Your smile. It needs work. That’s why you’re headed to the dentist’s office. But, before you go, you should know as much as you can about the braces you’re considering. For most of your life, you thought that braces were just for kids. What you didn’t know was that you can get braces any time during your life.
Ah, yes – “metal mouth.” You’re familiar with these kinds of braces. Most of us have seen enough of the standard model to know and fear them upon sight. These braces use stainless steel wire that’s secured with ligatures to metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth.
They’re not necessarily cheap, but they’re usually the least expensive option on the market and still used by doctors like Dr. Nazli Diba, even though other, more conspicuous options are available too.
Ceramic braces are an update to the old metal gear and use tooth-colored ceramic instead of metal bonded to the teeth. They’re a little more subtle than the old-school stuff, but the ligatures are usually latex and so they can stain the teeth.
Self-ligating braces are much different than the traditional brace. They use built-in clips to hold onto the wire so you don’t need rubber bands (ligatures) inside your mouth. It’s a cleaner appearance and you’ll need fewer appointments and less overall wearing time.
These braces aren’t entirely invisible, but they’re not nearly as bad as the old-school stuff. In fact, they can be quite classy, especially if you’re a young female.
Lingual braces appear invisible at first glance. That’s because the hardware is fixed to the back of your teeth instead of the front. When you smile, the world won’t be staring at your braces. All they’ll see are your beautiful teeth, and that’s worth the added expense for some.
If you’re a little shy, and you don’t won’t to advertise it to the world, these braces are probably for you. They’re easy to clean, but the initial installation causes a fair amount of tongue discomfort so be prepared for that.
You may also have to relearn a bit how to talk because the braces tend to get in the way of your tongue. If you’re a tongue thruster, this is going to be especially annoying, but necessary to correct both the alignment of your teeth and the incorrect swallowing pattern you have.
Invisalign is one of the newer technologies on the market. It’s a clear, molded, plastic that fits over your upper and lower teeth. Multiple trays are needed to completely straighten you out, but the benefit is that it’s almost impossible for people to tell that you’re wearing anything. The plastic is smooth, so it shouldn’t interrupt normal speech patterns or interfere with your life in a serious manner.
The downside is that these braces are only for minor to moderate corrections and they’re also quite pricey, costing several thousand dollars more than the standard brace.
Robert Ander prides himself in helping his patients smile. After a long career as a dentist, he greatly enjoys blogging about common questions and issues patients ask about oral health.