Over the course of the last several orthodontic blogs, we discussed the ever changing ideals of orthodontic treatment, which not only included the goal of straight teeth, but also included elements of smile enhancement and an attempt at mitigating some of the effects of the aging process on the maturing face. The evolution of modern orthodontic bracketing and wire technology has opened up avenues to help make this a reality.
For patients to understand the differences in technologies we must first realize that all bracketing systems or “braces” are not alike. These differences are indeed important as some carry greater limitations than others and it is by this vehicle that forces which move teeth are transferred. As well, recent wire technologies are more effective in some of the bracketing systems then others. Together the bracket and wire assembly will largely contribute to the final result.
Originally the common bracket was soldered to an orthodontic ring or band that was temporarily cemented to a tooth. With the advent of bonding, these brackets were able to be bonded directly to the tooth surface beginning in the late 1970’s. This assembly is still used today and appears as square brackets, metal or clear, to which the wire is held using an elastic ligature tie or “donut”. These ties being either grey, clear or coloured, act like “bungee cords” causing friction and binding to build up in the system. This results in the need for more force to be applied to teeth causing increased discomfort and may limit some of the movements needed to allow for dental arch widening and thus facial treatment considerations.
As an alternative to this, there are bracketing systems that are self-locking or self-ligating and require no elastic ligature to capture the wire. Instead, a door at the front of the bracket holds the wire in place. In general, the efficiencies of these products require less force to move teeth providing for considerably less friction and discomfort during tooth movement. These technologies came into prominence in the 1980’s and have evolved to their current state in this las decade.
Two variations of this technology exist. Active self-ligation, where the bracket latch places pressure on the wire while engaging it and passive self ligation, where the door places little or no pressure on the wire. The latter causes the least amount of friction and is the most comfortable for the patient. The lighter forces invite the most biologically compatible force levels. This often yields the “Face Lift” result which one is looking for.
Orthodontics is certainly changing and so are the methods used for treatment. Living ones life with a beautiful smile is rewarding in so many ways. Your orthodontist takes great pleasure in helping make that a reality!
As you can see, Orthodontics is……… more than just teeth!
Dr. Joel Schacher
Phone: (905) 281-8200
Fax: (905) 281-8188