Are Metal Braces the Only Option?

Metal Braces | Clear Braces | Invisalign | Clear Aligner Treatment | Lingual Braces | Orthodontics | Are Metal Braces the Only Option? | Emilia Taneva | Bubbly Moments

Years ago, if you had crooked or crowded teeth and wanted to achieve a beautiful smile, metal braces and a mouth full of metal were your only option. The good news is that Orthodontics has changed over the years and there are now a wide variety of treatment options that can give you the smile you desire. While traditional metal braces are still often necessary for certain dental conditions, there are many different treatment options you can choose from. Together with your orthodontist, you can find a treatment solution that will fit your lifestyle and dental needs.

Metal Braces

Metal Braces | Clear Braces | Invisalign | Clear Aligner Treatment | Lingual Braces | Orthodontics | Are Metal Braces the Only Option? | Bubbly Moments

Metal braces are the standard and what most people think of when it comes to straightening teeth. They consist of metal brackets attached to each tooth and connected by thin metal wire and rubber bands. In contrast to the braces from years ago, the brackets are now much smaller and slightly less noticeable. They often utilize heat-activated archwires that, with the help of your body heat, make teeth move more quickly and with a lot less pain. Teens and adults with metal braces can choose colored rubber bands as a way to personalize their smile with a bit of color. In cases of extreme overcrowding of teeth or severe misalignments, metal braces are still the most effective treatment option. Average treatment times are 18 months to 3 or more years depending on the initial condition.

Metal braces are the cheapest option when it comes to braces. However, as a downside, they are noticeable, you cannot remove them at home, you have to be careful eating certain foods, hard and chewy foods must be avoid (hard candies, apples, carrots, nuts, gum, etc.), and you need to spend more time brushing and flossing. Proper brushing and flossing around the metal brackets is necessary for tooth health as well as to avoid tooth staining.

Ceramic Braces

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Ceramic braces work in the same way as traditional metal braces except they are made with clear or tooth-colored ceramic brackets, as well as clear wire and rubber bands. They work in the same way as metal braces and can treat the same dental conditions. The biggest difference is, because of their color, they offer a more discreet option to traditional metal braces. They are usually slightly more expensive than metal braces, but cheaper than the clear aligners, such as Invisalign.

One downside to ceramic braces is that they are more prone to staining the teeth. Because of this, regular and frequent brushing is even more essential. Foods with strong pigments, such as tea, coffee, red wine, berries, or tomato sauce can lead to stains, as can smoking. Treatment times are similar to metal braces, ranging from 18 months to 3 or more years depending on the initial condition.

Lingual Braces

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Lingual braces are a relatively new and growing orthodontic option for some patients. Lingual braces are similar to that of traditional braces, with brackets and wire. But instead of being placed on the front of your teeth, these braces go on the back of the teeth, offering a completely invisible straightening option. Typical treatment times average between 6 and 18 or more  months depending on the initial condition.

Lingual braces are not for everyone. Because they must be placed on the back of the teeth, there are some requirements. A patient must have teeth long enough to fit the brackets on the back, so if you have short or small teeth, these will not be an option for you. These will also not work with excessive bite problems. In addition, lingual braces can be more difficult to get used to than traditional braces as they sit on the back of the teeth and affect the tongue. It may take time to adjust; swallowing and speaking can take some time to get used to. Caring for lingual braces takes time as it is not as easy to see if you have removed food debris when the brackets are in the back.

Lingual braces offer the perfect solution for patients that are self-conscious of their appearance and want something invisible. If you play a musical instrument, such as the flute, clarinet, or saxophone, the brackets on the back do not interfere with playing. Together, you and your orthodontist can discuss if lingual braces are an option that could work for you. Keep in mind that not many doctors offer this option and it is the most expensive one.

Clear Aligner Treatment | Invisalign

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Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are the most different orthodontic options to traditional braces. Instead of brackets and wires attached to the teeth, clear aligners are custom-made, tight-fitting mouthpieces that slip over the teeth. They are worn every day for at least 22 hours for a week, two or three before you receive a new set. With every change of aligners, the teeth move slightly into the desired position. Because they are clear, they are much less noticeable. The aligners are removed for eating, drinking, and brushing and flossing. You are not as restricted to food and oral care is a little easier. Treatment times are usually 6 to 24 or more months depending on the initial condition and patient compliance.

Clear aligners are not for everyone and the treatment is based on patient’s compliance. They are primarily used for adults and teens with mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues. Patients with severe crowding or severe overbites, underbites, or crossbites might have to go through additional sets of aligners.

With all the different orthodontic options available today, it is important that you and your orthodontist discuss your goals before making a final treatment decision.

Have You Ever Had Metal Braces, Clear Braces, Lingual Braces, or Clear Aligner Treatment such as Invisalign? How was your experience? Comment Below!


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  1. Rena Walter January 30, 2019 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a big differance!

  2. Rachel Mertz January 31, 2019 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I’ve always thought there has to be another option. This was the most painful four years of my life.

  3. Angela Bridgers February 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    My son has to get things done to his teeth

  4. Sandra Watts February 7, 2019 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Braces have changed a lot since I was a kid.

  5. Jared Ruman February 16, 2019 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad I never had to have braces. My heart goes out to anyone that did.

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