Like most types of dentistry, the field of orthodontics is constantly innovating. When it comes to straightening misaligned teeth, metal braces were your only option in the past. Today, you have a variety of treatment choices available to you, including:
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Lingual braces
- Invisalign and clear aligners
- Metal braces
Metallic braces are still the most commonly used type of braces around the world, just as they have been for over a century. In the not so recent past, these types of braces were extremely noticeable and bulky. Fortunately, modern braces are nothing like what they were a century ago, or even a few decades ago.
Today’s braces are:
- More comfortable
- More effective
- Shorter treatment time
This is a system that is fixed to the teeth, which are connected with a wire that is tied to the braces with elastic ties, available in a variety of colors. To shift your teeth into their correct positions, your orthodontist will periodically make adjustments every four to eight weeks.
Some parents prefer traditional, fixed braces over options like Invisalign because they do not have to constantly remind their child to replace their aligners. However, proper oral hygiene is particularly important with metal braces.
Ceramic braces work exactly like metal braces, but they are less prominent and made from a clear material. They are also more affordable than metal braces. One drawback is that they are somewhat larger than traditional braces and can become discolored, depending upon brushing habits and diet.
Available in clear, ceramic material or metal, self-ligating braces function like metal and ceramic braces. They also depend upon braces and a wire for shifting teeth. The main difference between self-ligating braces and others is that clips are used to retain the wire, instead of elastic ties.
Lingual braces work similarly to other types of braces, but they are virtually unnoticeable because they are fitted behind the teeth. One potential drawback to lingual braces is that it is possible to experience minor changes to speech, or tongue irritation. However, these potential problems usually fade away once your mouth becomes adapted to your new appliances.
Invisalign and Clear Aligners Orthodontics
Clear aligners have spiked in popularity in recent years. This type of braces was popularized by the Invisalign system two decades ago. You might think of Invisalign as similar to “Kleenex” or “Band-Aids.” Although they are only one option in a given category, they are the most popular and have become synonymous with the category as a whole.
Advantages of clear aligners like Invisalign:
- Transparent and almost undetectable
- Conveniently removable
- Easier to brush and floss
- No food restrictions required
Although Invisalign is not always right for those with severe problems, clear aligners are a great treatment choice for those with a large overbite, misaligned teeth or open bite.
The only real drawback to systems like Invisalign is that patient compliance can be an issue. The wearer must keep their aligners in place for about 22 hours a day. So if they should forget to replace their aligners after cleaning their teeth, their treatment time could be unnecessarily prolonged.