Crooked teeth or misaligned teeth can be seen commonly in children as well as in adults. There can be congenital and acquired causes of crooked teeth. Not only do they make your smile unpleasant, but misaligned teeth can also create other nuisances inside your mouth such as overcrowding, injuries to adjacent structures, room for bacteria to grow, bite abnormalities, speaking problems, and even periodontal diseases. Crooked teeth, therefore, should not be left untreated. There are various modalities available for straightening the teeth. Orthodontics is a broad branch of dentistry that specializes in straightening teeth. The most common method, however, remains the good old BRACES. But with the advancement in technology, numerous alternatives are available for braces as well. Ranging from the traditional metallic braces to the highly advanced Invisalign braces, there is a broad spectrum of braces in the market. Therefore, it becomes challenging to choose the best one. So, here is a comprehensive analysis that will help you to know about the major types of braces and take an informed decision.
You should always consult your dentist as the best, and individualized choice for you could be provided only by a professional.
All of you must have seen someone around you smiling and exhibiting those shiny metallic brackets. These are the traditional braces. They have been used for a long time to straighten the teeth. They comprise metallic brackets that are fixed to your teeth with the help of adhesive and are interconnected by archwires. Sometimes, additional force may be required, which is provided by elastic bands attached to these brackets. There is no defined upper age limit for getting braces, but for kids, you should get braces once they are 7 or greater. Traditional braces are quite sturdy, long-lasting, and affordable alternatives to get your crooked teeth straightened. Your dentist will put the braces in a way, to move your teeth in a particular direction to a fixed extent. It is therefore recommended to get your braces from an expert. You will also have to follow specific instructions and take precautions once you get braces.
- Useful in cases of severe overcrowding and crookedness.
- Most affordable
- Not removable, so you do not have to worry about putting them in
- Long-lasting results
- Displays metallic glint whenever you speak
- Uncomfortable in the initial days
- Bulky and inconvenient
- Food may get stuck within the brackets
- Dietary restrictions
- Requires high maintenance
- Long time of treatment – 18-36 months
Clear ceramic braces are the advanced variants of traditional metallic braces. These can also be called clear metal braces or clear wire braces. The components, mechanism of action, method of application is the same as that of metallic braces. The only difference, which can be made out of the name itself, is the material with which these are made. Ceramic is a hard and corrosion-resistant material that can be given any colour of your choice. So, the brackets in ceramic braces are made tooth-coloured according to the patient. The wires used are also translucent or clear. This allows them to blend with the surrounding teeth and be less noticeable. This offers a cosmetic advantage over metallic braces. Clear braces with coloured bands and brackets can be used for kids.
- Brackets are tooth-coloured, hence, less noticeable
- Sturdy and lightweight
- Useful for severe misalignment
- Colourful brackets available for kids
- No dietary restrictions
- Less durable
- Mild discomfort for initial days
- Long time of treatment – 18-36 months
- May get stained
Lingual braces are simple metallic braces that are applied on the backside or the posterior surface of your teeth. Unlike the normal phenomenon of “push” used by the braces, these are behind and hence, use the phenomenon of “pull” on the teeth. The most obvious advantage of using lingual braces is minimal to zero visibility. The components of lingual braces are the same as those of metallic braces. Even ceramic braces can be used as lingual braces. But since this requires active force on the teeth, the duration of treatment is slightly longer when compared to any other types of braces. These are for adults who are embarrassed to wear braces on the front surface of the teeth.
- Minimal to zero visibility.
- Useful for mild-moderate misalignment
- Difficulty in cleaning
- Can be uncomfortable
Invisalign literally means “invisible aligners.” Invisalign is the most recent development that has revolutionized the use of braces. It consists of a series transparent of aligners that are customized at each stage according to your teeth. They keep straightening your teeth gradually, and you keep moving to the next set until your teeth are aligned in the desired way. These are rigid, removable, and completely invisible. Therefore, for adults who were reluctant to wear braces, it is the best and the most convenient choice. Now you can get your teeth straightened without any discomfort or embarrassment. Invisalign clear braces for adults are, therefore, considered one of the best options nowadays. But best is clearly a relative term, and there is no single approach for each one of us. Different people have different requirements.
- The most significant advantage is that Invisalign clear aligners are totally invisible. From a distance, you cannot even distinguish if they are there or not.
- No food restriction
- Easy to use
- Not much maintenance required
- Short time of treatment – 12-24 months
- Most comfortable
- Not suitable for severe misalignment
- Less sturdy
- You should be compliant with them and remember to put the trays back. You should wear them for at least 22 hours per day for the treatment to work effectively.
Points to consider
Here are a few things you should keep in mind before choosing the best braces or teeth aligners for you.
- Benefit: You should always ponder upon the advantages offered by each type of braces. There are some shortcomings to each kind, but if the advantage-disadvantage ratio is favorable, you should go with it.
- Diet adjustments: You have to sacrifice some of your favorite food items if you want the braces and your teeth to stay healthy. You will also not be able to eat any hard food item. So, if you are willing to do so, then you are good to go.
- Maintenance: After getting braces, you will require much more maintenance for your teeth than you regularly do, especially with metallic and ceramic braces.
- Duration of treatment: Another most important factor is time. If you don’t want to wear braces for year’s choose the quicker options.
Frequently asked questions
1. What kind of braces work the fastest?
It depends on what is the extent of misalignment of your teeth. Ideally, Invisalign braces have the shortest duration of treatment which is 12-24 months. But, these are suitable only for mild to moderate misalignment. If your teeth are severely misaligned, traditional metallic braces or ceramic braces can be used, both of which have an equal duration of treatment, i.e., 18-36 months.
2. Which braces are the cheapest?
If you are looking for the most affordable braces, then traditional metallic braces are the best for you. They are strong and long-lasting and do not require frequent changes, unlike Invisalign braces. They can easily serve the purpose of straightening your teeth efficiently.
3. Which braces can I get at the age of 50?
There is no upper age limit for getting braces. You can get different types of braces at 50 depending on the requirement. Since Invisalign requires a lot of frequent changes and you should always remember to put them back, it is recommended that you choose metallic braces for convenience. They are fixed and will help you in being more compliant.
4. Do braces hurt?
It is based on what kind of braces you are using. In the long term, none of the braces are painful because your mouth gradually gets adapted to wearing them. But, in the initial days, metallic braces are quite uncomfortable as they hold your teeth under great tension to straighten them. This pain may increase when you try to eat or speak. However, Invisalign braces are very comfortable, and you do not experience any discomfort, even in the initial days.
5. How long do braces last?
Apart from Invisalign, you will not need to change your braces regularly. They will easily last until your teeth are straightened. Sometimes, the archwires may get snapped, or the brackets may become loose from the teeth. In those cases, you will require a new set of braces. To protect your braces from damage, a clear mouthguard for braces is available that will be tooth coloured and will protect your braces from external forces.
If you need further assistance in choosing the best braces, visit our dentist in High Wycombe at Conway House Dental Practice. Under cosmetic dentistry we got all your cosmetic issues covered. Our orthodontist will elaborate on the pros and cons of each brace according to your requirements. Our amiable staff are always eager to help you. So, if you are looking for the best dental braces, book an appointment with us today!