types of braces

Most of the orthodontic treatments still require braces at some stage. Braces are the attachments or brackets that are fixed onto your tooth by the orthodontist.

These braces can be fitted on the outside of your tooth or on the inside (please note we do not offer treatment with lingual or inside braces).  There are two choices regarding your braces: the normal metal option and the clear ceramic option.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.

The metal braces are still the more used of the two. They are more cost effective, they are smaller (therefore a bit easier to clean), they are fun (you can use the colour of the elastics at every visit), and they are generally less painful than the ceramic braces. The ceramic braces look lovely but are difficult and generally more painful to remove. They are pricier, bulkier and tend to be scratchier on the lips. The ceramic braces also discolour over time, especially with regular coffee or red wine use which could minimise their aesthetic appeal. Due to frictional issues between the bracket and the wire, the metal braces have an advantage and tend to reduce the treatment by a few months. 

The most important thing during the treatment is to keep your teeth clean. White spots and declassifications will develop during the treatment if oral hygiene is not optimal, whether you have metal or ceramic braces.  

We sometimes get questions about self-ligating brackets (Damon, Speed braces) because it is claimed that these appliances treat faster. This is not true. Evidence based articles and random controlled clinical trials have proven that there is no difference in treatment efficacy between traditional and self-ligating brackets.  There is no such thing as fast braces – the biology of tooth movement does not change due to the type of bracket on the tooth.

Clear aligners are a newer method of moving teeth. The clear plastic aligners are made from 3D printed models of the patient’s teeth after the desired tooth movement was performed digitally. It is completely different from regular braces because is removable. However, this technology is still a lot more expensive in South Africa than traditional braces. In addition, the success of the treatment depends on how diligently the patient wears the aligner and not the performance of the doctor. These aligners have to be worn 22-23 hours a day to be successful. This is a very important factor when to consider if you are thinking about getting clear aligners.