Orthodontic braces are dental tools or aids that help in correcting problems related to mal-aligned teeth. There are different types of orthodontic braces available which help both the younger people and adults to undergo orthodontic treatment to correct their dental occlusal ailments.
Types of Braces
There are 5 main types of braces available nowadays
- Metal braces
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Lingual braces
- Clear aligners also called as Invisalign
Metal braces or commonly called traditional braces are the most common type of braces world-wide and have been around for over 100 years now. In the past, braces were very bulky and noticeable but, braces today are very comfortable and aesthetic.
Advances in innovation and technology have made braces more suitable for both the dentist and the patient due to following properties
- Smaller in size
- Faster in use
- More Comfortable to carry
- More Effective
Metal braces are most common among children and adolescent patients. These traditional braces work by placing the braces to the teeth and connecting them with a wire, and the wire is tied to the braces using the elastic ties, which come in an array colors to choose from. For moving the teeth, the orthodontist makes adjustments to the wire at every appointment every 4-8 weeks depending on the case.
- Efficient and versatile
- No speech changes can be noticed
- Appointments every 4-8 weeks depending on the case
- Fun if you want colors as they are found in different colors
- Less reliant on patient compliance than other types
- Less waiting period to get started
- Most affordable than other braces
- Most noticeable esthetically which can be a reason for concern
- Difficult to maintain oral hygiene
- Not for patients with poor oral hygiene as it can worsen the oral health
Ceramic braces are braces made of clear, tooth colored material, they work in the same way as metal braces but are more discreet and less visible than the traditional braces. Ceramic braces are most popular among patients who want to straighten their teeth in a discreet and affordable way and think that lingual braces and invisalign is not for them. Most of these patients tend to be esthetically-driven adolescents and adults.
Compared to traditional braces, ceramic braces are less noticeable and present an affordable alternative to metal braces. One should know that however, these braces are also slightly larger than metal braces and can stain depending on diet and brushing habits, and they are not for everybody, but we believe they remain a valuable tool in our orthodontic treatment.
Self-ligating braces work similarly to traditional and ceramic braces and are available in metal or clear, ceramic materials. They rely on braces and a wire to move the teeth same as the above-mentioned types. The difference between self-ligating braces compared to metal or ceramic braces is that self-ligating braces use doors or clips to hold the wire in place, rather than elastic rubber ties which makes it more reliable.
Self-ligating braces result in mildly shorter appointment times because of how easy they are to adjust and they proved to be a good option for following patients
- Patients who are very sensitive or have more concern regarding discomfort
- Patients who cannot sit still in the dental chair for very long periods of time
- Patients with developmental delays and orthodontic need are benefited more.
Lingual braces are the most specialized, skill-based and least common orthodontic system on the market, this is because they require a different set of orthodontic skills that few orthodontists take the time to hone or master. Lingual braces technique are not taught during orthodontic training, and it is therefore up to the orthodontist to learn to become proficient with them.
We believe that lingual braces behind the teeth should be presented as an option to all eligible patients because they provide more advantages than other type of braces offer. These braces include complete invisibility, full customization to specific teeth, as well as better efficiency and versatility in select patients.
Lingual braces are especially well-suited for adults who do not want noticeable braces, but also have complex orthodontic treatment needs. We have also seen an increase in the popularity of braces among esthetically conscious adolescents.
While lingual braces offer many advantages, there are few things one should know before taking the leap! because lingual braces are placed behind the teeth, some patients experience slight changes to their speech and irritation to their tongue due to frequent contact of both the braces and the tongue. These symptoms usually present shortly after the braces are applied and usually go away several weeks later as mouth becomes accustomed to the new appliances and the new changes.
Invisalign Or Clear Aligners
Clear aligners have seen a surge in popularity in the last decade due to their ease of use and aesthetic concern. They were popularized by Invisalign in the early 2000s, which slowly became the largest brand of aligners and became one of the widely used braces.
It is clear why clear aligners and Invisalign are so popular right now, some are mentioned below
- Clear and transparent giving aesthetic appeal
- Unlike other braces they are removable
- Allow easier brushing and flossing and hence maintaining good oral hygiene
- Faster in results than braces for some limited treatments
- Require less appointments
- Shorter appointments are possible
Invisalign is of great use for patients who had braces when they were younger and just need a touch up, as well as for patients who have mild to moderate dental problems like maligned teeth, large overbite, no jaw alignment problems, and who have gaps in their front teeth also called as open bite. But any clear aligner system including Invisalign has significant limitations compared to braces when addressing difficult problems or comprehensive orthodontic treatments. For more complex problems, lingual braces behind the teeth or a combination of Invisalign and lingual braces can offer a unique and esthetic treatment solution.