Dentists since ages usually recommend braces to resolve issues like crooked teeth, overcrowded teeth, incorrect jaw position among others. While in some cases a retainer is enough, braces are prescribed after a careful consideration by a doctor of your existing medical history and prevailing conditions. No particular brace works for all.
Braces work by using handles that wrap around the teeth to act as an anchor. Archwires are used to guide the movement of teeth and adjust the position. Braces are usually worn from 1 to 3 years but the time might vary depending on the situation. And in some cases, retainers are used instead of braces when the situation is not severe.
These devices used to reduce orofacial pain and improve your orthodontic appearance has been undergoing a sea change of late. There has been a myriad of new devices on the market. And with people increasingly paying attention to the cosmetic details, metal braces are not the only preferred lot anymore.
Dental braces are not just a medical accessory anymore. They have become a fashion statement. Right from Tom Cruise to Britney Spears, braces have been embraced by kids and adults alike.
Your dentist usually prescribes braces based on the condition you have, but fret not since you have a lot of choice in decision-making. In this article, let us go through the wide array of braces available in the market, pros and cons of each of them and what would suit best for your teeth!
The most common amongst all the brace types, these have been in existence since long and are now sleeker, flatter and comfortable than ever.
The fact that they are very affordable makes them a widely used option. They come in different colours and are also preferable by kids. Medically speaking, metal braces are more effective at treating overcrowding whilst being less expensive than other options like clear and removable aligners(Invisalign). These braces give a lot of options to move your teeth in small steps. Wearing these also means you never have to worry about losing them.
Metal braces are usually placed in very specific locations and are present at the same spot throughout the treatment. There are a lot of customization types present for metal braces and this is what makes it all the more attractive at the price point. Very much customizable and effective, fixed metal braces are ideal for crooked teeth, wide gaps, and for people with crossbite, overbite and underbite.
Recently, there has also been a lot of metal braces which have been using archwires that use body heat to help teeth move more quickly and decimate any discomfort.
-> They are more difficult to clean.
-> They are quite visible when compared to the alternatives.
-> A lot of adults do not like wearing funky coloured braces.
An alternative to metal braces, these are used as a more visually appealing option. They are approximately the same size as metal braces and use wires that blend with your teeth making it hard for an onlooker to determine if you are wearing braces in the first glance. They are more discreet when compared to the earlier option.
The advantages of ceramic braces are as follows –
-> They are similar to traditional braces and are quite strong
-> They do not demineralize the tooth and is a superior adhesive agent.
-> They are less visible from a distance when compared to the earlier alternative(aka metal braces).
-> They take up less space when compared to metal braces.
-> They can be blended based on your teeth shape.
-> They are translucent and are therefore preferred by adults.
But all things said, they are not as effective as metal braces for dental ailments and have several pitfalls attached with them –
Here is what you need to watch out for if you are going to use ceramic braces –
-> Ceramic braces can be blemished. Daily consumable liquids like coffee, tea and juices can blemish the ceramic braces over time. Even daily consumable food items can play a role in discolouration of the ceramic braces.
-> The archwires present are quite noticeable. Whilst there are options like transparent archwires and coated metallic archwires that aim to make them less visible with the introduction of colours, the cold fact is that archwires still has a wire that visibly passes through the teeth.
-> They are costlier.
-> They need to be maintained regularly.
-> They need to be maintained regularly.
Facing an upsurge in popularity among the dental community in recent years, Damon braces guarantee fewer visits to your orthodontist and is a softer treatment when compared to other options. According to a study, people with Damon braces had 47.8 percent fewer appointments when compared to people with metal braces. They do not use elastic rings to control the archwires, instead of letting the wires slide freely. A few studies of Damon braces also say that not using elastic rings result in better oral hygiene.
Damon braces provide better and quick results since the teeth does not need to be adjusted. Also one more advantage they offer over ceramic braces is that they are quite easy to clean and saves a ton of time of money over time.
Aesthetically they look a lot better too and offer better oral hygiene since bacteria and plaque does not accumulate in these braces as much as the alternatives.
-> They cost more than traditional braces. But if your insurance allows it, go for it. If not, determine the cost-benefit analysis and go for the right option.
-> Takes some time to get used.
-> They are still visible to people around you.
They are quite different from the alternatives in the fact that they are placed at the back of the tooth making them almost invisible when compared to the alternatives. This makes them highly preferred among adults who don’t like to portray their braces to others.
And Lingual braces are apt for people who play instruments as it is easier for them to wear braces without facing discomfort in their daily life. While there are quite some unique challenges when it comes to lingual braces that are not associated with traditional braces, these are offset with proper training and information. Check with your doctor if you have any issues along the way.
Speaking about challenges, some of those include-
-> It takes quite a bit of time for your teeth to adjust to the new braces.
-> They are quite expensive compared to the existing alternatives since they consist of niche tools.
Invisalign is a very popular example of a clear and removable aligner.
Clear and Removable aligners can be used as a very good alternative to existing metal and ceramic braces. A common misconception is that Invisalign is the only clear and removable aligner available. The fact is that there are a wide array of aligners made of plastic available that can be customised to your teeth.
There are many clear advantages in using these type of braces. In addition to being good looking, they can be removed for eating and for other purposes. They are also good for oral hygiene since they can be cleaned regularly. These aligners can be changed based on the level of adjustment your teeth needs.
The advantages of using clear and removable aligners include –
-> The fact they are almost invisible. You can eat, drink, play and possibly do any physical task while wearing it.
-> They look aesthetically very pleasing.
-> They don’t work for serious dental ailments.
-> They are quite expensive and out of reach for people with a limited budget.
In addition to the above mentioned type of braces, retainers are used as a temporary braces and worn only during set intervals.They are quite convenient and does not cause much discomfort. But the damage to your teeth if you don’t wear regularly will be offset by occasional usage.
At the end of the day, what braces you use depend on a myriad of factors including your dental condition, budget and your preferences. Consult your Orthodontist, family and acquaintances before arriving at the right decision.
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