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.
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?
Dentists or orthodontists use dental braces on their own or with other treatments to correct teeth positioning problems. These include crowding, spacing and bite (occlusion) issues.
These days, while traditional metal braces are effective, more discreet, clear aligner treatments are available such as Invisalign®, a very popular method used to straighten teeth.
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 simple terms, they work 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 look better and become easier to keep clean, which is essential for oral health in an area prone to plaque and tartar buildup.
Some of the main conditions that orthodontic appliances 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 essential to understand that a cookie-cutter approach cannot be adopted. At The Dental Room, we assess each client’s teeth thoroughly and create 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.
What are the common types of braces?
There are many braces options available today, including metal, ceramic, and lingual braces.
Metal braces are still commonly used to straighten teeth. Robust in nature, reliable, and with excellent functioning, metal braces consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth, then connected with a thin metal wire that is adjusted regularly. 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 than ceramic or lingual braces. They are also a great alternative if you are not disciplined enough to wear removable clear aligners. The great news is that The Dental Room now proudly offers traditional metal braces fitted by our resident dentist, Dr Kathy Song.
Ceramic 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 braces.
This treatment is practically invisible because the wires and brackets are placed along the inside of the teeth rather than the outside. You can’t notice these braces from afar 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 near the tongue, they can take longer to get used to it.
While ceramic and lingual braces appear less noticeable, as mentioned, they are typically more costly than metal braces. Metal braces are also more reliable and function better than ceramic or lingual braces, which tend to have more emergency appointments associated with treatment, such as broken brackets, slower treatment times, and more difficulty in getting predictable results. For these reasons, and because we understand our clients lead busy lifestyles requiring predictable, fuss-free treatment, we prioritise metal braces here at The Dental Room.
‘Invisible’ braces with Invisalign®
As an alternative to traditional braces, clear aligner treatments such as Invisalign® are a discreet way to straighten teeth using clear, plastic removable aligners that clients swap every two weeks to straighten (re-align) their teeth gradually. 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.
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 daily.
- 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 treat a range of moderate to severe teeth straightening issues, not just for cosmetic fine-tuning.
Although Invisalign clear aligners can perform most tooth movements predictably, compliance is essential. Due to the removable nature of the aligners, they are only recommended for those who can 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 dependent on many factors and, as a result, can vary significantly between each person. Some factors include age, complexity, compliance, type of braces used, treatment goals, and other factors depending on your circumstances.
With braces, you will see the significant changes happen a lot quicker than you would with clear aligners. The ins and outs of your teeth will move a lot quicker, or spaces will close faster in comparison. However, perfecting rotations or minor degrees of movement may take longer when it comes to finishing and fine-tuning. It’s harder to manipulate the finishing while the metal bracket and wire are strapped to the teeth than a clear aligner that hugs the entire tooth surface.
Despite popular belief, age only plays a very minor role in the entire teeth-straightening process. Dentists used to believe that teeth could not move once growth had stopped. However, science has proven that teeth can 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 braces and Invisalign® have advantages and disadvantages, several ways exist to achieve a great outcome. If wearing metal braces would make you feel overly self-conscious, then perhaps a more discreet option such as Invisalign® would suit you better. However, now that The Dental Room (and our very own Dr Kathy Song) offers braces, it’s important to note that this option is just as viable.
Braces are suitable for most clients. Improving teeth alignment goes beyond just making them straighter, but also healthier in the long term, reducing the chances of differential wear or grinding, improving oral hygiene and function of the bite. At The Dental Room, most clients are teenagers undergoing an entire course of braces. However, we also have some preteens on partial braces, which are used to create space for their adult teeth to come through correctly, as well as some adults doing pre-smile makeover alignment – so there are a variety of suitable cases for braces.
We also understand our clients lead busy lifestyles and want predictable, fuss-free treatment. You generally achieve better results with braces for cases involving extractions of teeth, crossbites (where the tooth in the top jaw is tucked inside the bottom jaw), moderate to severe crowding, and impacted teeth (high to low, right to left positioning discrepancy).
If the time is right 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: Initial assessments are provided for clients interested in learning more about their orthodontic treatment options. Booking is essential. Treatment results may vary between individuals. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits that should be considered carefully.