Braces are the traditional method of treating jaws and teeth. There are many types of braces, currently, the most widely used braces are so-called "Edgewise" which is currently regarded as the gold standard of orthodontic care. It is an orthodontic technique originally developed by Dr Edward H Angle, the 'Father of modern Orthodontics', in the early 1900's.
The Edgewise technique relates to the use of a rectangular bracket, which attaches to the tooth. A rectangular wire fits into the bracket to control the movement of the teeth, in three dimensions. These have developed over the years to include different slot sizes (for different wires) 018/022. There are also different methods of attaching the wire to the brackets such as O-rings, Ligatures or so-called self-ligating. They are also being made of different materials such as Stainless Steel, Gold, and more aesthetic Ceramic and Plastic.
More recently computers are being used to attach brackets to the teeth, to bend the wires and in the future, they will 3D print customised brackets, so-called “digital orthodontics”. Basically, however, all braces work in a very similar way and they just provide a handle with the wires to allow the orthodontist a method of moving the teeth.
The Edgewise technique is practised widely throughout the world. Other techniques are lingual braces or Begg brackets. More recently, about 1997, the Invisalign appliance . Lingual is an example of the Edgewise technique applied to the inside surface of the teeth, while Invisalign (aligners) are numerous computer generated plastic retainers which attach to the top of the tooth, with each retainer moving the teeth slightly. These last two techniques are not suitable for all orthodontic cases.
We sometimes use additional techniques to assist us achieving the best orthodontic result. These includes the use of:
TADS (temporary anchorage devices or plates) – These a tiny screws or plates screwed into the jaw bone to assist in the movement of the teeth.
Orthognathic Surgery – This is where an oral surgeon assists us the management of jaw discrepancies and the jaw bones are moved to correct a marked discrepancy.