The Different Types of Orthodontic Treatments That Exist Today

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Is it time for you or your child to visit the orthodontist? You’re ready for a straight and healthy smile, but how are you going to get it? 

When it comes to orthodontic treatments, you have options. All three popular options have their own pros and cons. Which will you choose?

We’re here to help you make your decision. Read on to learn about the three most popular orthodontic treatments in 2022.

Standard Metal Braces

When most people think of orthodontic treatments, traditional metal braces come to mind. They’re reliable, often the most affordable option, and common amongst children and teenagers.

When you visit your local orthodontist for metal braces, the orthodontist will place metal brackets on each tooth. They’ll then run a metal wire through the brackets. During each appointment, the orthodontist will tighten and adjust the wires to move the teeth into their proper positions.

Pros and Cons of Metal Braces

Standard metal braces can handle almost every orthodontic problem. They’re effective for crowding, gaps, jaw issues, and misalignments. 

Metal braces may be the best option for young children. Because braces are so common in schools, children won’t stand out (even if they feel as though they will). Braces are difficult to damage and your child has no way of taking them off on their own.

Adults and older teens, however, may not like them because they’ll stand out more. It’s far less common for adults to have metal braces.

Braces are quick and effective. While some people need to wear braces for years, it’s not uncommon for modern treatment to take a year or less. This will depend on your treatment plan and your starting point.

Make sure that you know how to keep teeth clean with metal braces. It’s easy for food and floss to get stuck!

Wearing metal braces may limit your diet. You can’t eat any foods that are too hard or sticky because they can damage your braces and be difficult to remove. You know how hard it is to remove popcorn kernels and taffy from your teeth without braces, so imagine doing it with braces!

Metal braces can also be painful, especially at first and after each tightening appointment. Get orthodontic wax to cover up some sharper areas and minimize pain. 

Ceramic “Invisible” Braces

Ceramic braces are almost the same as traditional metal braces, so they function in the same way. The orthodontist will place brackets on each tooth and run a wire through those brackets. The main difference is that the brackets are ceramic and tooth-colored so they won’t stand out.

The wire will still be silver in most cases, though some orthodontists offer white coatings on the wires to make them less visible.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic “Invisible” Braces

Ceramic braces are just as functional as mental braces. The only extra advantage that they offer is that they’re less visible. While you will see them when you’re close to someone else or in a close-up photo, you can’t see them from a distance. 

Teenagers and adults often prefer ceramic braces due to their subtlety. 

With this in mind, ceramic braces still come with the same downsides as traditional metal braces (aside from their appearance). Ceramic braces can still be uncomfortable and you’ll still have to limit your diet.

Ceramic braces are often more expensive than traditional metal braces, though this isn’t always true. Talk to your orthodontist about a price comparison between the different types of braces to see if the cost difference is a factor for you. 

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are the least visible option when it comes to orthodontic procedures and treatments. 

Instead of using brackets and wires, the orthodontist will give you a system of plastic trays. Every week (or every other week, depending on your treatment plan), you’ll switch to the next tray. The trays will move your teeth slowly over time. 

While clear aligners are less visible than braces, they are still visible. Most people have to wear tooth-colored attachments on their teeth that resemble ceramic brackets. These attachments help the teeth move more quickly. They may also have to wear rubber bands. 

That said, there are no wires to contend with.

The most popular and reliable brand of clear aligners is Invisalign. While there are other reliable aligner systems, most orthodontists will recommend Invisalign due to its high-quality aligners and updated technology. 

Be wary of “DIY” aligner systems. These are unreliable and sometimes dangerous.

Pros and Cons of Clear Aligners

When you wear clear aligners, you won’t be able to see them in photos. Many people won’t even notice them up close unless you have plenty of attachments. They are shiny, so they will catch the light (which makes them more visible).

You don’t have to omit any foods from your diet. You take out your aligners every time you eat or drink anything aside from water, so you can still have your favorite chewy foods. 

Clear aligners can be more expensive than traditional braces depending on your orthodontist and treatment plan. Ask about the Invisalign cost for kids or adults and determine whether or not it’s worthwhile.

Children may struggle with clear aligners. They have to remember to take them out and put them back in around meal times and they need to brush their teeth after every meal, even when they’re at school.

Forgetful children may leave aligners on lunch trays or napkins. This might result in another visit to the orthodontist’s office if the child isn’t already due for their next tray.

Which Of These Orthodontic Treatments Is Right for You?

Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners are the most common orthodontic treatments in 2022. Which will you choose when you’re ready to get your superstar smile?

Talk to a local orthodontist today so you can start working together on a treatment plan. 

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