Types of Braces

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Braces Explained

The majority of teeth alignment problems that arise occur are basically when teeth do not erupt in their correct positions or angulations. Malalignment of teeth is caused by various issues such as small underdeveloped jaws, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting habits, genetics, or using a pacifier after age three, to name a few.

 

No matter what caused your child's crooked or misaligned teeth, with orthodontic treatment, your dentist can correct your child's teeth.

Now that you have decided to straighten your child's teeth, you may be wondering about your options for braces. This page covers the different orthodontic "braces" options to help you decide which treatment is best for you.

How Braces Work

Braces are an orthodontic dental treatment used to correct the alignment of teeth. It is the most popular way to correct misaligned bites in children and straighten teeth. Braces move your child's teeth by applying gentle pleasure steadily, either by pushing them apart or together. Your dentist will help you determine a treatment plan specific to your child's needs based on a clinical exam, digital scan, x-rays, and photo of your child's face and jaw problems.

Having good communication and discussing your lifestyle, finances, and expectations with your dentist is essential to ensure you get the best treatment that fits your lifestyle.

Choosing The Right Type of Braces  

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There are various options for you regarding braces, each with pros and cons. Factors you should consider when selecting which braces to get your child are cost, treatment length, esthetics, and convenience.

Here is a brief look at the types of braces that are available.

Clear Aligners

These invisible braces use a plastic aligner that looks like retainers to move your teeth. Invisalign is the most popular clear aligner therapy on the market today; it uses the natural processes already happening in your mouth. The method uses clear aligners that are custom-designed molds of your teeth. They gently capture the forces of tension and compression and manipulate them to reposition teeth slowly and gently over a period.

 

You must ensure your child has their aligners in for at least 22 hours a day since their teeth can only move when wearing the aligners. Clear aligners are uncomfortable for the first few days because they fit tightly onto your child's teeth.

Pros for clear aligners
 

  • Allow for better oral health because your child can remove the aligner and brush their teeth as usual

  • Faster treatment time

  • Removable

  • No dietary restrictions

  • Some clear aligner treatments are cheaper than traditional braces

  • Less pain compared to metal braces

  • Do not affect the root of the tooth

  • More aesthetic

  • Fewer in-office visits


Cons for clear aligners

  • Your child must be compliant and self-disciplined because clear aligners can be removed, unlike the other braces that are on twenty-four seven and cannot be removed.

  • It may not be ideal for complex cases, especially the mail-order clear aligners.

  • Your child needs to remove them when eating, then has to brush and floss their teeth before putting the aligners back in the mouth.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are small brackets of metal put on each tooth and a thin metal wire which tenses or activates to add pressure on the teeth in a controlled manner. These are tough and less likely to break.

Pros for metal braces

  • They are still considered to be the most effective type of dental braces.

  • Strong and durable

  • Minimum compliance issues

  • Work fast; the treatment time ranges from one to three years or more, depending on the case complexity.

  • Usually cheaper than other braces.

Cons for metal braces

  • Uncomfortable, you must deal with the wire cutting your child's cheeks and tongue.

  • Dietary Restrictions

  • Noticeable

  • Can cause root resorption

  • Hard to maintain excellent oral hygiene

  • For cleaning, your child will need to clean their teeth and brackets well using super floss, interdental brush, or water floss to ensure your brackets are adequately cleaned. 

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are not a unique form of braces; they use a particular form of bracket. Instead of metal brackets, ceramic brackets are used. Ceramic brackets technically act the same way conventional or metal braces. This option has become very popular because the brackets are clear and blend well with your teeth, making them less visible. Treatment time is the same as the metal braces.

It is a good option for anyone who does not want people to notice that they are wearing braces.

Pros for Ceramic braces

  • Less noticeable than the traditional braces


Cons for ceramic braces

  • More expensive than traditional braces

  • The brackets can stain over time if not taken care of properly

  • They also have a higher chance of fracture since the material is more brittle

Lingual Braces

The lingual braces system utilizes the same technology as regular braces, but the great advantage is that they are completely invisible and even less visible than clear aligners. These braces go on the teeth's internal/back part.

Discomfort is significant with lingual braces because it impedes the amount of room in your mouth and traumatizes your child's tongue. Lingual braces also tend to catch more food, creating hygiene issues and slowing down treatment. Treatment with lingual braces usually takes longer (about a third longer) than the more traditional braces.

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating brackets are innovative fixed appliances that are now widely used in orthodontic treatments. This system replaces the traditional ligatures typically used to hold and connect the arch wires to the brackets. Self-ligating brackets have small mechanical doors or latches on the front of the appliance, which allows the placement and securing of the arch-wire in a slot created when the latch is closed. Each bracket is then connected with less friction and resistance, which means less pressure is applied to teeth to move them to the intended positions. The benefits of these self-ligating braces are mainly reduced treatment times, increased patient comfort, and longer time intervals between visits for adjustments. Self-ligating braces cost more than traditional braces.

After Treatment Care

Retention is the attempt to maintain the progress of the corrected teeth at the end of the orthodontic treatment. Without retention, teeth will return to their initial positions, called relapse. To maintain or achieve retention, your dentist will place appliances called retainers on your child's teeth.

Your child can get removable or fixed retainers glued on the back of their front teeth. Most people opt for removable retainers since it makes it easier to maintain good oral hygiene; however, removable retainers heavily depend on your child's compliance; if they do not wear the retainer, the teeth will move back. Your child will wear retainers for life. If your child loses a retainer or breaks it, make sure you visit your dentist to get a new one as soon as possible.

Fees

The length of treatment, the case's complexity, location, types of tools, and the braces used to align your child's teeth determine fees for orthodontic treatment. Many have argued that the less visible the braces, the more expensive the treatment is but this is not necessarily true. Be sure to talk to us today to find the best solution for you and your child.