In a classic episode of “The Simpsons,” the brainy elder daughter of Homer and Marge needs braces. The first pair of braces Lisa is shown are “invisible, painless, and periodically release a delightful burst of Calvin Klein’s Obsession… for Teeth.” Upon the revelation that her father’s insurance does not include a dental plan, she must instead settle for braces that predate stainless steel which she is not allowed to get wet. If it’s been awhile since you were around a kid with braces, you may not realize that you also have a choice when it comes to choosing the best dental braces. While that choice may not yet include a whiff of cologne, be thankful that it also doesn’t include braces you can’t get wet.
Metal Braces: Low Cost, No Invisibility
You may see the word “traditional” attached to metal braces when research the type of braces that are best for you. Depending on your age, that descriptive term may be misleading. Today’s metal braces are smaller, less obtrusive and more open to customization than the traditional “metal mouth” braces of yesteryear. Even so, compared to newer options, metal braces probably remain close to what you immediately picture when you think of orthodontia. That picture of traditional braces may be a downside to choosing them, but is it a big enough downside to offset the fact that metal braces are typically the most affordable? Add in options like customizing the color of the rubber bands and heat-activated archwires to reduce discomfort and maybe going traditional isn’t such a bad thing.
Lingual Braces: Invisible, High Maintenance
For many people, the prime selling point of lingual braces will make them the best braces for you. What is that selling point? Lingual braces are situated behind the teeth so they are essentially invisible. Even more invisible than the more commercially named Invisalign. Before you go racing to the orthodontist with the request for lingual braces, however, you should know there is a price to be paid for braces that are especially difficult for anyone else to see . You may have experience some difficulty speaking clearly until you get used to lingual braces. They can also be harder to keep clean than metal braces so you must be willing to commit more time to maintenance. Lingual braces are not as widely available as metal braces, are more expensive if you do find a doctor with training and even if they are available, they may not be applicable to your particular dental situation.
Invisalign: Low Visibility, Low Maintenance, Not for Kids
The very well-named Invisalign, as noted, are not as invisible to the eye as those lingual braces positioned behind the teeth, but they are much less obvious than metal braces. On the other hand, they are almost certain to be more comfortable than lingual braces. While the upfront cost of Invisalign is usually greater than for metal braces, it may well be worth the cost since they don’t usually require as many trips to the orthodontist for adjusting. Invisalign requires less maintenance for cleaning, but are more subject to damage. Finally, Invisalign are most definitely not the best braces for anyone dealing with more severe problems nor are they suitable for kids.
Ceramic Braces: Low Visibility, High Maintenance
Ceramic braces are also popular because the ceramic is tooth-colored, thus making them practically invisible, giving them a definite advantage over metal braces. The disadvantage is that they are more expensive than metal braces and can actually be more uncomfortable on the bottom row for some people. Like lingual counterparts, ceramics are the best for those who don’t mind high maintenance braces. If you don’t keep the ceramic clean, the result could range from merely staining your teeth to actually damaging your enamel.