While few of us are born with perfect teeth, nearly everyone can get the smile they’ve always wanted with the help of modern braces. These days, there are a variety of braces available depending on the nature and severity of a dental problem. Here are the most common types of braces along with the benefits and limitations of each.
Traditional Brackets: Made of high-grade stainless steel, these braces are attached to each individual tooth using a type of bonding cement. The brackets are then linked up with a thin archwire that applies pressure on the teeth to make them slowly move into the correct position over time. The archwires are affixed to the brackets by tiny elastics known as O-rings or ligatures. Your orthodontist will adjust these elastics at different times to ensure that your teeth are aligning properly.
Ceramic Brackets: Similar to traditional brackets, these devices are made of a clear ceramic material that’s less visible to the eye. Because they are near-transparent, ceramic brackets are popular among adults interested in more discreet orthodontic treatments. Because the clear elastics can become stained in certain instances, it’s important to keep ceramic brackets clean and avoid certain foods and beverages. Your orthodontist will provide recommendations on how you can keep your elastics free from stains.
Self-Ligating brackets: These brackets connect the archwires using a slide mechanism instead of elastics. Because they are self-ligating, these brackets require fewer dental visits and may produce faster results. You will need to ask your orthodontist if you are a good candidate for self-ligating brackets.
Clear Aligners: This orthodontic treatment involves a range of clear, custom-made plastic aligners that look similar to mouth guards. About every two weeks, one aligner is replaced with another, taking the adjustment of teeth a step further. Because they are clear, aligners are more discreet than traditional braces. They can also be removed for cleaning and eating. While they are a popular choice among patients, clear aligners aren’t appropriate for everyone. Ask your orthodontist if they are a suitable choice to address your individual needs.
Things to Consider
When it comes to choosing the right type of braces, you and your orthodontist will need to consider your individual budget and unique needs. Dental experts recommend that kids get an orthodontic screening at around the age of 7. The earlier treatment starts, the more options you will have. Early treatment can also result in faster, more effective results.