Trying to decide between metal braces and clear (ceramic) braces? The best option for you will depend on a number of factors. Our Grande Prairie orthodontists explain why these options, along with clear aligners, are so hotly debated.
How do Braces Help?
Braces will straighten your teeth and realign them into their corrected positions. They are suitable for both simple and complex orthodontic issues, including misalignment, underbite, overbite and crossbite.
Misaligned teeth can lead to other dental and oral health problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease because they are more difficult to clean than straight teeth. Misaligned teeth can also be more easily worn down due to an uneven wear pattern. There are also aesthetic considerations to consider. Many people who have misaligned teeth or a misaligned bite are self-conscious about their smiles. Finally, misaligned teeth can make normal daily activities such as eating and talking more difficult.
Braces can help fix misaligned teeth, thereby addressing the above-mentioned issues.
For braces treatment, a bracket is affixed to each tooth and connected with a wire, which is secured in the back. Brackets on the rear molars have a mechanism attached that allows your orthodontist to tighten the wire.
The wire is held against the bracket with rubber bands called ligatures. The brackets are held to your teeth using a special type of cement.
When you visit your orthodontist throughout the duration of your treatment, your braces are adjusted slightly. Pressure is gradually applied to your teeth through the braces to bring your smile into alignment. You have the option of choosing coloured elastics (rubber bands) to express your style.
The Difference Between Metal Braces & Clear Braces
Because traditional metal braces are the most common type, you are probably familiar with them. These braces are entirely made of metal, as the name implies (though they are supported by elastics). Metal braces have received numerous upgrades as a result of advancements in orthodontic technology, and the brackets used today are much more streamlined than those used in the past.
Now, there’s less risk of a bracket irritating the inside of your lips or cheeks, as brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. But, some people are still reluctant to go with metal braces because of their appearance. If you are concerned about others noticing your braces, you could consider 'clear' alternatives.
Clear braces are not actually transparent. Instead, the brackets are made of tooth-coloured ceramic, allowing them to blend in better with your smile.
Beware: While clear braces appear to be a cross between metal braces and clear aligners, they are actually larger and more brittle than traditional metal braces. They are also slightly more expensive than metal braces, so they are typically only used on the upper front (most visible) teeth to save money.
Option 3: Clear Aligners
Clear aligners such as Invisalign are transparent, removable orthodontic appliances that are custom-made to fit your smile.
Made of clear plastic material, they are lower profile than braces and do not come with metal brackets or wires. The casual observer will be hard-pressed to see them on your teeth.
What about the cost?
For people who aren’t candidates for clear aligners, clear braces may be a good compromise. Clear braces also typically fall in the middle of the spectrum in terms of cost, depending on your treatment requirements.
Metal braces are typically the most cost-effective option, with clear aligners costing slightly more than the average cost of braces. The cost will, of course, vary depending on the nature of your orthodontic problem, the length of your treatment, and other factors.