.

How do I look after my retainer?

Your mouth is home to bacteria, plaque and left over bits of food. So, you should clean your retainer daily. However, not all retainers are cleaned the same way (there are some retainers that you shouldn’t clean with toothpaste, for example), so ask your orthodontist about what’s best for you.

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