by Michael in Brantford, Ont. Canada; ArchWired Reader
I’m 30 years old, and three different dentists over the last seven years have told me that I must do something about my teeth. You see, my lower front teeth are so crowded that one tooth was actually turned sideways and pushed in behind the others. This made it almost impossible to clean properly and I was always getting gum infections. So finally, I decided it was time to go see an orthodontist. I got two recommendations from my dentist.
One orthodontist charged, even for initial consults. His attitude and mine just didn’t get along. The other was a very clean professional practice and nice staff, with a helpful orthodontist who took lots of time to answer my questions.
Even at the first consult they took digital pics of my teeth from top, bottom each side, front and then of my face from each side and front with mouth closed. The ortho then met with me and told me that I would need full braces. He showed me a pamphlet about the speed braces and told me that’s what he wanted to use.
Being somewhat self-conscious, I asked about clear brackets (I hadn’t heard of Invisalign at that time). He told me that the ceramic ones were larger, had to be adjusted more often, took longer in treatment and he charged more for them. He doesn’t do any work with traditional metal brackets (unless they already have them), on adult or kids.
The main difference was that the speed braces have a “trap door” that closes over the arch wire instead of using ligatures (the small o-shaped elastics). Using a hook-like tool, the ortho can open these trap doors, then just push them closed once the arch wire is in place. The advantage with this is there is almost no resistance between the bracket and arch wire so a smaller arch wire can accomplish more. This also allows for greater time between visits than average at eight weeks each. He does plan on using elastics, so all but the front four brackets on the top and bottom have the little barbs or hooks.
This ortho also doesn’t use headgear on adults, (only once – in an extreme case). The molars only have brackets, not bands, and no tubes on them for headgear. From the research I’ve done since this consultation I’ve learned that speed braces and Damon braces are similar, just different brands. I haven’t seen anything that would indicate that either comes in anything but metal.
Also from reading all the posts, these brackets must not trap as much food, because I can usually dislodge most by swishing a drink around after every few bites. Yes, two to three glass per meal sometimes are needed, but it saves the trips to brush. From what I’ve researched and heard, the cost seems to be average at just over $5000 Canadian. They are probably a little more to get, but you’re in less often for adjustments, so it must work out.
So far, at 5.5 months of treatment for the top, and 2 months for the bottom its been “fun”. I’ve had the normal pain and talking troubles, getting used to them, etc. But no real problems.
I have had a coil spring between two teeth on the bottom since the braces were installed. So far I have been able to avoid a bite plate. I’ll need the usual retainers after treatment, but no other appliances have yet been mentioned. I was not told how long the treatment time would be in regular braces other than it would take “significantly” more time, to quote my ortho.