The best orthodontic treatment for you will depend on various factors. In this blog, our Barrie dentists discuss the differences between metal braces, clear (ceramic) braces, and clear aligners to help you make your choice.
How Braces Can Help
Braces work to straighten your teeth and realign them into their new, prescribed positions. They are suitable for both simple and complex orthodontic issues, including misalignment, underbite, overbite, and crossbite.
Since they are harder to clean than straighter teeth, misaligned teeth could result in other oral health issues such as gum disease or tooth decay. Teeth that are misaligned can also become more easily worn down due to an uneven wear pattern. There are also aesthetics to take into consideration. Many people with misaligned teeth or a misaligned bite feel insecure about the appearance of their smiles. Finally, misaligned teeth can sometimes make regular daily activities like eating or talking more difficult.
Braces can help fix misaligned teeth, and as a result, help address the issues discussed above.
For braces treatment, a bracket is affixed to each tooth and connected with a wire, which is secured in the back. Brackets on the rear molars have a mechanism attached that allows your orthodontist to tighten the wire.
Rubber bands called ligatures, hold the wire against the bracket. The brackets are held to your teeth using a special type of cement.
When you visit your orthodontist throughout the duration of your treatment, your braces are adjusted slightly. Pressure is gradually applied to your teeth through the braces to bring your smile into alignment. You have the option of choosing coloured elastics (rubber bands) to express your style.
What Makes Metal Braces Different From Clear Braces?
You are most likely familiar with traditional metal braces because they are the most common kind. As the name implies, these braces are made entirely of metal (though they are supported by elastics). Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology, metal braces have received multiple upgrades, and the brackets used today are much more streamlined than those used in the past.
Now, there’s less risk of a bracket irritating the inside of your lips or cheeks, as brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. Although, some people are still hesitant to choose metal braces because of their appearance. If you are concerned about others noticing your braces, you could consider 'clear' alternatives.
Clear braces are not actually transparent. Instead, the brackets are made of tooth-coloured ceramic, which helps them to blend in better with your smile.
Please note that while clear braces are a compromise between metal braces and clear aligners in terms of appearance, they are actually more brittle and are larger in size than traditional metal braces are. They also tend to be a bit more expensive than metal braces and are therefore often only used on upper front (most visible) teeth to save on costs.
Option 3: Clear Aligners
Clear aligners such as Invisalign are transparent, removable orthodontic appliances that are custom-made to fit your smile.
Made of clear plastic material, they are lower profile than braces and do not come with metal brackets or wires. The casual observer will have a hard time noticing them on your teeth.
For those who aren’t candidates for clear aligners, clear braces could be a good compromise. Usually, clear braces also typically fall in the middle of the spectrum in terms of cost, depending on what you require for your treatment.
Metal braces are usually the most economical option, with clear aligners coming in just above the average cost of braces. Of course, the cost will depend on the nature of your orthodontic problem, the duration of your treatment, and other factors.