Many children and adults will wear braces at some point in their life. While the majority of orthodontic patients in the United States are between the ages of 9 and 14, there was a 40 percent increase in the amount of adults seeking braces between 1989 and 2012. When you hear the word “braces”, you may conjure up the image of a child with a mouth full of metal, but did you know there are actually a few different kinds of braces available? From traditional stainless steel to more discreet ceramic to the nearly invisible plastic tray, braces have changed a lot over the years! Read on to learn a bit more about each style to see what may be best for you or your child!
Stainless steel braces are perhaps the style we’re all most accustomed to seeing. Metal braces are normally made up of small stainless steel brackets that fix either to the front or back of your tooth. Wire is run between these brackets and it is tightened slowly over time to help move teeth into their desired positions. Along with the tightening of the wires, ligatures or rubber bands can be affixed to the brackets to help align the mouth. Although some adults or children find metal braces to be embarrassing, the cosmetic benefits are usually worth it for most people. (And remember: most people will wear braces in their lives.) It is also common for people to ask their orthodontist to decorate with braces with colorful rubber bands, so they can show off their individual style while wearing them!
Ceramic As An Alternative
Ceramic braces function very similarly to traditional metal braces, although their appearance is different. In place of metal brackets and ligatures, tooth-colored ceramic or clear material is used to help make the braces less noticeable. It’s important to bear in mind that the metal wires will still be silver, and therefore this option is not completely invisible. These braces will also be tightened over time to help shape your smile into one you’re proud of!
In recent years, a third option to traditional braces has emerged and steadily gained popularity. Various brands, such as Invisalign, offer the option of creating individually-molded clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth and help to align them. The trays use controlled pressure to gently realign your teeth, sometimes moving your smile as much as one-third of a millimeter every two weeks! While this method can be more expensive than traditional braces, many companies claim that plastic trays can straighten smiles in up to half the time as traditional braces. The added benefits of discretion and time are enough for many people to want to shell out a bit more for this method!
At the end of the day, all methods of realigning your teeth will leave you or your child with a happier, straighter, and more confident smile! It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of every option and decide what is best for you and your family.