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Braces are one of the most common dental procedures at many offices across the country. In fact, in the United States alone there are over four million people wearing braces. However, there are so many different options and uses, how do you know which brace to choose? The main types of braces are traditional, ceramic, self-litigating and removable aligners. Each option has both advantages and disadvantages and talking with your dental professional can help make a choice that is right for you.
These braces are the most common and recognizable type of dental brace. They are made of wires and attach to the teeth using attachments that are cemented in place. The thin wires put pressure on the teeth and slowly move them to the correct position. Small elastics called ligatures are tightened every few weeks to ensure the wires are tight. These braces work great to fix crooked and misaligned teeth and are generally the least expensive orthodontic appliance. The biggest disadvantage of using traditional braces is they are not easily hidden. This can be problematic for older patients as they do not want to be seen wearing braces later in life.
Lingual braces are an exact copy of traditional metal braces with one big advantage, they are hidden from sight! The braces are placed on the inside of the teeth, rather than the outside, which allows the braces to be less intrusive. However, they can be more expensive than their traditional counterpart and are much harder to keep clean. Also, because of the placement, speech can be impaired and will require a little getting used too, as the tongue will become irritated due to pushing up against the braces.
Again, these are set up the same way as traditional braces but instead of metal, the wires are made from a transparent ceramic material. This is yet another great option for patients who need braces when they are older because they are harder to notice. The biggest drawback of these is the user has to maintain peek oral hygiene or the wires will become discolored and will need to be replaced.
Just like the other braces, these are made of wires and brackets mounted to the teeth. What makes them different is that rather than using bands that have to be tightened regularly, the braces move on their own. There is a slide mechanism that adjusts to the teeth as they move, which cuts down on the number of office visits a patient needs by almost half. They are also clear which makes them aesthetically pleasing.
Clear aligners have become the mainstay for orthodontic procedures. These aligners are made out of plastic from a mold of your teeth. Every two weeks, the patient puts a new aligner in and as the treatment progresses the patient's teeth move to the correct place. Due to their plastic composition, they are virtually invisible and are the best option for someone looking to straighten their teeth without using something that is attached to the teeth. The biggest setback to wearing aligners is the user has to remember to wear them. For maximum results, they need to be worn for about 20 hours every day, taking them out only to eat/drink and brush. If the patient does not remember to put them back in, then their teeth will not move to the right place and the procedure might have to be restarted.
If you are in need of braces then talk with a dental professional about your options. Not every type of brace is right for everyone. Depending on your particular case, you may need a different type than someone else. If you have questions about any orthodontic procedure, give our office a call. Our team of trained professionals can walk you through your options and get you on your way to a smile you will love again!