Metal braces, the traditional ones, still continue to be the most used device to align teeth and correct imperfections of the bite. Indeed, even if many different types of dental braces are today available, the metal ones retain the unique characteristics, which make them even irreplaceable.
First of all, metal braces are the cheapest device, as they cost on average between 3,000 and 7,000 dollars; the price varies according to many factors as the place where the orthodontist or the dentist works, the length of the treatment, the materials used.
Secondly, traditional braces are the faster way to realign teeth; finally, some types of imperfections can not be treated if not with metal braces, such as severely crowded teeth, narrow palate, misaligned jaws.
However, advances in technology have also changed the traditional metal devices, which today are more technical, light, comfortable and colourful.
Metal braces are made of stainless steel, usually, consist in brackets attached to the front of the teeth and an archwire that guide the movements of teeth and jaws; traditionally the archwire is connected to the brackets by rubber bands or metal wires. Using the tiny elastics, called ligatures or o-rings, the orthodontist changes each time the embrace of braces and control the movements of teeth.
Today, metal braces are lighter and thinner. Some of them have new heat-activated archwires that use the heat of the body to move teeth, some have brackets that don’t need ligatures, and these are called self-ligating braces; moreover, it is possible to choose braces partly of metal, partly of ceramic (so-called Damon technology).
Patients, especially the younger, can choose among brackets of different form, or they can choose the colour of the brackets and the elastic, to customise their braces.
Otherwise, metal braces can also be made of gold, for a more glamour result.
In any cases, while wearing metal braces, oral hygiene becomes even more important, to maintain the device at its best appearance and prevent cavities or stains on teeth. Usually, it is better to avoid chewy foods, hard or crunchy foods and some kinds of vegetables, that can damage the braces or get stuck in it.
Brushing and flossing are crucial to clean teeth and braces, the dentist or the dental hygienist can teach us to brush and floss around braces.
The follow-up appointments with the dentist are fundamental to adjust the braces and answer any questions or concerns.