Orthodontic Patient

Proven Teeth-Straightening Options for Teens and Adults from a Company You Can Trust

By Dr. Jennifer Buchanan

For decades, patients never knew the name of the manufacturer that produced the appliances used to straighten their teeth — and they certainly did not ask for a product by name. But those days are gone. With new dental straightening options coming onto the market in recent years, some provided exclusively through trained orthodontists and others advertised and sold directly to the consumer, knowing who is making your braces or aligners is becoming more common.

In this article we want to introduce you to Ormco™, a global leader in innovative and effective solutions for a wide variety of orthodontic needs. With more than 60 years of experience in the industry, Ormco has a rich history of innovation and has created more than 20 million smiles worldwide with its products. The company holds over 1,000 patents and invests more than $20 million annually in R&D. It partners with orthodontists in the development of its products and is widely trusted by the orthodontic community.

Ormco manufacturers scientifically advanced wires and brackets for braces, a clear aligner product, digital treatment planning software and “clear braces,” as well as other products. Because it is a business-to-business company, the Ormco “brand” is not widely known to consumers. But consumers are familiar with two of its core products that they ask for by name: the innovative and distinctively differentiated Damon™ Braces System and the advanced Spark™ Clear Aligner System. Both the Damon and Spark systems are designed for maximum comfort and performance and typically offer patients greater treatment efficiency, which can result in shorter treatment times, depending upon complexity of the diagnosis and treatment plan.1

The Basics of How Braces Work

The process of straightening teeth requires constant pressure (force) on the teeth that are desired to move to another location. The need for treatment may be caused by overcrowding, excess spacing, overbite, underbite, crossbite or another issue. Many people think that the brackets on traditional braces force movement. But it is the pressure from the wire, or series of wires, that moves teeth into place, not the brackets. The last component of traditional braces is ligatures, the small elastic ties that hold traditional wires to the bracket. But with advances in technology, not all braces use this more traditional approach of wires, brackets, and ligatures. Advances in science and technology have led to self-ligating braces, which offer many benefits.

What Are Self-Ligating Braces and How Are They Different from Traditional Braces?

Many people in the research phase of how to fix a smile with teeth straightening products have not heard of self-ligating braces. Self-ligating braces offer patients many benefits and have been gaining popularity over the years because they tend to cause less discomfort, require fewer visits to the orthodontist, and due to their efficiency create a shorter treatment time.2 They also address almost all orthodontic issues for which patients seek treatment, and are less bulky and noticeable.

But how do self-ligating braces work and how are they different from traditional braces?

Unlike traditional brackets that use elastics to tie down the wire, self-ligating braces, such as Ormco’s Damon Braces System, eliminate elastic ties. Without elastic ties there is less friction. And, like most things in life, friction slows things down. Damon uses a small door to hold the wire within the bracket. This results in less binding and lower pressure to the teeth for improved patient comfort and treatment efficiency.3

Patients may find Damon self-ligating braces more comfortable as teeth move gradually under more gentle, consistent pressure, rather than being tightened in stages as with traditional braces.4 More than 7 million smiles have been perfected using the Damon Braces System.* One of the appreciated benefits of Damon Braces is the broad, beaming smiles it creates with a full set of 10 teeth showing — a smile like a Hollywood celebrity.

In addition to producing great smiles, patients enjoy the following benefits of the self-ligating Damon Braces System:

  • Shorter treatment time: Active brackets applied during the beginning of treatment apply more pressure and move teeth faster.
  • Reduced friction and discomfort: Lack of ligatures, such as rubber bands on brackets, cause less friction than traditional braces, making self-ligating braces more comfortable to wear and more efficient.
  • Easier to keep clean: Lack of ligatures also makes self-ligating braces easier to clean and less likely to trap food.
  • Less chair time: Ongoing doctor visits for self-ligating braces tend to be much quicker than tightening appointments for traditional braces and less frequent (every couple of months). At office visits for traditional braces, your orthodontist will need to place a new elastic on each bracket. This process can be very time-consuming. Opening and closing the clips on self-ligating brackets tend to be much quicker, allowing for shorter appointment times.
  • Fewer, if any need, for painful palatal expanders or extraction: The Damon Braces System widens the arch to move all teeth into place without the need, in most cases, for expanders or tooth removal.

Additionally, if patients want a more aesthetic option with self-ligating technology, Damon Clear™ is a ceramic, nearly clear option patients can ask their orthodontists about.

The Clear Difference of Spark™ Clear Aligners

As an alternative to traditional braces, you likely have heard about clear aligner therapy. But you may not know how they work or which aligner works best.

Aligners are a series of nearly invisible custom-manufactured, clear plastic, removal “trays” that patients wear about 22 hours a day, to move teeth incrementally and consistently with gentle force from their original state to a more optimal, desired location. Aligners can treat most orthodontic patients, except those diagnosed with the most complex cases. They can be removed to eat, drink and brush, and they are discreet for those who are more self-conscious, as they are nearly invisible. There are many manufacturers of aligners, including many sold directly to consumers and that do not include doctor visits during treatment, which we do not encourage as moving jaws and teeth is serious business that should be overseen by a trained specialist. But there are also aligners that are doctor-prescribed and managed throughout treatment, such as the Spark Clear Aligner System.

Spark Clear Aligners are truly different from other aligners on the market. Here are a few differences:

  • More Efficient Tooth Movement: Spark Clear Aligners are made with a new material called TruGEN™, the latest innovation in clear aligner material, which has been proven to provide advanced sustained force retention and better contact surface area with the teeth, for more efficient and effective tooth movement when compared to the leading aligner brand.5
  • Greater Clarity: Spark material is more clear than the leading aligner brand. It is a nearly invisible aligner.**
  • Greater Comfort: With scalloped, polished, and smoother edges, Spark is more comfortable than the leading aligner brand.**
  • Stain Resistance: The material used in Spark aligners stains less than the leading competitor from residues associated with dark sodas, coffee, tea, red wine, etc.**
  • Patient Satisfaction: A study Ormco commissioned shows 100% of Spark patients would recommend Spark clear aligner treatment to a friend.6

Depending upon a patient’s diagnosis, treatment time is usually about the same as with braces for most patients, but aligners require fewer in-office appointments because there are no wires to change out, or brackets to attach, tighten or repair. Patients usually visit their doctor every 8-10 weeks for an appointment and to get their next set of aligners.

There are now many ways to get straight teeth and a big, healthy smile. But, because each doctor is partial to and trained to use certain treatment approaches and products, you need to find an orthodontist trained to use the Damon Braces System or Spark Clear Aligners, if you decide either of these might be the approach you would like for your teeth straightening treatment. You can learn more about Damon here, including its Doctor Locator, and more about Spark here.

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Buchanan began her orthodontic practice in 1996 and has been creating winning smiles and supporting the McKinney community every since. Dr. Buchanan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Science Education at the University of Texas at Austin, then went on to attain her DDS and Master’s Degree in Orthodontics at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas.

Along with her team’s concern for every patient and their shared commitment to bringing the latest in orthodontic technology to the practice, Dr. Buchanan’s sense of compassion reaches out beyond her office and into the community as a whole, where she is involved with local charities including Community Lifeline, the Community Food Pantry, and the Collin County Boys and Girls Club. Dr. Buchanan is the founder of Smiles Charity, which raises funds to build mortgage-free homes for severely wounded veterans. Since 2008 she has hosted the annual Smiles Charity Concert, a free outdoor festival that has become a McKinney institution. In 2014 she started Shoes for Smiles that has awarded over 700 pairs of new athletic shoes to the Collin County Boys and Girls Club students while recycling over 30,000 pounds of pre-owned clothing and shoes.

Dr. Buchanan is a former Board Member of the McKinney Rotary Club, the McKinney Education Foundation, and the McKinney Chamber of Commerce. She also is Past President of the Stonebridge Ranch Ladies Association. She was named Citizen of the Year in 2009 and Small Business of the Year in 2002. Through both her practice and her deep involvement in civic organizations, Dr. Buchanan is proud to be a part of the thriving McKinney community and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to it. As for her profession, she says, "Being an orthodontist is rewarding in so many ways".

*Data on File
**Data on File
1 Eberting JJ, Straja SR, Tuncay OC. Treatment time, outcome and patient satisfaction comparisons of Damon™ and conventional brackets, Clinical Orthodontics and Research 2001; 4(4):228-234.
2 Eberting JJ, Straja SR, Tuncay OC. Treatment time, outcome and patient satisfaction comparisons of Damon™ and conventional brackets, Clinical Orthodontics and Research 2001; 4(4):228-234; Keim, Robert, et al. 2014 JCO Study of Orthodontic Diagnosis and Treatment Procedures. Part 3. Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. 2014
3 Eberting JJ, Straja SR, Tuncay OC. Treatment time, outcome and patient satisfaction comparisons of Damon™ and conventional brackets, Clinical Orthodontics and Research 2001; 4(4):228-234; Keim, Robert, et al. 2014 JCO Study of Orthodontic Diagnosis and Treatment Procedures. Part 3. Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. 2014
4 Keim, Robert, et al. 2014 JCO Study of Orthodontic Diagnosis and Treatment Procedures. Part 3. Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. 2014
5 Wheeler T, Patel N, McGorray S. Effect of aligner material on orthodontic tooth movement. Journal of Aligner Orthodontics. 2017;1(1):21-7.
6 Azaripour A, Weusmann J, Mahmoodi B, Peppas D, Gerhold-Ay A, Van Noorden CJ, Willershausen B. Braces versus lnvisalign•: gingival parameters and patients' satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study. Oral Health. Jun 2015;15(1):69.

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