There are a lot of marketing strategies in today's orthodontic world and I felt it necessary to educate my friends and patients on what's out there and current claims so they aren't deceived by them.
Damon Braces: This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the orthodontic world. Damon braces are a brand of bracket or commonly known as a "brace" that orthodontists place on teeth. They are part of a group of brackets called "self-ligating" brackets. They are unique in that instead of a wire or a elastic "o-tie" to hold the wire in, a closing door built into the bracket holds the wire in. Damon braces claim that you if you get them you can avoid extractions, your braces will be less painful, and your teeth will move teeth faster. Time is of the essence...we want everything faster, our computers, our cars, and even our teeth to move faster! As orthodontists of course we want your teeth to move faster! The reality is teeth move at a rate regardless of what bracket an orthodontist uses. This will be the factor in the discussion of other products or marketing tactics. There are ways to manipulate the cells in the body that help teeth move faster but a bracket that is branded as "fast moving" will not. Damon braces have not been proven to "cause less pain" either. They reality is if you're teeth aren't sore after visits they aren't moving. Tooth movement is an an inflammatory process which is why your teeth get sore. Plenty of research justifies this! In a nutshell Damon braces are no better than any traditional orthodontic brace.
Invisalign or clear aligners: Invsialign is a brand of clear aligner that are removable and used to move teeth. Other less well known branded clear aligners are Clear Correct, Simpli5, MTM; Red, white, blue and the list goes on. Invisalign, IMO, is probably the most innovative and well marketed of the other brands. Not all people are candidates for clear aligners but they have the ability to move teeth just like braces. Sometimes I call them a double edged sword in that you can take them out....and you can take them out. They must be worn at least 22 hrs to be effective, that being said one still feels tooth soreness which tempts patients to take them out. They cause the same soreness as regular braces. Tooth soreness is usually a sign of movement. They are great for adults in that they are clear and removeable and most often more comfortable and tolerable than braces. I fully endorse clear aligners for the right patient and case. Make sure you find an experienced orthodontist to formulate your treatment and one that has formal orthodontic training. We specialize in moving teeth!
Six month smiles is marketing scheme to claim to that people can have straight teeth in Six months using their technique. The reality is teeth are able to become relatively straight in six months with any orthodontic treatment. It's the other important details that an orthodontist provides that extend treatment past six months. Correcting bites, smile esthetics, and minor detailing all take time to get a complete result. Simply Orthodontics can provide straight teeth in six months if that is your goal, but an orthodontist doesn't need to be a Six months smile provider to do this. As an orthodontist we want to understand your goals and treat you accordingly...trust us...don't just trust the brand.
Fast braces is a branding similar to Six Month Smiles but the same marketing strategy. They claim using their "special" wires moves teeth faster and their bracket moves teeth faster. Another marketing misconception.
That being said you probably are wondering: "What brackets do you we use then?" I've been around awhile so I have used pretty much every bracket out there. At Simply Orthodontics in Irvine we use 3M Unitek brand brackets. We use them because they are completely sterile and probably the best bracket on the market in terms of quality. Little research has been done on this, but I look for a bracket that doesn't break often, can take abuse, looks and feels the best for the patient and puts the teeth where the I want them with minimum adjustments. Those are the biggest benefits to my patients. 3M brackets are individually sealed, so the only thing they touch is you or your child's mouth prior to placement. They are the only company to have patented the sealed bracket. Other brands of brackets are left out and most likely not sterilized prior to placement in the mouth. I chose 3M because I want my patients to know they have the best, safest product in their mouth from a world renown company . As an orthodontist, I am the one that knows how your treatment can be shorted and less painful...not the bracket. So be weary of the common orthodontic marketing misconceptions . They are all made for you to think that a bracket or technique is better than the other because of something they use, but the reality is they all do the same thing: move teeth. What is important is the doctor who is using them. A Ferrari can only perform as well as the driver can drive it... as a bracket can only move teeth as well as the doctor knows how the move them.