Very few people are lucky enough to be born with perfect teeth, and getting braces is the best orthodontic option for moving teeth to where we want them to be. However, the decision to get braces isn’t made easily for many people as it’s hard to know which option is the best fit for your needs.
Braces used to be limited to traditional metal braces, but over the last number of years there has been huge advancements in technology which now means that there are many more options to choose from.
Once the orthodontist examines your teeth and mouth structure, they will recommend a brace which best suits your needs. In some cases, Invisalign may not be suited if your teeth are in really bad shape and Traditional Braces are needed instead. Having said this, here are the 5 most common types of braces.
Using a series of clear, removable aligners, Invisalign Braces are used to straighten teeth without the need for brackets and wires. The aligners can be easily taken out and placed back in, making everything from eating to brushing a breeze. They can be used to treat a range of situations such as deep bite, overly crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, open bite, crossbite, overbite and underbite.
It’s recommended to wear these braces for 20-22 hours a day but they can be removed when eating and drinking. Depending on your orthodontists orders, your set of aligners are usually changed every 1-2 weeks. It’s important that when your teeth begin to move and your old aligner no longer fits then it’s time to put on a new set.
This type of brace is based on an adaptation of the tried and tested traditional orthodontics which has been modified to allow the teeth to move quickly and straighten in approximately 6 months. Usually no teeth have to be removed before treatment begins and gentle polishing of the teeth help them to move quickly. Although the entire process usually lasts 6 months, whereby multiple visits are required during that period, in complicated cases it can last up to a year. Depending on the patient’s preference, 6 Month Braces can be either tooth coloured or metal finished.
Traditional Braces (or ‘train-tracks’) have witnessed great progresses since they were first released. They contain metal brackets that are attached to each tooth with a cement-like material and are composed of a high-grade stainless steel. A thin wire is placed over the brackets, linking them together. Tiny elastic bands known as ‘ligatures’ or ‘0-rings’ are then used to connect the wires to the brackets. Each time the orthodontist changes the bands, it tightens the wire and brackets putting pressure on your teeth so that they move slowly into the correct position. This type of brace is particularly great for teenagers and for cases where extensive movement is needed.
Ceramic Braces act in the very same way as traditional metal braces do. The only difference is that they are made out of a clear, transparent ceramic material. As these types of braces are less visible than other options, they are a very attractive choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. In the past, it was only the brackets which were ceramic and the wire was made of metal. However, nowadays clear wires are also available.
It’s important to note that if you are active and play sport, metal braces are the better choice due to their durability. The material in Ceramic Braces can chip and crack, so if you play contact sports you may want to consider choosing traditional braces to avoid costly repairs.
Also known as ‘incognito’ or ‘hidden braces’, Lingual Braces are the latest advancement in orthodontics. The system is very similar to that of traditional braces but the brackets are attached to the back of the teeth. This means that the braces are completely invisible and they are great for patients who are really self-conscious about having to wear braces.
Although braces are worth the investment, Lingual Braces are a bit more expensive than the other treatments mentioned above. They have special requirements and are custom made which means that there is more treatment involved.
Now that you’ve researched the different types of braces that are available to you, be sure to book a consultation with your local dentist. After an examination, they will consult you on what brace is suitable before taking impressions of your teeth. You’ll be on your way to straighter teeth in no time!