Oh, how things have changed when it comes to braces…
The world of orthodontics has changed quite a bit. Braces have gone through generations of change. The braces your parents wore differ greatly compared to today’s versions. Braces today use new high-tech materials and are designed to take better care of the hard and soft tissues during tooth movements. In fact, there are several different designs of braces available to choose from, but how do you know which option is best for you and your smile?
When you think of braces, you probably think of the metal braces. These have been the standard option for many, many years. They use a system of metal wires and brackets to guide teeth to their new positions, although that is where the similarity with older designs ends. Modern metal braces are much smaller and lower profile, making them much less noticeable. They are also more efficient in moving teeth as compared to previous generations. You can use color ties with this system too which many patients seem to love. Lastly, these braces are generally the most affordable option.
Clear or ceramic braces work the same way that metal braces do. Instead of metal, they use a tooth-colored or a clear ceramic material which makes them much less noticeable than even the smallest, lower-profile metal versions. They do tend to be slightly more costly than standard metal braces, mainly due to the fact that they are more difficult to manufacture and they tend to be a little more fragile than their metal counterparts. You can use color ties with this version as well but most use clear ties. But be careful, the clear ties can be easily stained by food and drink, so you have to be careful with your diet when wearing these.
Lingual or behind the teeth braces
Lingual braces are a different approach but generally have the same features. They are essentially the same as metal braces but are placed on the inside or tongue side of the teeth, making them completely invisible to others. However, there are some negatives to this approach. They tend to bring with them added costs and more complicated adjustment appointments making them last longer. These tend to be the least desired, not just because of those downsides mentioned, but they can also impact speech and irritate the tongue.
Tie-less braces or self-ligating braces
These braces generally utilize a clip or slide mechanism to eliminate excessive pressure and friction by eliminating the ties. They are similar in appearance to metal brackets but usually without the color options. There is a clear bracket option for this type of brace system which that makes them virtually invisible. With a tendency toward shorter treatment times and being more comfortable to wear due to the lack of pressure and friction, it is no surprise that these have rapidly gained in popularity.
Clear aligner therapy (CAT), such as Invisalign, ClearCorrect, and MTM
Patients using CAT such as Invisalign really love this type of treatment. It utilizes a graduated series of clear plastic aligners that will fit over the top of your teeth, like a mouth guard. No one will even realize you are having your teeth straightened with this system. They are easily removed so you do not need to change your diet or oral hygiene habits. Aligner therapy is not suitable for more serious malocclusions and it tends to be a more expensive option due to all the lab fees.
“There are many options out there for today’s orthodontic patients,” says Dr. Gire. “My advice is for patients to do their research and then discuss their findings with their orthodontist. We love it when our patients do their research so they understand the basics of all of the options available. We use these options all day, every day, so we can always provide a unique insight that you cannot get from reading reviews, blogs, and forums online.”
At Ladera Orthodontics our goal is to provide patients with a beautiful, functional smile, while always taking into account the patient’s wishes. Dr. Gire and Dr. Salmassian spend a generous amount of time on their treatment plans, highlighting all the options for their patients, which includes the pros and cons of each choice. Together, you and Dr. Gire and Dr. Salmassian will ultimately find the right treatment plan that fits your very unique case.