Orthodontics is a discipline of dentistry that consists of moving teeth by changing their position through the use of appliances (brackets or aligners). The objectives of orthodontic treatment are to correct function (bite) and improve esthetics.
The best known orthodontic system, until a few years ago, was the one known as braces. We have all seen children with metal braces. These appliances are based on the placement of metal anchors to the teeth (brackets). These brackets are attached with wires that allow the tooth to slide in different positions until the proper position is achieved within the arch and with respect to the antagonist teeth.
However, orthodontic treatments are becoming more and more widespread among the adult population. This growth in adult orthodontics is driven by the increased demand for cosmetic dental treatment bythe population and the growing need for patients to receive complex interdisciplinary treatment. This has led to the development of new appliances and orthodontic techniques that are better tolerated by adults.
Evolution of orthodontics
Aesthetic brackets, made of sapphire or ceramic, appeared. As they are white, the aesthetics are improved but they still have the inconvenience of hygiene as they are a fixed appliance. Also the lingual orthodontic technique, which consists of placing the brackets on the side of the teeth facing the tongue and palate. This is a system with a high esthetic level as the brackets are not visible, but it is less tolerated by patients due to discomfort.
And finally, the aligners. This treatment is based on the placement of transparent splints that are changed weekly. It is a treatment in which there is no bracket attached to the tooth, therefore, it is more comfortable. Because of their comfort and esthetics, these treatments are very well accepted by adult patients.
Initially, aligner treatments were limited in the type of movements that could be performed. However, in recent years the companies that produce these aligners have made great strides in development and today, the range of movements that can be performed has greatly increased.
Advantages of aligners
- Aesthetics. It is much less noticeable than braces. It goes almost unnoticed.
- It can be put on and taken off if necessary. Facilitates hygiene and meals.
Braces or aligners? It is very important to know that treatment with aligners is not indicated for all patients. Your specialist orthodontist will advise you on the best treatment alternative for your specific case.