The growing prevalence of adult orthodontics has forced the orthodontics industry into thinking differently than it hitherto has. Now that adults are in the game, and optional orthodontics are more frequently used, orthodontists had a broader and more clear picture of the needs of patients. One of the first needs to be communicated is that orthodontic braces look cumbersome and ugly. While this may be just a question of vanity in some, it is a matter of professionalism in others, and a lot of people’s careers are dependant on how they look and how they present themselves (unsurprisingly, these are also frequently the adults that are looking for orthodontic treatment). These fine folks will be happy to hear that many different kinds of aesthetic and transparent braces exist. A new product on the market is monocrystalline sapphire braces. In this article I will detail what these sapphire braces do and how they are different from other aesthetic orthodontic braces.
Monocrystalline Sapphire Brackets
In this new form of aesthetic braces, the brackets are made out of monocrystalline sapphire. This material is usually used in the field of optics, as monocrystals are ones that have no grain boundaries, forming a continuous surface from end to end. The entire crystal is basically one structure, one crystal lattice if you will. This means that it lets light through completely, meaning it is basically entirely invisible when placed on teeth. Teeth may appear larger with these brackets, however this is merely another optical illusion.
The advantages that these brackets have to offer purely aesthetic. They do not stain like plastic, and to a lesser extent like ceramic, braces. The arch wire will leave a line across plastic brackets from the contact, but oxides of metals do not react with sapphire crystals so this is not an issue. Certain foods and drinks also tend to discolor traditional invisible brackets, particularly red berries, beets, red wine, turmeric, coffee, tea, and smoke will discolor your brackets, if they are tooth colored. But sapphire crystal braces will not discolor or stain no matter how much red wine you consume.
Tooth colored porcelain and plastic brackets are not truly invisible. Although the layman’s eye will glide over them the first few times, they are visible at closer inspection. With crystal sapphire braces, the brackets only make the teeth look bigger. They are not visible even at repeated glances, they are only visible if the inquirer stares at the patients teeth, an event that is not likely to happen.
These brackets are considerably more expensive than ceramic or aesthetic plastic orthodontry, but may very well be worth it. Many orthodontic practices carry them, and they are absolutely hypoallergenic, involve no animal products or mining as they are made in a laboratory, and violate no religious edicts that I know of, so everyone can use them.