What to Consider When Choosing Braces

Posted on May 12, 2016 in News
What to Consider When Choosing Braces

Get your teeth into all the options when choosing your braces

Broadly speaking, there are three main types of braces; conventional or labial braces where the brace is fixed to the outside (cheek side) of the teeth, lingual braces where the brace is attached to the tongue side and invisible braces where the aligners are clear, if not quite “invisible”. There are a number of reasons for choosing to go with a particular type of corrective alignment: some braces are more effective for different types of treatment and patients of different ages, and in those cases the orthodontist might not provide options. However for many patients the starting point in choosing which brace to use is a balance between budget, aesthetics and the recommendation of the orthodontist. What some patients overlook when reviewing their choices is that there are practicalities to wearing the different types of braces which can also be significant. In this article, we look at a research paper, published in the European Journal of Orthodontics, that compares the three types of braces for health related “quality of life” factors such as pain and discomfort, problems eating and other oral symptoms. The research specifically compared the Invisalign™ brand of invisible braces with conventional and lingual braces.

Pain and Use of Analgesics

With all three types of braces, pain levels fell over the two weeks of the trial with the highest levels of discomfort in the first few days. The research found that the highest pain levels on the first day of the treatment were with the Invisalign braces, but by the second day the lingual braces were the most painful and this continued for the 14 days of the trial. Conventional braces were consistently the least likely to cause issues with pain. Consumption of analgesics was at zero percent by day 4 for those with conventional braces, day 6 for the Invisalign group and was still at 5.2% by the end of the trial for the Lingual brace wearers.

Oral Dysfunction

The researchers investigated oral dysfunction by measuring difficulties in speech, swallowing and opening of the mouth. While this was not a major factor across the three groups, the conventional braces were significantly more likely to cause issues compared to the other two groups.

Disturbances with Eating

Here the researchers looked at changes in taste and the enjoyment of food. Lingual braces had the most issues for these factors with the Invisalign braces proving to be the best.

Oral Symptoms

The researchers also investigated if the brace wearers had any sores on the tongue, cheek, or lip, if there were any bad tastes and smells and if they experienced any accumulation of food. The Invisalign braces had the least problems related to these areas compared to the other two types of braces.

General Activities

A small number of people wearing braces can experience indirect problems when they first start wearing them such as loss of sleep, missing time off work or school and problems concentrating. The researchers found that Lingual braces were the most likely to cause these types of problems.

Which Braces are Best for You?

Overall, the research presents a very mixed picture of the issues associated with the different types of braces. The most important thing is not to let any concerns about these issues put you off having corrective treatment! While this research was designed to focus on these issues, many patients do not experience any of the problems mentioned above. Also the research only looks at the first two weeks of what can be a treatment lasting many months and for the vast majority of patients almost all of the issues were resolved within that time frame. All good orthodontists will discuss with their patients the most suitable braces for the treatment they need. And if there are any issues, they will work with their patients to make the corrective adjustments necessary to solve any ongoing problems.

If you have dental concerns, please make an appointment with us.
Dr. Moira Wong – Orthodontist

An exceptionally skilled orthodontist who simply loves to improve the smiles of adults and children.

Dr Moira Wong (GDC no: 67960, UK) developed an ambition to specialise in the field of orthodontics during her time as a dentistry student at the London Hospital Medical College. After graduating in 1994, she gained experience in all fields of dentistry prior to specialisation. This included working as part of the Pennstar trauma team at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Wong’s career pathway began with a spell as a house officer in prosthetic dentistry at the Royal London Hospital, followed by senior house officer positions at the Bristol Dental Hospital. During this period she gained her fellowship in dental surgery and worked in the paediatric dentistry department, treating special needs children and addressing complicated developmental problems. She also worked with adults requiring the replacement of multiple teeth.

Returning to London to take up a position as a senior house officer in oral surgery, Dr Wong gained experience in dental and facial surgery. One of her busiest nights was helping with the suturing of patients following a national rail crash.

Dr Wong was then accepted onto the specialty training programme at Guy’s Hospital, where she spent a further three years gaining her master’s degree. She continued onto a consultant training programme at King’s College and St George’s Hospital, gaining her Fellowship in orthodontics. Currently less than 300 UK practitioners have this level of training, with just 5 to 10 people gaining the accreditation in an average year.

Today, Dr Wong has acquired an excellent reputation for her highly sophisticated work and approachable, communicative manner. Her ambition is to be recognised as nothing less than the best orthodontist in London.

1 Comment

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