Underbites, overbites and teeth that are crooked, crowded or have large gaps can all be treated with braces. There are just as many options in braces as there are problems they solve.
Parents of today had far less choice as teenagers; it was just the standard metal braces available back then. Now, their children can be fitted with a range of different options in braces.
Orthodontist have developed new treatments over the years to improve the aesthetics of braces. But choosing the right treatment method takes time and careful consideration.
Types of Braces
The most commonly used types of braces are:
These are the traditional braces made of high-quality stainless steel. An arch wire is attached to brackets on the teeth which provides even pressure to move teeth in the correct direction.
Using tooth-coloured ceramic brackets rather than metal and a white wire, ceramic braces are an appealing option for many patients. Also called clear braces, ceramic braces are virtually invisible. They are a popular choice for adults who prefer the subtle look compared to metal braces. Ceramics are also ideal for patients that like to have their photo taken or will attend important events while they are wearing braces.
Also called inside braces, lingual braces are custom made brackets designed to fit the contour on the inside of each tooth. A wire joins the brackets together and pulls the teeth into position by pulling from the inside. Just as effective as standard outside braces, however they take longer to fit as each bracket needs to be custom made. Appointments with lingual braces may also need to be more frequent and take longer than traditional braces.Lingual braces may also be more challenging to keep clean and may affect the speech in some patients.
Lingual braces are most common amongst adults who are self conscious of how they will look with traditional braces, particularly in the workplace. Lingual braces are virtually undetectable but users may need to wear elastic bands which people can see.
Invisalign is one of the newest options available. The patient wears a series of custom plastic trays for two weeks each which slowly move the teeth into the preferred position. The aligners are virtually invisible and are more comfortable to wear with no metal parts to rub against gums and inside the mouth. The patient doesn‘t need to make any changes to their diet and can clean their teeth as they always have because the Invisalign retainers are removed for eating and cleaning.
Which One Should you Choose?
It’s not just the aesthetics of the braces that will determine which one you choose. There are a few factors you should consider including cost, hygiene and the final result.
In our experience, some patients worry unnecessarily about how they will look with braces. They can remain self conscious about the braces long after everyone else has forgotten about them. But if the look of the braces is a concern for you, then consider lingual or ceramic braces that are invisible or hardly noticeable.
Some treatment options are more expensive than others. If you aren’t the person paying for them then you may need to check if some options are not feasible due to their additional cost.
Due to the technology required to customise the brackets and the time it takes in the lab to make the brackets, the cost of lingual braces is higher than other orthodontic treatments. Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces due to the materials.
Discipline with Dental Hygiene
Before getting any orthodontic treatment you need to consider if you are an ideal candidate.
All braces require extra dental care by the patient. Braces need more attention to brushing and flossing to ensure teeth don’t stain around the braces. Some children need to wait a while before braces to improve their commitment to teeth brushing.
Discipline Needed for Orthodontic Treatment
If you are considering Invisalign, you need to ask yourself if you will be disciplined enough to wear them at least 23 hours per day every day. Every time you want to eat something, the customised trays are removed and placed back in the mouth soon after eating. Every two weeks the trays are replaced so if one set isn’t worn as often as they should, then the treatment is at risk.
With braces, you may need need to cut out a few foods and change the way you eat others. Very chewy, hard and sticky foods are best avoided while you have braces and some foods should be cut into smaller pieces to avoid breaking the arch wire. If the wire is broken regularly, treatment time may need to extend to gain the best result possible.
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Some Orthodontics Are More Suitable than Others
No one has identical teeth, mouth and jaw as another person so every orthodontic case is unique. A treatment method that works best for one person may not be suitable for another. Your orthodontist can advise which options are available to you after an appointment.
Not all orthodontic treatment methods are suitable for all cases. The type of orthodontic problem being treated can determine which method is used.
Invisalign is a good choice for teeth straightening but not suitable in more complex cases involving an underbite and severe crowding, for example. Invisalign also does not routinely refine the final tooth positions as efficiently as braces. Complex orthodontic cases are best treated with braces. Continuous pressure of the braces‘ archwire slowly moves teeth into their desired position over time. The arch wire is anchored to the teeth with brackets to hold it in place allowing the braces to fix a multitude of problems.Occasionally patient may consider Invisalign for the majority of the treatment and complete the refining of teeth positions with fixed braces. The final result can be determined by the treatment method you choose.
Deciding on the best method of treatment is usually a collaborative decision. Most patients need the help of others to make the right choice. Your orthodontist can advise which options are available to you after an examination. If you prefer a treatment method, let your orthodontist know and ask their opinion.
Remember that research shows that regardless of what technology is used to align the teeth, the most important factor is the skill of the orthodontist who treats you. Firstly the skill in arriving at the right decision that will make you happy and secondly the skill with which the chosen appliance is used in your mouth.
Orthodontics are an important investment. You will live with the final result for the rest of your life. Like most big decisions, do your research by speaking to friends and family and ask your orthodontist questions you have.
Whatever you choose, just remember all kinds of orthodontic treatments are common now. You may feel self-conscious about the look of your teeth long after people have stopped noticing your braces.
If you would like an obligation-free appointment with an experienced orthodontist to discuss the options, call The Orthodontists on (08) 9364 8020 or contact us online