Types of Aligners

What are Different Types of Retainers?

Orthodontists generally use two types of ortho aligners; removable and fixed aligners. While wearing both aligner types is the same - to prevent unwanted tooth movement - they work differently. 

  • Wire/ Fixed Retainers 

These retainers are made of orthodontic wire and plastic-like material. The wire passes through the inner surface of the front (upper and lower) teeth and is bonded to each tooth using composite resin. Fixed retainers are usually prescribed for long-term treatment or in cases when patients frequently lose or break the removable retainers. They are also prescribed to patients with a higher risk of treatment relapse. Fixed retainers also carry a few drawbacks; tongue irritation and difficulty eating and speaking. 

  • Clear/ Removable Retainers 

As the name suggests, these retainers are made from a transparent polymeric material, like clear aligners. These retainers are designed to fit over the newly-aligned teeth and serve as a physical barrier against unwanted tooth movement. Removable retainers are prescribed when patients only need to wear the aligners during the night. Disadvantages of removable aligners include the frequent need for repair or replacement, discoloration due to food items, and warpage when exposed to heat. 

Ortho retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment; they ensure that you enjoy a set of perfectly aligned teeth and a beautiful smile throughout life. Therefore, wearing your aligners according to your orthodontist’s instructions is as important as wearing your braces or aligners.

Best Braces For Adults

Today, different braces are available for treating a wide range of orthodontic issues. But, how can one decide which braces type is good for them? Don’t worry; in this blog, we offer an overview of different braces types here so you can decide - in consultation with your orthodontist - which braces are best for you, depending on your dental needs and budget.

Overall, there are two main types of braces: fixed and removable.

Fixed Braces

These braces are fixed appliances that are bonded to the front surface of teeth and cannot be removed. These include the traditional metal braces, regarded as the gold standard for orthodontic treatment. However, despite their excellent effectiveness, many patients do not like these braces due to their unesthetic metallic appearance. Moreover, these many braces wearers often find them to be uncomfortable, as their sharp edges can cause soft tissue damage. To overcome this problem, other, more esthetically pleasing fixed braces were introduced: ceramic and lingual braces.

  • Ceramic Braces - these braces are made of tooth-colored ceramic, while the orthodontic wires are coated with a tooth-colored material to make them inconspicuous. These braces are also bonded to the front surface of the teeth, just like metal braces. However, since the brackets and wires are tooth colored, they are virtually invisible when worn. Ceramic braces are generally as effective as traditional braces. However, they are more expensive and are also not suitable for patients with a habit of teeth grinding.
  • Lingual Braces - these braces have the same design and appearance as metal braces. However, these brackets are invisible as they are bonded to the inner (lingual) surfaces of the teeth. Lingual braces are sometimes not suitable for individuals who have a deep bite. Furthermore, lingual braces may make teeth cleaning more challenging.

Removable Braces

The most commonly used type of removable braces is clear aligners. These aligners are made of a flexible transparent material, making them virtually invisible. These aligner trays are worn over teeth and designed to force the teeth into optimal occlusion and alignment. In addition, since these aligners are removable, you can take them off for brushing and eating. Hence, you can enjoy all your favorite foods without restrictions and can maintain optimal oral hygiene.

Furthermore, since the aligner trays are made of a flexible polymer, they cause less toothache and discomfort than fixed braces. Hence, removable aligners are a comfortable, convenient, and inconspicuous alternative to fixed braces.

How long do braces for adults take?

The time required for treatment with braces depends on various factors. Some of these include:

  • The severity of the Orthodontic Problem - as a general rule, the more complex or complicated an orthodontic issue is, the longer it will take for complete treatment. For example, mild to moderate tooth crowding or spacing can be fixed with braces within 6-8 months. However, more complicated issues involving the dental bite require between 36-40 months for completion.
  • The Type of Braces Used - the speed of your treatment also depends on the orthodontic appliance used. For example, removable braces such as clear aligners are suitable for rapidly treating mild to moderate issues. However, complex issues are treated faster with fixed braces.
  • Patient Compliance - patient complaince is one of the most crucial factors when undergoing treatment with different braces. As a general rule, the more you adhere to your dentist’s instructions regarding your braces care and use, the faster you will be your treatment and vice versa. For example, if you keep dislodging your braces or if you don’t wear your removable ones for the prescribed amount of time, your treatment will be considerably prolonged.
  • The Dentist’s Skill and Experience - if you are undergoing treatment with an experienced dentist, you can expect your treatment duration to be considerably shorter. Similarly, a specialist orthodontist, who has undergone additional training to treat orthodontic problems, can treat your problem faster than a general dentist. So, it is a good idea to visit an experienced and specialist orthodontist for your braces treatment.
  • The Patient’s Oral Health - generally, the better a patient’s oral hygiene is, the lesser time it will take to move and realign their teeth. Studies have shown that poor oral hygiene negatively affects tooth movement and hence, prolongs orthodontic treatment.




How do I know if I need braces?

Dental Braces: Everything you Need to Know

As people are increasingly becoming self-conscious of their appearance and smile, the demand for orthodontic treatment has also increased exponentially over the years. Today, people of all ages are considering braces to get their teeth alignment and enjoy a charming and attractive smile. If you are also concerned about your crooked or misaligned teeth and are thinking of treatment with braces, this article is for you. So, continue reading to learn more about dental braces and how they can help you enjoy a beautiful, balanced smile.

How do I know if I need braces?

The primary purpose of orthodontic treatment with braces is to restore the optimal alignment of crooked and misaligned teeth. This is because misaligned teeth create a significant esthetic concern and affect one’s ability to eat and speak normally. Hence, if you have teeth that are not aligned properly, you may be a candidate for getting braces. Some of the conditions that may require the need for braces include:

  • Tooth crowding
  • Excessive spaces between the teeth, or diastema
  • Underbites - a condition where the lower teeth extend farther than the upper ones.
  • Deep bites - this is a condition where the upper teeth extend farther or overlap their lower counterparts.
  • Open bites - a condition where the upper and lower teeth do not mate properly when the mouth is closed, resulting in a distinct “lisp” in one’s voice.
  • Refinement of tooth alignment to improve one’s smile and facial esthetics.
  • Tooth wear - if you are experiencing excessive wearing of your teeth, it may be because of the improper alignment of the upper and lower jaws. Such as situation can also result in temporomandibular joint disorders.

However, you alone cannot decide whether you need treatment with braces.

  • The Treatment Planning Phase - First, you should consult your dentist and express your desire to get braces. They will perform a detailed clinical examination and evaluate the x-ray images, and study models of your teeth. Based on the obtained information, they decide whether you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment and, more importantly, which type of braces would be most suitable for you.

For example, your dentist may recommend fixed braces or Invisalign aligners if you have mild to moderate tooth crowding. On the other hand, the treatment of complex cases may sometimes require a combination of braces treatment and reconstructive jaw surgery.