Did you know that there are around four million people in the US who wear dental braces?
If you’re thinking about adding to that number, then you may be wondering what your options are.
There are several different types of dental braces available, and different types of braces are more suited to treating specific oral issues.
Read on as we take a closer look at some of the most popular types of braces that you can choose from.
Fixed braces are braces that are physically affixed to your teeth and remain in place throughout your treatment. You can’t remove fixed braces yourself; only a dentist will be able to do so, and only at the conclusion of your treatment.
You may need to return to your orthodontist regularly to have fixed braces adjusted.
There are four main types of fixed braces.
Metal braces are the classic orthodontic treatment that most of us think of when we talk about braces.
These consist of metal brackets, usually stainless steel, that are affixed to each individual tooth using glue. Metal wires are attached to these brackets.
Over the course of your treatment, your orthodontist will gradually alter these wires in order to guide your teeth into the desired positions. You’ll usually need to return to have these wires adjusted every six weeks or so.
Since metal braces cannot be removed, they are a good choice for younger patients, as you don’t have to remember to take them out or put them back in. They do need to be kept clean with good oral hygiene, however.
Metal braces are usually one of the most affordable options.
If you have concerns about the aesthetics of metal braces, then ceramic braces are an alternative.
Ceramic braces work in a similar way to metal braces, but instead of using stainless steel brackets, they instead use clear or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. These make the braces less noticeable in your mouth.
Some ceramic braces still use metals wires, but others use wires that are also tooth-colored in order to make your braces more discreet. Ceramic braces are usually more expensive than metal braces, however.
As with any orthodontic procedure, the success of your treatment with ceramic braces will be down to the skill of the orthodontist. Always be sure to pick an orthodontist with a strong reputation, such as White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics, so that you know you will be in the best possible hands.
If ceramic braces still seem too obtrusive, then lingual braces could be the answer.
These are braces that work in a similar way to metal and ceramic braces, but the brackets are fixed to the backs of your teeth instead of the front. This makes your braces completely invisible to other people.
The downsides of lingual braces is that they may take longer to work in some patients, and they’re also more difficult to clean. Some people find that lingual braces can cause minor speech problems when they are first fitted, such as causing a subtle lisp.
They can also irritate the tongue of some patients.
Metal and ceramic braces use o-rings or elastics to tie the wire to the brackets. These o-rings grip the metal wire against the brackets to hold them in place.
Self-ligating braces use clips that are a part of the brackets themselves to grip onto the wire, so there’s no need for o-rings. This makes self-ligating braces slightly easier to adjust; your appointments to have your braces adjusted should be shorter with self-ligating braces.
You may also find that you can go longer between adjustments with self-ligating braces. They can be more expensive than metal braces, however.
Aside from fixed braces, you also have the option of removable braces. As the name suggests, these are braces that can be removed and put back in place by the patient themselves, since the braces are not permanently fixed to the teeth.
There are a number of types of removable braces, but there is one brand that tends to dominate the field.
Invisalign is to the dental industry what Google is to search engines; a brand so dominant that the brand name has become interchangeable with the type of product itself. Invisalign is just one of many brands of clear aligners, however.
Clear aligners are custom-made clear plastic molds that are worn over the teeth. As the teeth begin to move into their desired position, each clear aligner is replaced with a slightly different one, to continue to move the teeth where they need to go.
You may need to go through as many as 30 different sets of clear aligners though the course of your treatment.
Since the clear aligners are not affixed, you can remove them to eat and drink, and when you need to brush your teeth. It is recommended that you wear them for at least 20-22 hours per day, however, for the best results.
Clear aligners are popular because they are more discreet than most fixed braces; it can be hard to notice that someone is wearing them if you’re not already aware of it.
There are many types of clear aligners, but Invisalign is by far the best known. The best orthodontist will be able to recommend the right clear aligner for your needs, however, regardless of brand.
Choosing the Right Types of Dental Braces for You
As you can see, there are many different types of dental braces to choose from. Each type had its pros and cons, and not every type may be suitable for your particular needs.
The best way to ensure that you make the right choice is to speak to an orthodontist. They will be able to advise you on what types of braces are suitable for your particular situation and recommend the best course of treatment.
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