Thinking About Braces To Straighten Your Teeth? Metal Braces May Not Be Your Only Option!

What was once more commonly used on teenagers, more and more adults are now considering using braces to straighten their teeth. This is because having a great smile in today’s modern society is becoming increasingly important. In fact, the majority of the clients we treat these days are adults, and there’s an increasing trend for the Baby Boomers to have orthodontic work done.

While you’re most familiar with metal braces, have you ever been curious about those clear or invisible braces such as Invisalign®? Read on to learn more about some of the different orthodontic treatments available that could help you achieve your dream smile.

What are braces?

Dental braces are considered “appliances” that are used by dentists or orthodontists on their own or with a combination of other treatments to correct a variety of teeth positioning problems. These include crowding, spacing and bite (occlusion) issues.

These days, there are more discreet, clear aligner treatments available such as Invisalign®, which is a very popular method used to straighten teeth. These are an alternative to braces, that we will expand further on later.

The primary goal of braces or clear aligners is to move your teeth into their desired position to create a healthy smile that looks and functions appropriately. In very simplistic terms, the way they work is by exerting a light constant pressure on your teeth for extended periods. As the teeth move, the jaw bone gradually adapts and sets the teeth into their new position.

What conditions do they treat?

It’s often thought that orthodontics is used only for cosmetic reasons to create a more beautiful smile. And while this could be true for some, braces are also used to improve your overall dental health. For example, straightening crowded lower front teeth. They not only look better but become easier to keep clean, which is important for oral health in an area that is prone to plaque and tartar build up.

Some of the main conditions that orthodontic appliances are used to treat include crooked teeth, crowded teeth, overbites, underbites and incorrect jaw positions. Some of these conditions can be treated with braces only, while others may need a combination of treatment modalities.

It is important to understand that a cookie cutter approach cannot be adopted. At The Dental Room, we assess each client’s teeth thoroughly and put together a personalised treatment plan with their health and aesthetic goals in mind. It is for this reason why at The Dental Room, we offer consultations to determine the best course of treatment for you.

*Results may vary between individuals. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits.

What are the common types of braces?

There are a wide variety of braces today, although they can be simply classified as metal, ceramic, and lingual braces.

Metal braces 

Metal braces are still commonly used to straighten teeth. Metal braces consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth and then connected with a thin metal wire that is adjusted at regular intervals. This then applies gentle pressure on the teeth to move them into their new position. Metal braces can be a more cost effective treatment option as compared to ceramic or lingual braces. They are also a great alternative if you are not disciplined enough to wear removable clear aligners. But more on them later.

Ceramic braces 

Ceramic braces or white braces, are similar in size and shape to metal braces. The main difference is that they have tooth-coloured brackets or wires which appear less noticeable than traditional metal ones. Although they can cost more, their improved aesthetics make them more popular with adults than the metal ones.

Lingual braces 

This form of treatment is practically invisible because the wires and brackets are placed along the inside of the teeth rather than the outside. From afar, you can’t notice these braces because they are behind the teeth. Unfortunately, the higher aesthetics come at a price. They are 100% custom made, so treatment usually costs a fair bit more than the previous two types of braces. Also, since they are in close proximity to the tongue, they can take a longer time to get used to.

As you can probably notice, the ceramic and lingual braces share a similar goal – to appear less noticeable. They are the preferred choices for people who may feel uncomfortable smiling with traditional metal braces.

‘Invisible’ braces with Invisalign®

Clear aligner treatment such as Invisalign® have become increasingly popular as an alternative to the traditional braces mentioned above. It is a discreet way to straighten teeth using clear, plastic removable aligners that clients swap every two weeks to gradually straighten (re-align) their teeth. The aligners should be worn for 22 hours per day for optimum results, only taking them out for eating and brushing.

Dr Shawn Rama is an accredited Invisalign® provider and The Dental Room is a leading provider of this cutting-edge technology in Melbourne, Australia, having achieved a Platinum Invisalign Provider status in 2019.

The benefits associated with using Invisalign® include:

  • Invisalign® aligners are instantly removable, which makes eating, brushing and flossing easier.
  • Invisalign aligners can be taken out for special occasions, such as a professional presentation or a dinner party. As long as they are worn for a minimum of 22 hours a day.
  • The aligners hardly interfere with an active lifestyle or work.
  • Treatment time could be shorter than with conventional braces in some cases.
  • The aligners are virtually invisible so your friends or colleagues won’t even know you’re having treatment.
  • Very gentle treatment process with minimal (if any) pain.

Contrary to popular belief, Invisalign® technology is so advanced and predictable that it can be used to treat a range of moderate to severe teeth straightening issues, and not just for cosmetic fine-tuning.

Although Invilsaign clear aligners are able to perform most tooth movements predictably, compliance is essential. Due to the removable nature of the aligners, they are not recommended to those who cannot commit to wearing them for at least 22 hours a day.

How long does treatment take?

Although many of our Invisalign® clients have a treatment time of between 3 – 12 months, as one can appreciate, the amount of time needed using treatment with braces or clear aligners to straighten teeth is dependant on many factors and as a result can vary greatly between each person. Some of these factors include age, complexity, compliance, type of braces used, your treatment goals, and perhaps several other factors depending on your circumstances.

Despite popular belief, age only plays a very minor role in the entire teeth-straightening process. Dentists used to believe that teeth were not able to move once growth had stopped. However, science has proven that teeth can, in fact, be moved throughout any stage of life. That’s great news if you think you missed the boat!

Which Treatment Option Is Right For You?

While both braces and Invisalign® have their advantages and disadvantages, there are a number of ways to achieve a great outcome. If wearing metal braces would make you feel overly self-conscious, then perhaps a more discreet option would suit you better. If you think the time is right for you to straighten your teeth, book a consultation with us today. You will discover which treatment plan would give you the quickest, most efficient way to straighten your teeth.

Disclaimer: Invisalign® assessments are provided for clients who are interested in learning more about Invisalign® treatment options. Booking is essential. Treatment results may vary between individuals. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits that should be considered carefully.