5 Types of Braces & How to Choose the Right Fit
Braces and orthodontic technology have evolved a lot over the years, making them more adaptable to our lives and less painful than the braces adults remember having. Now, patients have the ability to make the choice for which type of braces are right for their lifestyle and health needs.
Braces are not just only for cosmetic reasons. More concerning issues such as very crooked teeth or overbite can cause health problems later in life. In fact, even Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician, notes that people with crowded teeth and irregular palate arches were “molested by headaches and otorrhea [discharge from the ear].” Today, around 4 million Americans are wearing braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontics, and that number has roughly doubled in the United States from 1982 to 2008.
In this article, we will discuss the five main types of braces and their costs. Your orthodontist can give you more information to help you make the right choice. Remember, while braces may be uncomfortable, the end result is a smile you will love to show off. The five main types of braces we will cover are:
- Metal braces
- Ceramic Braces
- Lingual Braces
- Self-ligating braces
These are the traditional braces we’ve all seen before. These braces use metal brackets, wires, and rubber bands to move your teeth into proper alignment over a period ranging from months to years. While they are the most noticeable type of braces, improvements in technology have made brackets smaller and less noticeable than the “metal-mouth” braces many adults may remember. Additionally, new heat-activated archwires use your body’s heat to help teeth more quicker and with less pain and discomfort.
Ceramic braces are essentially the same as metal braces in function and general appearance, except the brackets are tooth-colored. Occasionally, even the wires can be tooth colored. While this may sound like a great option, these light colors stain more easily so greater care needs to be taken to keep your braces clean. They also tend to be more expensive than traditional metal braces.
Lingual braces are a great option if you’re self-conscious about having your braces show. These braces function similarly to metal braces, except they are attached to the inside of your teeth rather than the outside, making them essentially invisible to the outside world. The downside is that they are harder to clean and more uncomfortable to get used to, plus they are not the best option for more severe dental problems.
Self-Ligating braces are also similar to traditional braces, however the main difference is this type doesn’t require rubber bands to connect the archwires. In place of rubber bands, a metal slide mechanism puts constant pressure on the teeth. The advantage of this option is less frequent adjustments and a shorter time wearing braces. In addition, self-ligating braces apply less friction to the teeth, reducing pain to the patient and resulting in less damage to tooth enamel.
Invisalign has become an increasingly popular option for straightening teeth across all ages. Instead of dealing with metal, ceramic or wires in your mouth, specially molded clear plastic trays are custom-fitted to your teeth, with a new set made every two weeks. These clear trays must be worn between 22 to 23 hours a day, only taking them out to eat or brush your teeth. While this option works great for mild dental problems such as crooked teeth, it’s not a solution for more heavy-duty adjustments such as jaw realignment.
So which braces should I get?
When it comes to getting braces, each situation is different. Depending on the issues you have your orthodontist will recommend the best solution. Comfort level and budget will also help shape your decision. For simple issues, Invisalign can be the perfect choice. For more complicated problems relating to jaw alignment, metal braces would be more practical.
How old do I need to be?
According to experts, the best age to get your braces is around seven years old. At this age, kids are beginning to get their adult teeth and their teeth are still naturally shifting. Orthodontists can take advantage of this to shape your smile as your teeth are still shifting, making treatment less uncomfortable. Nonetheless, you can still get braces at almost any age. Many adults get braces later in life for a variety of reasons. It’s never too late to give yourself the smile you’ve always dreamed of!
Where can I find an orthodontist near me?
Regardless of which option you choose, getting braces is a big commitment so you want to find an experienced orthodontist that’s right for you. You’re going to be seeing a lot of your orthodontist over the coming years so finding someone you trust and like is important.
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