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By this point you have probably already heard of the terms "Invisalign" or "Train track braces" but this article is designed to spread a bit more clarity on different types of Orthodontics.


Getting the terms right:


In order to avoid confusion, I've come up with some definitions that hopefully help patients in deciding what treatment they want to get:


1. Aligners:


This is the type of brace which is clear and removable classically made famous by Invisalign ( but now there are many other brands). Aligners are worn for around 23 hours a day for 2 weeks before switching to the next aligner, for example:

At the beginning of the treatment, You will start wearing Aligner #1 for 23 hours for 2 weeks. At this point you will then change to Aligner #2 for 23 hours in a 2 week period and so on.



Clear Aligner orthodontics with Aidencare Dental - Invisalign and Spark

  • Invisalign : This is a brand name of Aligner Orthodontics

  • Spark: This is another brand of Aligner Orthodontics developed by one of the oldest orthodontic companies

  • Other brands of Aligners in Shanghai include: Smartee, AngelAlign, Clear Correct


2. Traditional fixed braces:


These are the "train track braces" that many people refer to as. Fixed braces can come in different materials:



Metal and Ceramic fixed braces orthodontics comparison at Aidencare Dental

  • Metal: The classic look

  • Ceramic: The metal is replaced by tooth colored ceramic so it blends in better with the tooth so less noticeable.

  • Full upper and lower fixed braces: I will often use this term to describe wearing this brace on the upper and lower teeth, i.e. the whole mouth

  • Limited/Partial fixed braces: This is when the brace is only fixing a part of of the teeth/smile, for example just the front upper teeth. Less commonly, we may also use this treatment to correct small parts of the bite

3. Retainer:


This term frequently gets interchanged with the term "Aligner" however it should be noted they are quite different. Whilst a retainer looks very similar to an Aligner, A retainer is designed to keep your teeth in the same position, as opposed to an Aligner which moves teeth in a certain direction. Retainers are worn after Orthodontic treatment usually for 23 hours a day for 6 months, before switching to lifetime wear of night time only.



Different types of fixed retainers by Aidencare Dental Orthodontic department

  • The Clear Retainer: This is constructed like an Aligner appearance, designed to be worn during the day

  • The Hawley Retainer: This is a classic type of retainer which has acrylic on the gum surfaces and a wire in front to keep the teeth in position, perfect for nighttime wear and more durable.

  • The Fixed Retainer: This is a glued in wire, glued to the back of your teeth to stop your teeth from moving, it cannot be removed.


4. What about the different costs?


As mentioned above, there are many different brands and systems of both types of braces, then it depends on your treatment expectations, In any event, we recommend you come for a treatment plan which includes a panoramic x ray, ceph x ray, and photos so we can discuss your case at length. Like I mentioned in the "How much does dentistry cost" article, the variation in price can be quite significant case by case and in Orthodontics this can range from 20K RMB on to upwards of 60K RMB.





If there are any other questions relating to this, please get In touch. This Article was written by Dr. Oscar Sum

Dr. Oscar Sum Dentist at Aidencare

Dr. Oscar Sum is a dentist in Shanghai practicing in central Shanghai who performs Implant surgery, Orthodontics, and other advanced dental procedures. Please call scan the QR code to enquire about an appointment with Dr. Sum




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