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Types of orthodontic appliances

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If you are a teenager or an adult and are considering orthodontics to straighten your teeth, it is important to know the options available. To choose the right orthodontic appliance you need to consider the complexity and duration of the treatment, your lifestyle and your budget.

At the Bracchetti Dental Clinic, we offer both fixed appliances, usually used for the orthodontic treatment of children and part of adolescents, and removable appliances, characterized by discreet visibility and excellent aesthetic characteristics and typically requested by adults who evaluate the possibility of undergoing orthodontic treatment. In fact, in adult orthodontics, invisible aligners, such as Invisalign, are the most requested.

What orthodontic systems do you offer in your practice?

We offer fixed braces - which means that the braces are attached to the teeth - which can be both traditional (metal) braces and transparent aesthetic braces made of ceramic. Both have the same properties and tooth alignment effectiveness, but the ceramic attachments are considerably less visible.

We also offer Invisalign removable braces, which are clear plastic aligners that are very discreet and almost invisible, making this option the most popular among adults.

Why do you use these specific straightening systems?

The orthodontic systems used in our practice are those that we believe to be the most effective and that over time proved to have the best results. The companies we have chosen are the most consolidated, reliable, and internationally recognized because they invest in research and make continuous changes to their equipment, in line with the most recent discoveries in the field.

Unitek's Clarity bindings, for example, offer an excellent aesthetic alternative and excellent results.
Invisalign also invented the system based on the use of transparent aligners and constantly invests in research and updating of its system. This makes it one of the most advanced products on the market with results of a very high standard in terms of quality, efficiency and technology.

It goes without saying why we have chosen to use these braces for our patients.

What are the advantages that each different device offers?

Fixed appliances require minimal cooperation from the patient. Basically, the patient must maintain an adequate level of oral hygiene and show up regularly for appointments, possibly without breaking or deforming the appliances. This is why we often recommend fixed appliances for teenagers. Transparent fixed braces are a little more delicate and fragile and therefore need some extra attention, but this is rarely a problem.

Invisalign, on the other hand, is ideal for patients who want a device that is as invisible as possible and that has a minimal impact on their social life. The interval between appointments can be longer than with fixed braces, visits are shorter and it is easier to keep teeth clean. However, it is necessary to remove the braces every time you eat or drink, which requires greater cooperation from the patient. The aligners are also less painful, in the sense that the force applied is lower and therefore the soreness they cause on the teeth in the first hours after application is less than with fixed equipment.

How do systems differ in terms of maintenance during treatment?

One of the most critical considerations is that relating to oral health. Regardless of the treatment you choose, you will need to spend more time caring for your teeth and gums, even though you may have a busy lifestyle. If you choose Invisalign, you need to brush your teeth after each meal as well as thoroughly clean the aligners before putting them back in your mouth. Even fixed appliances require careful hygiene after each meal, and during treatment it is advisable to slightly modify the diet. Food that is too hard or sticky could damage or make it difficult to remove food debris from appliances. Very crunchy foods are also the most difficult to eat, it would be better to avoid them or cut them into small pieces in order to minimize chewing and trauma to the appliance.

Once the fixed orthodontic appliances are in place, there is a reduced request for collaboration from the patient. Everything takes place during appointments.

The invisible aligners on the other hand must be worn for 22 hours a day, removed every time you eat and then repositioned immediately afterwards. When brushing your teeth, you have to remove the aligner and brush it. Removal of the aligner can be done with a special hook.

When using the aligners it is recommended to carry out chewing movements at regular intervals. You will be given some "chewies", small pieces of gum that you have to chew to activate and release the substances in the bone that facilitate tooth movement; the more often you do it, the more effective and faster the movement will be.

You will be given a box to store the aligners and you will be asked to bring all the aligners with you to your appointment because you may have to go back a step or two during the treatment. It is also good to have the last used aligner always at hand in case of breakages or problems with the aligner in progress.

Are there any cost differences between systems and why?

The prices and duration of treatment with fixed and removable equipment are quite similar. The efficiency is the same for both systems, so the choice between the different types of equipment is based only on your choice of whether to prefer a removable "invisible" device rather than having a fixed device.

How will different orthodontic systems improve and modernize even more? What developments do you hope to see in the future?

Anything that speeds up treatment and reduces the time it takes to get the same results will be well received by most patients. Invisalign is working to decrease the number of appointments needed and lengthen the intervals between appointments for patients; instead of seeing patients once a month, we can already see them every 6-8 weeks, which saves them time.

Studies are also being carried out on the speed of dental movement induced by orthodontics, as well as on how surgery could speed up the process of orthodontic movement; this would make orthodontic treatments increasingly efficient in terms of time and therefore of treatment costs.

What is the right orthodontic system for my teeth?

Both fixed and removable appliances are efficient. Both can provide optimal results for any orthodontic need. The Invisalign system is more discreet, but some fixed ceramic systems are also much less visible than traditional metal ones.

To further discuss your options for aligning your teeth, you can book an initial appointment with our orthodontist specialist. You will then be able to ask all the questions you wish and discover the ideal system for your orthodontic needs.


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