If you’re in the market for braces, the amount of choices that exist now compared to even 10 years ago can be overwhelming. While the standard big bracket monstrosities that anyone who has ever worn braces has a special place in their heart for are still the most widely used option available, there are now a wide variety of braces available depending on your budget and individual needs.
Metal Bracket Braces
These are what most people think of when they hear the term braces. I had the “joy” of wearing this style of braces for five years of my life and am extremely grateful that there are now a wider variety of choices available for my children. While these style braces are the most affordable option, they are by far the most painful and obtrusive option available today. If you have severe dental problems such as I had, where I had a molar that grew in almost sideways, unfortunately these will be virtually your only option. Speaking from personal experience the things I hated most about these braces were the immense pain, the “braces” smile in every photograph, and the severe dietary restrictions. Traditional varieties are constructed completely out of steel although variations exist such as titanium, nickel, or even gold if you have are allergic to surgical steel, or just want to look like Lil Wayne.
If you’re like me and require traditional metal bracket style braces because of severe dental problems but absolutely despise the way that braces look, then this is a good alternative for you. These braces function the same way as their metal brethren except they are made of ceramic, or less commonly, plastic. This allows them to blend in almost inconspicuously with your teeth and makes them far less noticeable. The other benefit is that some types of these braces are can be self ligating which means that your monthly dental visits will be shorter and less painful than with traditional metal bracket braces where every rubber band on every bracket needs to be replaced monthly. The drawback to this style of braces is that they are brittle, so they require even more care as far as what you can and cannot eat than metal bracket braces.
Unlike traditional braces which are bracketed to the fronts of your teeth, lingual braces are applied from the back of your teeth which means that they are even less noticeable than ceramic braces. The drawbacks to lingual braces are that they can be more expensive than traditional braces and cannot be used if you have more severe dental problems.
These are the newest and least widely used addition to the braces family. Most consumers know of these types of braces as Invisalign although Invisalign is only a singular manufacturer of these style of braces. Unlike traditional forms of braces, removable liners work by lifting and pushing a tooth up only, whereas traditional braces can completely vertically shift a whole tooth. What this means is that if you have problems such as severe overcrowding of your teeth, removable liner options will not be able to correct your individual problem. While their effectiveness is often debated amongst Orthodontists, out of the more than a handful of people I know who have personally used this option, none have regretted it.