Orthodontics and dentistry have taken long strides to improve the health and alignment of people’s teeth, and braces have been an ever-evolving concept that has impacted the way people view their teeth. Besides the cosmetic purposes, straightening your teeth can give you better oral health in the long run, and today’s technology has made wearing braces painless, highly advanced, and successful. However, new advancements have begun to surface, as dental supplier companies have begun experimenting with different metals to make braces more elastic, durable, and long-lasting.
How Do These Metal Affect Braces?
Among orthodontics, stainless steel has always been the standard for metal braces due to its inexpensiveness, high production rate, and high capacity to align teeth. Metal braces have and will always be a standard for dentistry because of its high success rate. Still, today’s metal braces only require fewer components thanks to the development of CAD/CAM technology, treatment planning software, and 3D imaging. These technologies can make detailed screenings, using digital replications of a person’s mouth to fabricate the right restoration for the treatment, whether a dental implant, a bridge, or a crown. It’s a more complex series of developments for braces due to the inner working parts used for creating the device. These devices can be designed with many materials such as metal, ceramic, and plastic to alter the costs and correct the misaligned bite.
What’s important to notice about why stainless steel is used so much is its inexpensiveness to produce. However, this kind of metal often does come with some drawbacks – the wires tend to have higher stiffness, which can lead to a loss of control of movement and cause the wires to slope within the bracket interface. With these troublesome details, metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt haven allowed dentists to improve on these aspects. Here’s what we know about these metals and how well they work with braces:
- Nickel: Nickel’s often combined with titanium to create an alloy that produces high flexibility and spring-back. This alloy has existed since the 1970s, and the components of this metal create a low, constant force that allows dentists and orthodontists to provide a resolved level of alignment correction.
- Copper: Copper is often a mixed metal with nickel-titanium components, creating an amalgam of alloys that contains an extreme amount of flexibility for the wires. This allows for a continuous force to be exerted while also allowing dentists to correct changes to the person’s tooth alignment overtime.
- Cobalt: Cobalt, also known as cobalt-chromium, has the most similar properties to stainless steel, where it exhibits distortion resistance and has a longer spring function. Cobalt is more malleable than stainless steel and has less risk of fracturing when heat treated. Its superior quality makes it the most durable and the most expensive variety of metal braces a person can get.
All of these metals have greatly improved dentistry, and as technology progress, our goal as dentists is to give patients more opportunities to have straighter, healthier teeth. If you would like to learn more, contact Dr. Jonathan McCartney at McCartney Dental, located in North Port, FL, for more information.