Colourful Braces Make More Than Fashion Statement
For orthodontic patients who choose to make fashion statements with their mouths, colours are really heating up. From soft pastels that coordinate with a wardrobe to bright hues for celebrating holidays or expressing school spirit, the colours appear mainly on the elastic ties that bind the wires to the brackets. These ties can be changed when the wires are changed.
Colourful braces may contribute to treatment success!! While colours for braces are fun, the fun serves a serious purpose, notes Dr. William Mahon, a spokesman for the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Enthusiastic patients are more cooperative. And better cooperation can yield results that meet everyone's expectations.
"When patients decide to become involved in their treatment, they usually take better care of their braces. The bottom line is, when patients follow our instructions, they can end up with better results," emphasizes Dr. Mahon.
Patients have a splashy array of hues from which to choose for much of their orthodontic hardware. Even the replaceable rubber bands that many patients put in and take out daily come in about as many colours as you'd see at a fabric store. "Patients won't take the time to choose special colours unless they intend to use them," Dr. Mahon says.
Colours have gone over very big with
"You wouldn't believe how enthusiastic my patients are about colours," says Dr. Mahon, with a laugh. Before leaving the house, males and females of all ages check the mirror to make sure their braces are properly attired.
"Without my St. Patrick's green, I'd get pinched!" exclaims Jonathan Cobb, 12, during a checkup at Dr. Mahon's office in Bentonville, Ark.
Braces add splash of colour to all occasions
St. Patrick's Day is only one of many holidays that orthodontic patients can brace themselves for. They can celebrate every time they smile, year-round: Orange and black for Halloween. Red and white for Valentine's Day-and on July 4, just add blue. Green and red for Christmas-or blue and white for Chanukah, or black, red and green for Kwanzaa.
Many adults also choose different colours whenever they need to have their braces adjusted. For a sports fanatic, it's a unique way to express loyalty to college or pro teams. Arch wires also are available in many striking colours-from metallic red and green to gold.
Retainers can be fun, too
Once the braces are off, retainers are another colourful means of personal expression. They aren't all roof-of-the-mouth pink nowadays. Some glow in the dark, and some are personalized with a photo of Fido or Cindy Crawford, or even the logo of a favorite sports team. Choices are limited only by the imagination. Young male patients, of whom many are into anything gross, may choose spiders, snakes or other creepy crawlers for their retainers.
The CAO and AAO note that more people than ever are bracing themselves. Colourful retainers and other orthodontic trappings, of course, are only part of the reason for this trend. Patients are finding that today's high-tech materials are more comfortable. The sophisticated engineering of the tooth-moving wires-developed through NASA and activated by body heat-has increased their tensile strength and flexibility, which makes orthodontic treatment more comfortable. (Some patients want braces that are nearly invisible-so they choose clear brackets through which their teeth can be seen, or lingual braces, which are applied to the backs of the teeth to move them from behind the scenes.)?