What is aesthetic orthodontics?

Young adults often feel self-conscious about their appearance. While traditional braces can correct crowding or fix mal-aligned teeth many teens and adults worry about how braces will affect their social standing. Because there is a growing request for aesthetic braces and appliances there have been many new developments including aesthetic archwires and brackets.

The days of having a train-track smile are long gone. Most orthodontic appliances have always been metallic and silver in color. Many years ago orthodontist placed silver bands around each tooth, in addition to large silver bracket’s and a big wire. Treatment and technology progressed to the elimination of silver bands around each tooth, smaller brackets and thinner wires.

At the beginning production of aesthetic orthodontic appliances brackets were made transparent using ceramic or composite material. These clear brackets have gained popularity with patients and orthodontist as the technical performance of the clear brackets has increased.

Recently, coated metallic and fiber-reinforced wires have been introduced to solve additional aesthetic issues. Fiber-reinforced wires are still in the beginning stages and are not widely available. Patients and orthodontist can anticipate good expectations from fiber-reinforced wires in the future. Coated metallic wires are the most widely available aesthetic archwire. Plastic resins are used to coat the metallic wire. There are some concerns about the longevity of the coating and if the coating has an impact on the friction or movement that occurs. If appearance if your main concern, these possible technical disadvantages are unlikely to be a drawback.

But, because appearance may be your main issue the color stability of the clear brackets and coated wire are important. Ideally the color of the aesthetic wire should match the color of your teeth. The aesthetic archwire is produced using the standard array of colors deemed natural in the dental field. These shades are used throughout dentistry for many procedures, for example a composite or tooth-colored filling. The archwire is likely to match your tooth shade when it is placed by your orthodontist, however over time it may become discolored due to foods you eat or beverages you drink.

When deciding what type of orthodontics is appropriate for you many factors are to be considered. Your orthodontist will review your options available and will give an opinion on which option may be best for your particular case. When considering aesthetics the clear brackets are a definite winner. While considering if an aesthetic archwire should be used keep in mind that the color may change over the next 30 days due to discoloring and the lost coating. The additional expense for the aesthetic archwire along with the possibility that treatment time may be extended should be considered. You may find that clear brackets coupled with the smaller, thinner, NiTi archwires are aesthetically acceptable.