Underbites, overbites and teeth that are crooked, crowded or have large gaps can all be treated with braces. There are just as many options in braces as there are problems they solve.
Parents of today had far less choice as teenagers; it was just the standard metal braces available back then. Now, their children can be fitted with a range of different options in braces.
Orthodontist have developed new treatments over the years to improve the aesthetics of braces. But choosing the right treatment method takes time and careful consideration.
Types of Braces
The most commonly used types of braces are:
These are the traditional braces made of high-quality stainless steel. An arch wire is attached to brackets on the teeth which provides even pressure to move teeth in the correct direction.
Using tooth-coloured ceramic brackets rather than metal and a white wire, ceramic braces are an appealing option for many patients. Also called clear braces, ceramic braces are virtually invisible. They are a popular choice for adults who prefer the subtle look compared to metal braces. Ceramics are also ideal for patients that like to have their photo taken or will attend important events while they are wearing braces.
Also called inside braces, lingual braces are custom made brackets designed to fit the contour on the inside of each tooth. A wire joins the brackets together and pulls the teeth into position by pulling from the inside. Just as effective as standard outside braces, however they take longer to fit as each bracket needs to be custom made. Appointments with lingual braces may also need to be more frequent and take longer than traditional braces.Lingual braces may also be more challenging to keep clean and may affect the speech in some patients.
Lingual braces are most common amongst adults who are self conscious of how they will look with traditional braces, particularly in the workplace. Lingual braces are virtually undetectable but users may need to wear elastic bands which people can see.
Invisalign is one of the newest options available. The patient wears a series of custom plastic trays for two weeks each which slowly move the teeth into the preferred position. The aligners are virtually invisible and are more comfortable to wear with no metal parts to rub against gums and inside the mouth. The patient doesn‘t need to make any changes to their diet and can clean their teeth as they always have because the Invisalign retainers are removed for eating and cleaning.
Which One Should you Choose?
It’s not just the aesthetics of the braces that will determine which one you choose. There are a few factors you should consider including cost, hygiene and the final result.
In our experience, some patients worry unnecessarily about how they will look with braces. They can remain self conscious about the braces long after everyone else has forgotten about them. But if the look of the braces is a concern for you, then consider lingual or ceramic braces that are invisible or hardly noticeable.
Some treatment options are more expensive than others. If you aren’t the person paying for them then you may need to check if some options are not feasible due to their additional cost.
Due to the technology required to customise the brackets and the time it takes in the lab to make the brackets, the cost of lingual braces is higher than other orthodontic treatments. Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces due to the materials.
Self-Ligating Braces: All You Need to Know
Self-ligating braces look like conventional braces and are placed relatively the same way. The exception is that self-ligating braces don’t use elastics (rubber bands), or metal ties. Instead this system uses special clips or brackets with a spring-loaded door. The brackets maintain pressure on the archwire, helping move your teeth along at a steady pace.