Metal braces have been used successfully in orthodontics for more than a century – mainly because of their many advantages.
- High durability – these are reliable braces that can cope with the most complex bite defects and severe crowding of teeth. They almost never break and are more difficult to damage with hard foods;
- high speed of treatment – how long metal braces are worn is determined individually, but they give the desired results relatively faster;
- Resistance to pigments – these braces can safely be worn by lovers of black tea, coffee, bright berries and fruits, and sodas with dyes;
- Affordable cost – this is the most economical way to correct bites among other types of braces.
- But some disadvantages of metal braces are also highlighted. Although manufacturers are constantly improving the appearance of the system – making small locks, offering solutions in the form of self-ligating metal braces without rubber bands – this solution continues to be less aesthetic. Metal braces cannot compete in beauty with sapphire and ceramic braces.
Another disadvantage may be an allergic reaction to a certain metal – this is a rare case, but those patients who have already experienced unpleasant symptoms should find out what alloys the braces are made of. The most common is a reaction to nickel, which is included in the composition of the arcs. But this is not a barrier to treatment – the doctor will choose the design from the appropriate material individually. For example, BIOMIM ligature braces are made of both nickel-free and nickel-free alloys.
Types of Metal Braces
According to the place of installation to the tooth surface, there are vestibular and lingual braces. The former are placed on the front surface of the teeth, while the latter are placed on the inside. Vestibular braces are more universal, achieve the desired results faster, and do not affect speech.
Fixation of metal braces on the inside deprives them of one of the main disadvantages, which is non-aesthetic appearance, but this solution has its own indications and contraindications. In some cases, the doctor will suggest vestibular braces only, as lingual ones will not cope with the task or the braces will last longer, which is not always suitable for patients. It takes longer to get used to these types of braces and may be accompanied by temporary diction disorders.
There are also self-ligature and non-ligature metal braces. With ligature braces, the arch is secured with elastic rings or a metal wire. Non-ligature metal braces have the same elements, but instead of self-ligatures they have clips with a snap-on cap which fix the arch in the bracket slots. This option requires fewer visits to the orthodontist, but it is also more expensive.
When choosing between ligature and non-ligature braces, the doctor first evaluates the potential of the design. Effect on the bite, speed of correction, and patient comfort are the main criteria for selection.
Braces From Different Manufacturers
Biomim metal braces
Biomim metal braces are manufactured by the American company OC Orthodontics. The compactness of the braces as well as the minimal friction of the arch in the grooves during treatment provides maximum wearing comfort as well as reliability and resistance to stresses. These braces are smooth and have rounded edges to minimize mucosal trauma. Patients can choose from metal alloy braces with or without nickel. These are the least expensive of all braces.
Damon Q metal braces
Damon Q metal self-aligning braces are a small-sized design. The rounded edges and streamlined shape of each bracket make orthodontic treatment comfortable and hygienic. What distinguishes these braces is the innovative way to open the lid – the mechanism is reliable and reduces the chance of breakage to a minimum. It is easy for the doctor to open the bracket, so the change of the arc is very fast and comfortable.
Victory metal braces
These braces by the manufacturer 3M Unitek are considered one of the most attractive of all metal braces. These are ligature systems, and the ligatures are available in the brightest and most varied colors. The manufacturer has also taken care of the anatomical shape of the clasps. The surface of the base makes it easy to install, and these braces are also reasonably priced.
Metal braces H4
The American manufacturer OrthoClassic paid special attention to aesthetics during the production of H4 self-ligating braces. These braces are characterized by a compact and low profile, which guarantees the comfort of the treatment. H4 systems are made of smooth hypoallergenic metal. They are inferior to ceramics in aesthetics, but due to the reduced size they are more comfortable than traditional metal braces. They are attached just above the middle of the dental crown, so in many cases, they are less visible than other models.
Clip SL metal braces
SmartClip SL is a self-ligating metal bracket with clips made of a nitinol alloy. This material is characterized by shape and force memory – the mechanism holds the arch in the groove of the braces and releases it when the pressure increases. This ensures comfortable wearing of the braces. The nitinol clip and latching mechanism allows quick and easy replacement of the arch, and so you spend less time in the orthodontist’s chair.
Which Metal Braces to Choose?
The choice of the type of metal braces is largely determined by the clinical situation: the doctor will consider the type of bite anomaly, select the appropriate options based on individual features and preferences. Ligature braces are usually recommended in complicated cases and when the doctor needs to achieve the results in a short period of time. Self-ligating braces are more expensive, but they are more comfortable to wear as they are characterized by an easier and shorter adjustment period.
The orthodontist will explain the differences between the different types of braces and help you choose the best method of bite correction, which will solve your orthodontic problem quickly, efficiently, and painlessly.
Metal Braces Installation Procedure
Before the installation of metal braces, preparations are made. The diagnostic phase includes not only taking x-rays of your jaws, but also having your mouth examined by a doctor. If symptoms are found, it is important to consult a dentist, such as a periodontist for inflamed gums or a dentist-therapist for cavities.
As part of the diagnostic phase, photographs are often taken from different angles. The orthodontist will also take impressions of the jaws to make a plaster model in a dental laboratory.
Professional tooth cleaning is a must – removal of tartar and soft plaque. A smooth enamel surface is an important condition for a secure fit of the braces.
Your doctor will draw up a plan of orthodontic treatment based on all the available data. After the diagnostic stage, the application of metal braces follows. The doctor glues the bracket to each tooth in turn, securing the dental glue with a UV light. If the braces are placed using the indirect method – at the same time – the procedure lasts no more than an hour. If the direct method is used, it can take up to 2 hours. Then the orthodontist connects the clasps and the arch with clasps or ligatures. If necessary, additional elements – rings, hooks, etc. – are fixed at the end.
In many cases, braces are placed on the upper jaw first, and only after a few weeks on the lower jaw. However, braces may also be placed on the upper and lower teeth at the same time. In rare cases, only one jaw is enough, but it is important only in cases of slight distortion of the teeth, which does not affect the patient’s occlusion or bite.
Metal Braces and Oral Care
Treatment with metal braces consists of applying constant pressure on the teeth, so they gradually shift to the correct position. The main role in this is played by the arch, as it tends to assume the original position, which corrects the bite. The doctor replaces the curves with stronger and thicker ones as the patient gets used to them and the teeth move.
During treatment, the patient should see the orthodontist regularly once every 4-10 weeks. During the visit, the doctor activates the orthodontic appliance (changing the dental arches and elastic traction) to align the teeth and close the gaps between the teeth. The frequency of visits depends on the type of braces installed.
Metal braces are strong, so more friction – more pressure is applied to them. This is why the treatment process with metal braces is often shorter. Usually you have to wear the construction for 1.5-2 years, but much depends on the individual case.
It is important to remember that the treatment is not limited to the removal of braces, but it is followed by a retention period, which includes wearing retainers and special mouth guards. This is done to prevent the teeth from shifting back to their normal position. The retainer is kept on the teeth for 2 to 5 years to strengthen the roots of the teeth in their new and correct position. The patient also wears a special removable and transparent mouth guard (plate) at night to better stabilize the results. All these devices allow you to fix the teeth in a new, straight position.
During treatment, it is important to pay special attention to hygiene. It is necessary to visit the dentist-hygienist once every 4 months for a professional cleaning. The doctor will also tell you how to brush your teeth at home – you will need a special toothbrush and toothbrush, floss designed for braces, and if possible, the use of an irrigator. If there is significant discomfort, you can go to the orthodontist unscheduled.