When talking about orthodontics, it is very common to confuse orthodontic appliances and orthodontic treatments. Simply put, treatments are the processes, while appliances (braces, Invisalign, etc) are the tools.

Dr. Yang find that the best way to explain this is through food analogies. You can make burgers, or steaks (the treatments) on either electric grill or charcoal grill (the appliances). Both kind of grills have pros and cons. However, the most important element in cooking is the chef and not the grill!

Similarly in orthodontics, the skill of the orthodontist is far more important in the final result than the type of appliance that was used.

At Modern Orthodontist, we provide you best of both world. Dr. Yang is an expert in orthodontic treatments and a master at using nearly all orthodontic appliances. In fact, we offer more orthodontic appliance types than just about any other office in Houston.

That is important in two ways. First, the patients have more choices. Second, more importantly, we can provide you with unbiased opinion on different appliance for your case. Many dental offices only provide Invisalign, would they be able to offer truly unbiased opinion? Would Hank, the propane salesman in King of the Hill, be able to offer unbiased opinion on an electric or charcoal grill? As Dr. Yang always say, “If you only know how to use a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

Without further ado, let’s look at all the different appliance choices available!

Orthodontic Appliances

Metal Braces

Metal braces, also called traditional braces, are what typically come up in everyone’s mind when they are thinking about orthodontic treatments. Though they still look the same as decades ago, there has been incredible amount of improvement over the year. It is extremely effective in the hands of skilled orthodontists, and result remain the most popular option today. Bonus: Dr. Yang’s patient loves them because we can decorate it with nearly 20 different colors!

Teeth With Regular Braces

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are esthetic versions of metal braces by replacing metal with ceramic. They function essentially the same as metal braces, and range of crystal clear to opaque white. Our ceramic brackets are semi-translucent with slight white tint to provide the most esthetic blend with your teeth.

Women wearing ceramic braces


Aligner treatment use plastic trays to progressively move patients teeth. There are many manufactures of aligners, include the most ubiquitously known Invisalign®. Other major manufacture include Clarity™ Aligners by 3M™ and Spark™ Clear Aligner by Ormco. Dr. Yang has used all three systems and currently use Clarity™ Aligners by 3M™ at Modern Orthodontist.

We are also pleased to offer Modern Smile Aligners, made right in the office. It provides patients efficient and affordable option for minor tooth movements.

There are many benefits to aligner therapy including: ability to remove for eating, ease of cleaning, esthetics, and require less visit.

However, aligner therapy is not suitable for all treatments and requires excellent compliance.

Aligner Smile


InBrace® is lingual braces (braces on the inside surface of of your teeth), unlike any other lingual braces before. Difficulty in using lingual appliances and significant discomfort used to be the greatest barrier to lingual braces.  InBrace® changed that by customize each wire (traditional lingual braces customize the brackets) . Customized wire means better clinical result, smaller bracket and greater patient comfort.

Technology wise there are nothing like InBrace® and we are proud to be one of the only two office that offers InBrace® in Houston!

Inbrace wire

Orthodontic Treatments

Interceptive Treatment/Phase 1

Phase 1 treatment is orthodontic procedure for children before all of their permanent teeth erupt, and generally occurs between the ages of 6 and 10. The goal of Phase 1 treatment is to treat malocclusions that will lead to irreversible teeth damage, or malocclusions that will be harder/impossible to correct later on in life.

Vast majority of the Phase 1 cases that we treat at Modern Orthodontist fall into three category.

  1. Oral habits such as thumb sucking.
  2. Anterior crossbite, where top front teeth goes behind bottom front teeth. This is extremely problematic because it significantly increase the chance of teeth chipping during usage. Once the front teeth is chipped that will become a life long nuisance costing someone thousands of dollars over lifetime!
  3. The most common  is malocclusion  to treat during Phase 1 is maxillary constriction, where the top jaw is smaller than it should be for lower jaw. Maxillary constriction leads to three different issues:
    • Restrictive lower jaw growth. Imaging upper jaw act as a shoe, while lower jaw is the foot. If the shoe is too narrow the foot cannot extend forward as much as it should.
    • Severe crowing and canine impaction. Teeth in upper jaw may be so crowded that the canine may not have a chance to come in, requiring expensive surgery and length orthodontic procedure fix later in life.
    • Functional shift in lower jaw. When the upper jaw is the right size it fits over the lower jaw like a lid on a pot. Now imagine a scenario where the lid is slightly smaller than it should. The lid can not fit all sides and tend to shift. Smaller upper jaw may result in the child shifting their bite toward one side when chewing. Eventually it can lead to uneven teeth wear or asymmetrical lower jaw growth.

The goal of this phase is to correct severe issues, not necessarily to straight the teeth. In fact it is a desirable out come to have spacing at the end of the treatment. No retainer is needed for this phase.

Not all child needs phase 1 treatment, however it is important to have your child be screened by an orthodontist. American Association of Orthodontist recommend seeing an orthodontist by age 7 for to have screening exam. Screen is free at Modern Orthodontist, so why risk irreversible damage?

Comprehensive Treatment/Phase 2

Adult or a child that has nearly all baby teeth, they can begin what called comprehensive treatment. It is also called phase 2 treatment if the child has had Phase 1 treatment. The goal of Phase 2 treatment is to provide patient with smile that is both beautiful and functional. During comprehensive treatment, teeth will be aligned and bite issues will be addressed. Treatment goals can be accomplished with the different appliance listed above. After comprehensive treatment retainer will be provide for nightly wear.

Limited Treatment

Limited treatment focus on achieve best esthetics with minimal treatment duration. You may have already had braces before and just need some touch up. Or maybe you have some crowding/spacing you would like to address. Your teeth will be straightened without affecting your bite.

Modern Smile Aligners is a particularly good option for this type of treatment.