When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may immediately picture the metal wires and brackets that come with traditional braces, but did you know that there are other options? Today, our Halifax dentists talk about the differences between the various types of orthodontic treatment.
The Difference Between Clear Braces, Traditional Braces & Clear Aligners
If you think that you need orthodontic treatment then you may think of two possible options: traditional braces and clear aligners. But did you know that there is a third option? Clear braces allow you to avoid the look of traditional metal braces while providing the support your teeth need to move into their desired places.
Today, we’ll compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces in an effort to help you decide between the three. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of orthodontic treatment. Speak with your dentist to learn more.
Traditional Metal Braces
When you see braces on tv or think of braces, you probably see this type. They are also typically the most visible when worn, however, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.
Traditional metal braces are the go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you can choose to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Clear Aligners Such as Invisalign
Clear Aligners are a newer type of orthodontic treatment which offers a similar result while being less noticeable. Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic material, making them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when worn.
Since clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating all the foods you love as there will be no dietary requirements - unlike with braces, which require you to watch which foods you eat. Because braces are fixed and not removable, you'll need to avoid crunchy or sticky foods such as popcorn, hard fruits and vegetables, gum and snacks that can get stuck in your braces.
Another thing to keep in mind with clear aligners is that you'll need to drink only water with them in. Otherwise, take them out each time you eat or drink. Brush and floss before placing them back in your mouth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners. While clear aligners can soak in cleaning solutions or be rinsed in warm water, braces will need to be brushed and flossed regularly.
While clear aligners may not be right for everyone, there are other options such as clear braces which offer a discreet option but with a similar outcome.
Clear Ceramic Braces
Clear braces are a type of ceramic braces that help patients straighten their teeth just like traditional metal braces. Think of them as the quiet cousin to traditional metal braces. They still have the wires and brackets but they are tooth coloured making them less noticeable.
The ceramic brackets match closely to the colour of your tooth enamel, making them blend in much more than traditional metal brackets do. Sometimes, your wires can also be applied to match the colour of your teeth to further add to the natural appearance of your clear braces.
Do I need to Clean my Braces in a Special Way?
Whether you choose metal braces or clear braces, it’s important to have excellent dental hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Because food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets, brushing and flossing become even more important to avoid cavities and gingivitis.
Are There Any Foods That I Shouldn't Eat With Braces?
If you have clear or metal braces then you will need to avoid eating sticky foods such as most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples, all of which can lead to the metal becoming displaced or damaged.
Should I Be Concerned With My Clear Aligners Staining?
If you choose clear braces, you’ll want to be careful with which foods and drink you consume, as the brackets on clear braces can become more easily stained than on metal braces. Dark-coloured foods and drinks can stain your aligners so you should avoid having these when you have your clear aligners in.
Is Orthodontic Treatment Expensive?
As we mentioned above, clear braces may be a great option for patients who aren’t candidates for clear aligners. Financially, ceramic braces are the mid-range between traditional metal braces and clear aligners. Metal braces are the most affordable option, while clear aligners are just above the average cost of braces. Of course, this all depends on the nature and extent of your orthodontic problem.
How Long Does The Process Last?
While being able to remove your clear aligners is a bonus, you may benefit from the fact that braces are not removable making it more likely that you will stick to your treatment plan.
Both metal braces and clear braces are comparable when it comes to the duration of your treatment time. Patients typically wear them anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the nature of their dental issues.