Over the years, modern dental braces have evolved to accommodate the growing list of requirements in creating flawless smiles. From the very first horseshoe-shaped iron braces called “bandeau” to the ultramodern branded invisible aligners called “Invisalign,” these orthodontic devices perform an important role in treating dental issues.
If you’re planning to get braces, you need to know of several important factors that can affect their efficacy in treating orthodontic problems. Read on for more information on the conditions that require the use of these devices, the different types of braces, and what you can expect from them.
There are several conditions that may require orthodontic intervention, most of which involve a person’s orofacial appearance. Some of the most common issues that can be treated with braces are crooked and crowded teeth, disorders of the jaw and incorrect positioning, underbites, and overbites.
Other less typical orthodontic problems are:
Patients with these orthodontic problems often require treatment at a young age. If needed, braces can be installed between the ages of 10 and 14 years. But since the jaw and mouth will still grow, regular visits to the orthodontist are imperative to ensure that the aligners still serve their purpose and prevent them from causing a more serious dental issue.
There are many variants available to treat specific conditions, but there are only four main types of braces known so far. These are:
Most traditional braces are made with metal wires and brackets. However, these types of braces have evolved to become subtler than the previously infamous “metal mouth.” Having these modern metal braces has also become a lot less painful, thanks to the new archwires that are heat-activated using the patient’s own body heat.
Out of all orthodontic correction options, metal braces cost the least. However, it is also the most noticeable because of its color.
The main components of metal braces are the following:
Ceramic braces are a different variation of traditional orthodontic aligners which blend in with the teeth better than their metallic counterpart. They also come with a higher price tag compared to metal braces.
Although they are a lot less noticeable because of the material they are made of, they can still be visible even without paying very close attention to the patient’s teeth. They also tend to stain easily if not properly cared for and maintained. Even so, they have the advantage of adjusting teeth alignment faster than invisible braces.
Lingual braces are practically the same as metal braces except for one thing: their placement inside the teeth. Since they are installed at the back of the teeth, they are invisible as far as onlookers are concerned. However, these types of braces are more difficult to adjust and maintain, can cause discomfort upon installation, are a bit more expensive, and may not be suitable for severe misalignment conditions.
Invisalign is a type of invisible braces that is most preferred because of its mouth guard-like appearance. Since these aligners are made of transparent plastic, they are considered a great option for people who wish to avoid unwanted attention while being able to drink and eat anything they want.
However, the choice comes with about 18 to 30 pieces of these custom-made aligners, which need to be replaced bi-weekly. It is also worth noting that these orthodontic devices aren’t available for children. They are not effective in correcting more serious orofacial issues, may take longer, and cost a lot more money compared to traditional metal braces.
Before deciding to have braces installed, you should know that the length of treatment typically runs from 18 to 30 months, depending on the type of device and the condition being corrected. After that, you might still need to wear retainers for as long as two years or until the issue is fixed.
During this period, you might experience mild pressure on your teeth and jaws, especially after the wires are tightened (for traditional braces) during your visits to the dentist. It might also be necessary to undergo several tooth extractions to make room for the realignment of the teeth.
Orthodontic devices like braces and invisible aligners are created to make the perfect smile and treat several dental conditions. To make an informed decision prior to their installation, make sure you fully understand your options and what you can expect afterward.
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