Orthodontic Options: How to Choose the Best Braces for You

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An attractive smile will do more than boost your confidence. With orthodontic treatment, you reduce your risk of future tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other potentially serious health issues, including heart disease.

If you are not pleased with your smile, you may be considering braces. You have a lot of information to consider. You may be able to choose from four different styles of braces. Your orthodontist will help you decide between these options based on the type of movement needed to perfect your smile.

Metal Braces

When you choose to wear metal braces, stainless steel brackets will be attached to the front of your teeth. A thin archwire is attached to the brackets through a metal band or with wire or small rubber bands. The bands or wire create pressure on your teeth. These bands are replaced during every adjustment. These adjustments are typically made every month.

Although metal braces are not as discreet as the other choices, traditional metal braces are still the most cost-effective choice, and may be your best option for several reasons.

  • Metal is the most durable material when compared to other treatment options
  • More force can be used when tightening metal braces, so your teeth may realign a bit faster
  • Stainless steel braces are not susceptible to staining

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are often the choice of orthodontic patients who want their teeth straightened less conspicuously. Ceramic may cost a bit more than metal, but most patients do not find the cost to be that much higher than metal. Ceramic braces are either transparent, or the color of the bracket is matched to your enamel.

Ceramic braces are not as durable as their metal counterparts. They can break easily. Your orthodontist may need to apply less pressure during your adjustments, so your treatment may take a bit longer than it would with metal braces.

Ceramic braces are not susceptible to food stains, but the bands that hold the wire in place are. Even though treatment may take a little longer, there are advantages to choosing ceramic braces.

  • Designed to blend with your teeth
  • Less likely to irritate your mouth and gums
  • May move your teeth faster than clear aligners

Lingual Braces

The brackets for lingual braces are attached to the back of your teeth, the same side as your tongue. Lingual braces are considered to be the least noticeable of all of your options. Lingual braces are not typically recommended to anyone with a narrow jaw, as the brackets and wire can get in the way of your tongue.

If you choose lingual braces, your speech may be temporarily affected, but they are a favorite of people who want invisible treatment. There are a few other advantages.

  • No brackets or plastic trays are visible (may catch a glimpse of lower brackets)
  • Orthodontic treatment is more discreet
  • No irritation to the inside of the cheeks or lips

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are virtually undetectable when worn. Your clear aligners are custom-created by a dentist, or one in your particular locale and fit snugly over your teeth. The technology has improved over the years, so now these aligners can be used to straighten and turn teeth, realign the bite and close gaps. There are several other advantages to choosing clear aligners.

  • Removable for meals and snacks, so there is no need to restrict food choices
  • Easier to keep your teeth clean
  • No risk of damaging tooth enamel

When deciding to have your teeth straightened, you can choose clear aligners or metal, ceramic, or lingual braces. You will need to discuss these options when you schedule your appointment with a qualified practitioner. Your orthodontist will know which treatment option will provide the best results.