Today let’s talk about the different options to straighten teeth.
There are different ways to treat crowded or crooked teeth: one is teeth aligners, many people prefer this method since the clear plastic is barely noticeable on your teeth. Aligners are teeth straightening trays that resemble plastic retainers. New trays get changed out routinely to move the teeth.
These trays, also called aligners, are safe if approved and fabricated under the care of your dentist or orthodontist. It is not safe to attempt do-it-yourself teeth aligners at home. Getting teeth aligners under the care of a dental professional can be a great option for people who are worried about the appearance of your mouth.
Since you can barely notice them on your teeth, that’s a huge pro. However, statistically they tend to have the biggest compliance issue due to people not wearing them all day. Every day you have to put them back on your teeth every time after you eat. You can’t have them off for longer than one hour total each day, or else you’re going to literally add on years to your treatment plan.
You know yourself best. You know if you have the discipline or not, that’s required to choose this teeth straightening option. So if you are someone who doesn’t want the responsibility of these aligners, or you are worried it will take forever because you know you’ll end up forgetting to put them on for 23 hours each day, or maybe if you’re someone who wants them but does not qualify as a clear aligner candidate which your dentist will let you know if you are or not after your consultation the other option is braces.
Here are a few different types of braces.
Of course there’s traditional metal braces, these are the ones that most people think of when talking about braces. They are metal brackets with metal wires and you often have a choice of color for the rubber bands that can be switched out routinely when you go to your orthodontist appointments. The rubber bands hold the wires in place around each bracket. They are generally the most affordable option but they are the most noticeable when you smile.
Another type of braces are ceramic braces. They are very similar to metal braces, but they are clear brackets instead of metal brackets. They still have the thin metal wires running through the brackets as well as rubber bands. Oftentimes there is a color choice of clear for the rubber bands or you can also go for the colors and still have less of a metal look in your mouth since the brackets themselves aren’t metal.
The pro to these is that they are less noticeable than metal braces when you smile. If you want to be discreet about your braces these are a great choice. The con is that they are slightly more expensive than the metal braces and they can discolor easily if they aren’t being kept clean enough.
Lingual braces are braces that attach to the back sides of your teeth instead of to the front sides. So they will be placed on the sides of the teeth where your tongue and roof of your mouth touch. Not all orthodontists place lingual braces so it can sometimes be difficult to find a dental office offering them and they tend to be the most expensive braces option, sometimes even more than clear aligners.
In addition they are much harder to keep clean since they are on the back sides of your teeth and they can also feel rough on the back sides of your teeth making them hard to get used to. But the pro, a super serious pro is, if you don’t qualify for clear aligners and you don’t want anyone to know that you have braces, you can’t see these ones at all when you smile.
No matter which option you choose, all teeth straightening requires a consultation with your dental provider beforehand which will determine whether or not it is possible to safely straighten your teeth and which method they feel is best for your individual mouth. Everyone is different and I can’t stress enough on how important it is to talk with your dentist about your goals for your individual mouth. They will guide you in the right direction and get you your desired results.
My best advice is to arrive to your consultation appointment knowing what your priorities are. Priorities to think about are aesthetics, compliance and finances.
For aesthetics, decide you’re your expectations are going to be before starting braces or clear aligners. Are you self-conscious about getting traditional braces having a mouthful of metal or are you aware of the time commitment of clear aligners versus braces? Do you have a deadline when you are hoping to be finished? Things like that.
Next for compliance. Consider your maturity level relating to compliance. Just be real with yourself. Are you hoping for clear aligners but realistically might not be ready for the responsibility? Do you foresee yourself forgetting to put them on or losing them? Be real with yourself. You don’t want to waste your time or money.
Lastly, decide on how much money you are willing to spend. Be sure to take finances into consideration before getting your hopes up for a specific treatment. Every orthodontist may have slightly different fees based on the practice’s location. It’s hard to get an estimate without getting an individualized treatment plan based on your needs first. But generally, from highest to lowest lingual braces are the most expensive, clear aligners and clear braces are the next expensive, usually pretty similar in price and lastly traditional metal braces are the most affordable.
In conclusion, be sure that you’re making an educated decision about the future of your teeth. Those are your only teeth you have. So utilize your consultation with your dental provider to ask questions because they are the best resource for any individual concern you may have on how to safely straighten your teeth.