In a peer-reviewed article, Colgate reveals that there are 3 million teenagers in the United States and Canada who wear braces. Delta Dental notes that there are another 1 million Americans over the age of 18 who also undergo this orthodontic treatment and wear adult-sized braces. What are the most common types of braces currently in use? Which style would suit your needs?
Metal Braces are Common
You know the model. The stainless steel that holds the thin wiring in place attaches to the front of the tooth. Some kids mistakenly believe that these are the old-fashioned types of braces involving thick steel bands that used to strap together the teeth. This is no longer the case, and the youngsters should feel at ease. Modern wires are thin and can be held in place with elastic bands that come in a wide variety of colors. Teens can even mix and match colors as a fashion statement.
Ceramic Braces are the Ninjas in the Trade
You can hardly see the brackets because they blend in almost seamlessly with the color of the teeth. Unfortunately, they break easier than their more visible metal counterparts do. Moreover, experts at the Harvard Medical School warn that in addition to breaking easier, ceramic brackets in particular have been known to create notable discomfort on the lower teeth. Some patients have therefore chosen to work around this problem by using ceramics on top and metal on the bottom teeth.
Concealed Braces (Lingual Appliances) Hide behind the Teeth
Rather than attaching the visible brackets to the front of the tooth, this type of brace attaches to its back. Some orthodontic patients have reported that the bumps on the back of the teeth irritated their tongues and interfered with a clear pronunciation of some letters. Continued wear may allow you to get used to the brackets eventually, which should reduce discomfort and speech problems.
Clear Braces are Removable and Invisible
While they sound like a win-win – you can take them out for eating and tooth brushing – they are also usually only indicated if the spacing problems are minor. Remember that the clear material is made of plastic. If you keep the braces in while drinking certain refreshments, there is a chance that over time the plastic will stain or show slight discolorations.
Cost: Between $2,000 and $7,000
Although the choice of clear braces versus lingual appliances may not keep you up at night – unless you are a light sleeper and given to much worrying – the cost associated with the treatment will cause you to lose some sleep even with good dental insurance. Costs can be as low as $2,000, yet prices as high as $5,000 and also $6,000 are common quotes. When you add the cost of beginning and finishing x-rays, mold creation and check-up co-pays, you probably get closer to $7,000 – of which the insurance will cover a certain percentage.