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Misaligned teeth is the most common cause for needing orthodontic braces. The technical term malocclusion is classified as the difference between the maxilla (upper jaw) and the (mandible) lower jaw not aligning properly. A person with a correct bite has the points of the molars fitting the grooves of the opposite molars. The layman’s term for malocclusion is crooked teeth or a bad bite.

Malocclusion is divided into 3 main categories:

The most common signs of malocclusion are the following:

  1. Excess gaps between the teeth
  2. Missing teeth
  3. Extra teeth or overcrowding

Forms of malocclusion include cleft palates and a non-symmetrical facial bone structure. Crooked or misaligned teeth commonly occur from accidents, playing full contact sports or the local bar fight that inevitably arise at places where people imbibe alcohol in excess. Any form of malocclusion should be treated immediately before it leads to more serious conditions.

Tooth decay, gum disease and the loss of individual teeth is a foregone conclusion for people who don’t get treated. A missing tooth can put extra pressure on the remaining teeth causing them to shift position in a persons mouth. Bone and gum tissue are also placed under unnecessary stress leading to jaw bone problems later on in life. Hygiene is a major issue for people with missing teeth.

Periodontal Disease Progression from Mild to Serious

Other Factors Leading to Braces

This is an easy one, smoking has been proven to increase the risk of gum disease. Smoking compromises the immune system and contributes to gum disease which can lead to needing orthodontic braces.

Periodontal disease is further complicated by people suffering from diabetes. Many studies have been conducted showing that diabetic patients are twice as likely as non diabetic subjects to suffer from oral health issues. Check out “The Relationship Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease” for more info on why people with diabetes are more prone to dental problems.

Types of Orthodontic Braces

Depending on what your dental problem is there are numerous options in the medical marketplace to fit every budget and treatment procedure. People can benefit from orthodontic treatment at any age. Straight teeth are easy to clean and aesthetically people often prefer a perfectly aligned smile. Being fitted with braces by an accredited dental professional puts gentle pressure on your teeth allowing them to shift into proper position. Depending on the severity of your malocclusion treatment time will vary from person to person. A qualified dentist will best be able to make a recommendation for the correct orthodontic appliance based on the individual.

To ensure that your orthodontic treatment is successful you must adhere to the instructions from your dentist. If your orthodontic appliance should be worn 24 hours per day this guideline should be strictly followed to prevent relapsing of the teeth back to their former positions.

Metal Braces

The most popular dental appliance used for correcting teeth misalignments. Modern versions of metal braces are less conspicuous than earlier models. Today’s metal braces have heat activated archwires that use your body’s heat to realign the teeth quicker than in the past. The cost of braces is determined by 3 factors:

1) Amount of tooth movement required

2) Estimated treatment time, and

3) Materials and training of the practitioner.

As always, you typically get what you pay for. Full metal braces can range from $5000 to even 3-4x that amount for the most severe cases.

Ceramic Braces

Another great option for people who don’t like the look of metal braces. Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces except for the ceramic material they are made from and their higher cost. Expect to pay a minimum of $6000-7000 as increased friction results in longer treatment times associated with ceramic braces.

Fashionable Braces

These fashionable braces are all the rage in Asia. DIY kits can be found at flea markets and ordered online. Fashionable braces are approximately $100. Not recommended by dentists or orthodontists. Wearers of these braces put their teeth at risk for misalignment. Fashion braces are not recommended by dental care professionals.


Worn after regular orthodontic treatment is finished and the braces are removed. The primary purpose of retainers is to maintain the alignment of the teeth. Gaps between the teeth require a longer retention period. Retainers can be fixed or removable dental appliances. Removable retainers range in cost from $150 - $300. Non-removable bonded retainers that are glued to the back of the teeth cost $500 - $1000 for both upper and lower teeth. Offer times the cost of the initial retainers are included in the total treatment cost of orthodontics.

Lingual Braces

A good choice for people who don’t like the traditional appearance of metal braces. Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth, expect to pay double the cost of traditional buccal (front side) braces. The price point is higher because lingual braces must be custom made for the individual.

Clear Overlay Retainers

This is great for individuals who have mild malocclusions or who have had braces in the past and their teeth have relapsed. Dentists take a 3D digital image of your teeth before fabricating the aligners. Your dentist will than show you a digital representation of how your teeth will adjust through each stage of your dental progression. Treatment time varies from 1 year and up depending on the severity of the malocclusion.

One of the companies that provides this treatment is Invisalign. These clear custom aligners are changed every 2 weeks and are supposed to be worn up to 22 hours per day. Invisalign cannot be used for all orthodontic tooth movements but is a great option for people who don’t like the look or feel of metal braces. Invisalign costs can be up to twice as much for traditional orthodontics. But you’re paying for an option that is nearly transparent and quite effective. So the costs of Invisalign can be justified there. Consulting with a dentist who is familiar with all types of orthodontic options, is the best way to find out what is right for you.

Insurance and Payment Plans

Offsetting the cost of braces is best done if you have a good dental plan. Keep in mind depending on your income level your dental clinic may have pre-existing payment plans for ongoing treatments. We, at Peace Arch Dental Centre offer payment plans for all procedures including braces.

Dr. Layton completed a two year post graduate training program in Orthodontics through Progressive Orthodontics and offer all types of orthodontic options. For more information about customizable braces. Visit We look forward to seeing you!

Set up a complimentary appointment with us at Peace Arch Dental Centre in South Surrey/White Rock today!

In the west, wearing braces is not considered cool, while in Asia, it’s the latest fashion trend. Status is very important in Asia and no more is this more evident than among the youth. Teenagers are purchasing faux braces for $100 from black market non-orthodontic professionals. These imitation dental braces are being funded by vanity-driven youth culture regardless of the health costs.

The faux Do It Yourself Braces orthodontic market is prevalent in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Cultural icons like Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon are not the only must have accessories - the cool factor has branched out to orthodontics. Braces are sold at open air markets that can be found in many major cities and towns. Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty are two of the more popular brands being purchased. This trend is also encouraged by the celebrities Earn the Star, a Thai pop singer and the icon Gwen Stefani who was photographed with them in the late 1990’s. The non-orthodontic trend is now catching on with teens and preteens in the western world.

Are you considering Do It Yourself braces (DIY) instead of professional orthodontic braces? You may want to think twice. Adolescents that embrace popular trends among their peer group do not stop long enough to consider the inherent health risks. Wearing braces in countries like Thailand and the Philippines is a sign of wealth and prosperity among teenagers because of the initial expensive cost.

The axiom do it yourself successful surgery should be followed by a picture with someone standing in the corner with a “Dunce cap”. This applies to people who think that watching a few YouTube videos on how to beautify your smile or straighten your teeth, is more effective than consulting with a professional who has had 10 years of medical school.

Do It Yourself braces use some of the following non sterile medical materials:

There are a myriad of reasons to reconsider this non-orthodontic treatment. Before going any further lets review the oral prescribed dental apparatuses that are currently used to correct malocclusions and other abnormalities.

Do-It-Yourself Braces Are Illegal

The Philippine Dental Association released the following PDA statement:


Notice is hereby given to the general public not to patronize do-it-yourself dental products sold directly or through the internet by certain companies. These products include among others such items like the 'D.I.Y. Braces Orthodontic Kits'.
It is of high probability that self-installation of the so-called do-it-yourself products will lead to potential injury to the user in the absence of professional supervision.
In the interest of public safety, kindly report incidence, circumstances or suspicion of unauthorized/illegal practice of dentistry. - Philippine Dental Association

Thai authorities have also clamped down on sellers of illegal braces, the punishment is up to six months in prison and $1,300 or 42,439 Thai Baht fine.

Even though selling fashion braces is illegal, black market sellers have branched out by selling them online. The internet is a big place and tracking down and shutting down every site is a monumental task. Black market goods are not regulated and sellers don’t care about the buyer just the profit that can be made.

Health Concerns - DIY Braces

"Some people put the fashion (braces) on by themselves, which is dangerous because they could come loose and slip into the throat," said Rasamee Vistaveth, secretary-general of the Consumer Protection Board, which is under the prime minister's office. - CBS News report

It has been reported that 2 teenagers in Thailand have already died resulting from infections related to fashion braces. DIY braces that are glued onto the teeth using superglue or other adhesive can be toxic to the human body. The metal used in blackmarket DIY braces has also been found to contain lead which is also toxic to the bloodstream. Other health concerns are people who experience sores in the mouth from the wires.

Brief summary of possible health issues related to lead poisoning

Medical grade orthodontic braces are fitted by a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or dentist to ensure the correct alignment of the upper and lower teeth. DIY braces don’t have a proper arch wire and they are not fitted by a professional, the brackets are not positioned properly to put the right amount of pressure on the teeth. Purchasing black market DIY braces at the market does not come with the luxury of having them adjusted by a dental professional. Wearing these braces can result in the misalignment of perfectly straight teeth. Fashion braces do more harm than good. This is one fashion trend you may want to reconsider.

Risks for Real Braces

As you can see even under the care of a dental professional there are many risks inherent in orthodontic braces. The above list is just a sample of possible problems experienced by authentic brace wearers. Subjecting your oral health to a passing trend will jeopardize your existing and future dental health. There are many health variables to consider even with the monitoring of a board certified dentist. Purchasing DIY braces from the open markets prevalent in Southeast Asia and from black market websites offers no health guarantees. Fashion brace wearers risk infection and the possibility of misaligned teeth.


Do It Yourself braces is like the blind leading the blind. Saving money for teeth that require professional orthodontic therapy is a sensible course of action. Attempting to save a few thousands dollars for professional orthodontic treatment for a temporary aesthetic fix that doesn’t correct the underlying issues is a recipe for disaster.

Putting your oral health at risk for gum disease and the possibility of misaligned and losing your existing teeth is not worth it. For any oral corrections always consult a dental profession. YouTube and Google are not viable sources of information for amateurs without any medical expertise when it comes to teeth adjustments. Does it make sense to follow a trend that will have dire negative consequences which will have to be corrected by a Doctor of Dental Surgery at a later time? The question of should a person get DIY braces because they can not afford the genuine article should be deliberated on. If finances are an issue investigate dental programs or a monthly finance program with a professional dentist whose work is reputable.

Modern day braces are now commonplace even though the earliest recordings date back to ancient Egypt. Many ancient cultures have embraced some method of teeth straightening. People throughout history have always desired straight teeth. Becoming educated about the history of orthodontic braces will give you a greater appreciation for your dental health.

Orthodontic treatment was once considered purely cosmetic but there is much more to it than that. Filling in the gaps or spaces of people who have missing or no teeth goes beyond trying to look pretty. Orthodontic braces and implants can correct future periodontal problems, tooth loss and gum disease. Children’s periodontal problems are best corrected early on in life. How many times have you observed  adults who have misaligned teeth or the absence of them? If only more people had access to a Doctor of Dental Surgery who could have recommended a prescribed orthodontic treatment, more people would experience optimum dental health.

Orthodontic braces can preserve a patient's existing teeth, this is accomplished by attaching a dental bridge to the existing teeth. By equally distributing the pressure on all teeth when a person chews food the teeth and jaw bone are maintained.

Orthodontics Definition

Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that specializes in treating patients with malocclusions responsible for improper bites. The etymology of orthodontics comes from the Greek orthos, meaning to “straighten, perfect or proper” and dontos, means “teeth”. Orthodontics also includes cosmetic dentistry, when a patient seeks to improve their aesthetic appearance.

Orthodontists use braces, headgears and other medical devices to correct improper biting.

Orthodontic Practitioners

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses the prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. To become an orthodontist a student must first attend college before completing a 4 year graduate program, at a recognized dental school or university, accredited by the Canadian Dental Association. In order for anyone to practice orthodontics at the level of the specialty, an additional residential program from 2 to 4 years must then be completed in the field of orthodontics.

Dentists trained in orthodontics are very necessary in the fight against gum disease and dental bone problems. The most common dental problems orthodontists deal with are the following:

The History of Orthodontics


Modern day braces have come a long way from their ancient origins. The earliest recorded history of orthodontics dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece. The first treatment of an irregular tooth was recorded by Celsus (25 bc-ad 50), a Roman writer, who said, “If a second tooth should happen to grow in children before the first has fallen out, that which ought to be shed is to be drawn out and the new one daily pushed toward its place by means of the finger until it arrives at its just proportion.” The first mechanical treatment was advocated by Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), he suggested the filing of elongated teeth to bring them into proper alignment.

Dating back to 400-300 BC, Hippocrates and Aristotle discussed various ways to straighten teeth for the ideal smile. Archaeologists have discovered on expeditions the use of Catgut, an ancient dental cord found on mummified remains, made from animal intestines. Metal bands have also been found wrapped around teeth. Dental appliances have also been found among the Etruscans, who buried their dead in place to maintain the space between their teeth. Early A.D. Romans have been found with a gold ligature wire in their teeth. These are some of the earliest examples of ligature braces.


An American dentist by the name of Josiah Flagg of Boston proclaimed “assisting nature in the extension of the jaws, for the beautiful arrangement of the second set of teeth.” It was Etienne Bourdet (1722-1789), who argued that extraction of the first bicuspids prevented overcrowding in the mouth. Ettienne also proved that misaligned teeth could be gradually moved, when attached threads to ivory splints, could be shifted in the mouth.


Fast forward to the Middle Ages from the 5th to the 15th centuries to the 18th century. Advancement in dental technology was stagnant in the middle ages or the dark ages as some people refer to this time period. The Vatican had a large part to play in suppressing the progression of the sciences. In France, students of dentistry were supposed to have been admitted as early as 1580. Pierre Dionis (1658 - 1718) called dentists “operators for the teeth”. He also stated that they could “open or widen the teeth when they are set too close together.”

Malocclusion were originally called “irregularities” of the teeth, and the correction of teeth was called “regulating.”

France in the 18th century was the leading country in Europe in the field of dentistry. Pierre Fauchard (1678 - 1761) has been referred to as the “Father of Modern Day Dentistry”. Etienne Bourdet (1722-1789) dentist to the king of France was on record for extracting premolars to relieve overcrowding in the mouth. This 17th century dentist was on the cutting edge of dental technology at the time.

John Hunter (1771) wrote a book called The Natural History of the Human Teeth. Although not a dentist John Hunter was an English anatomist and surgeon. He presented detailed notes and observations classifying the teeth, and orthopedic principles. He described normal occlusion, he gave the individual teeth their specific names i.e. cuspidati and bicuspidati. He also described the development of the jaws based on scientific investigation. Additional notes for this book were provided for Francis C. Webb M.D. F.L.S. and Robert T. Hume, M.R.C.S. F.L.S.

Thankfully, orthodontics, like many fields has come along way since the days of the Ancient Greeks to John Hunter. To find out about the latest in orthodontic treatment, give us a call or send us an appointment request. We’ll be happy to have you in for a complimentary consultation.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton - South Surrey DentistDr. Michael Layton is a graduate of University of Washington Doctor of Dental Surgery program and completed his orthodontic residency in 2009. He enjoys providing the highest standard of ideal dentistry across multiple disciplines, including orthodontics. You can follow him on Google+ or 'Like' Peace Arch Dental Centre on Facebook.

Orthodontic braces are dental devices used to align and straighten teeth. Besides improving dental health, they help you attain a correct bite. Dental braces are used to correct malocclusions, overbites, underbites, open bites, deep bites, crooked teeth and other imperfections of the teeth and jaw. The main advantage of braces is correcting the aesthetic appearance of a persons teeth and jaw bones.

Braces for adults are slowly becoming more commonplace. Perfectly aligned teeth are getting more important in society as personal appearance factors into things like interviews, auditions and meetings. While no one wants to look like they’re in their teenage years again with braces that glisten and shine, there are better options available. In this post, we’ll talk about why more and more adults are getting braces, the types of braces available and what orthodontic solutions exist.
child with braces

Why People Require Braces?

Malocclusion is caused by the following:

Different classifications of malocclusion

For a proper bite the top and bottom of a persons teeth should align when the mouth is closed. People with missing, crowding or protruding teeth have a misaligned bite that can lead to other problems later on. A bad bite will make it difficult to chew certain foods, causing tension and pain in the jaw. People who have crowded and crooked teeth are more susceptible to cavities and gum disease like gingivitis. Dental problems like gingivitis can progress to more serious diseases like periodontitis if not treated in time.

Putting aside the dental health implications of why braces are important is not the only factor to consider. A large part of the reason for many people purchasing orthodontic braces is wanting to have a straight aesthetically pleasing smile.

Getting Fitted For Braces

First Visit: A consultation with a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) will entail having X-rays, photos and impressions of your teeth taken. Your DDS will take this information to plan your dental treatment.

Second Visit: Your DDS will explain if braces are right for your condition. Orthodontic separators are rubber bands placed between the molars at the second visit. Separators are circular rubber bands about a centimeter in diameter placed between the top and bottom molars. Your DDS will determine how many separators you require. The separators stay between the teeth for one to two weeks as they slowly move the teeth apart. Separators create enough space in the mouth so that dentists can fit a tooth brace or molar band in between or fit an expander with metal rings.

Having separators between your teeth can be a temporary painful process, that can be mitigated by pain relievers or prescription drugs.

Third and Fourth Visits: Orthodontic bands are cemented and brackets are bonded to the front of your teeth.

Follow up Visits: Over the next 4 to 8 weeks, adjustments are made to the braces using wire changers.

Definitions of Brace Parts

Arch Wires: The arch wire is attached to the brackets, used to guide the movement of the teeth into the correct position.

Bands: These orthodontic bands wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for brackets made of stainless steel, or transparent or tooth colored materials.

Brackets: These are the small squares that you see bonded to the front of a persons teeth with braces. To hold brackets in place a special dental bonding agent is used. Traditional brackets are made of metal.

Buccal Tube: These tiny small metal parts are welded to a molar, a buccal tube keeps arch wires and other small appliances in place.

Rubber Bands: Also known as elastics, these bands attach to the hooks on your brackets situated between your upper and lower teeth. Another set of rubber bands are called ligatures these hold the arch wires to the brackets.

Ties for Braces: These can be made of metal a transparent or tooth coloured material.

During your dental visits these are just some of the terms your DDS will go over with you regarding braces.

Different Types of Braces

Metal Braces: The most common type of braces people are familiar with, made from stainless steel.

Ceramic Braces: These braces are made from composite materials and are more expensive than traditional braces. Available in clear ceramic material that is more popular with adults.

Lingual Braces: These aesthetically pleasing braces are attached behind the teeth, more expensive than traditional metal braces. Also known as incognito braces. Not all dentists are trained in the installation of lingual braces.

Harmony Braces: The latest in dental technology is having your teeth digitally scanned in a 3D model. CAD/CAM software is used to map out a treatment plan to straighten your smile.

Invisalign Braces: The best option for many people with mild malocclusion problems is Invisalign braces. These transparent braces are virtually invisible and the aligners are removable. The benefit of Invisalign braces is having the option to eat whatever you want when you want. Foods that can not be consumed by traditional brace wearers are not off limits to Invisalign wearers as the removal aligners can always be popped out for eating. Although the cost for the transparent aligners is higher than traditional braces many people prefer them. Consult with your dentist or DDS if you are interested in this type of teeth correction or are simply assessing whether braces or Invisalign is right for you. Transparent aligners are great for people in the public eye who are sensitive about wearing traditional braces.

Considering Bracesteen with braces

If you have any of the following dental problems your DDS may recommend corrective braces for you to wear. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) lists some common problems that require professional correction.


Treatment Time

Having a straight perfectly aligned smile is more than just aesthetics its about your personal health.  Straight teeth are also easier to clean and maintain. Beauty is more than just skin deep and we can help. Contact us here.

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