Metal braces are the most common type of appliances used for orthodontic treatment. They are particularly popular with younger patients, as colour may be used around the braces making the patients’ smile unique. Nowadays they are smaller in dimension and easily tolerated by patients. They can align crowded teeth and misaligned bites. They require periodic tightening to gradually straighten the teeth. Metal braces are the most popular and most cost-effective orthodontic treatment.
Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, except that they have a tooth-like appearance. Clear braces are discrete and therefore suitable for adolescents and adults, with increased aesthetic requirements during treatment. Clear braces work similarly to metal braces, aligning crowded teeth and misaligned bites. The most popular clear braces used are made from sapphire or ceramic giving a highly aesthetic result. Tooth-colored wires are used making them even less noticeable.
Incognito (Lingual braces)
Incognito is a lingual orthodontic technique where braces are fitted on the inner surface of the teeth and therefore are “invisible”. Lingual orthodontics is suitable for all ages (adolescents and adults) and can be applied to almost all orthodontic problems. Braces are custom made by computer-aided design and manufacturing technology (CAD/CAM). Dr. Economou is certified and skilled in the usage of this demanding technique.
Invisalign® is a popular orthodontic technique for patients with high aesthetic demands during treatment. A series of clear custom-made appliances, the aligners, are used during the Invisalign® treatment. The aligners are only removed for eating, drinking and tooth brushing. Aligners are replaced weekly under the orthodontist’s guidance. The duration of this treatment may span between few months and two years, depending on the severity of the case.
Palatal expanding device “butterfly”
The palatal expander is used to enlarge the maxilla (the upper arch). It is indicated in cases where the upper arch is too narrow compared to the lower. It is one of the most common ways to eliminate crowding and cross-bites. This appliance is cemented in the mouth and a central screw is turned by the parents (daily or weekly) to activate the device based on the instructions of your orthodontist. To obtain optimal results it is used during growth, before the child reaches the age of 14-16.
Removable appliances are most often applied in growing patients to address disharmony in the jaws and muscular system or change the shape of the dental arch. This type of treatment is important to take place in early age before the patient reaches the growth spurt. Removable appliances can be used as a single treatment in young patients. However, a second phase of treatment is often required with the use of fixed appliances in the permanent dentition.
Mini-screws are very small devices used in selected orthodontic treatments. They are temporarily fixed to bone and connected to a tooth or a segment of teeth to slowly move them during treatment. Mini-screws are placed atraumatically and are removed when the treatment is completed. Mini-screws are used to close spaces between teeth, to move molars backwards and create space, to correct an open bite, or even align a single tooth. They are also used for borderline surgery patients, who can now be treated by taking advantage of the biomechanical properties of mini-screws.
Often orthodontic problems are associated with a poor relationship between the upper and lower jaw. In mild/moderate cases, orthodontic interception while the patient is still growing can solve the problem. When the problem is severe and the patient is out of growth, orthodontic treatment alone cannot treat this kind of malocclusions. Therefore, a combination of orthodontic treatment and orthognathic surgery is a solution in this kind of cases.