Getting braces can be an enormous decision with many choices to make which can impact on both the cost and the end result. One of the decisions which must be made is the type of braces treatment which is best for straightening your teeth. This article discusses the most common forms of orthodontic treatment which are available for patients with crooked teeth or irregular spacing.
The type of braces that you end up choosing will largely depend on your budget and also your personal desires. Braces for children are often less costly than for adults, since children’s teeth and bones are still in developing stages and can be more quickly and easily here . As for adults, the cost of braces is higher since orthodontic teeth straightening takes longer. Also many adults consider a more ‘invisible’ form of braces which further increases the cost.
Standard Metal Bracket Braces
The traditional metal braces are those which you commonly see on the teeth of children and adolescents. They are comprised of metal brackets joined by a metal wire. Whilst they are usually the cheapest option, they are also the most conspicuous and unsightly. The metal braces have been around for decades and can provide possibly the best orthodontic alignment benefit since they can be fully adjusted (as opposed to aligners such as Invisalign, which can only treat mild to moderate malocclusion and often need to be followed by traditional braces to properly align the teeth).
Metal braces can be customized with colored or ceramic brackets, which can make them more aesthetically pleasing. Ceramic brackets do cost more, however they are made to match the color of the patient’s teeth and accordingly are less noticeable than the traditional metal type. Teenagers and children often opt for colored brackets and/or elastics to suit their personality and make the process a little more fun. There is a wide variety of colors available and also patients can further modify their brackets by selecting letters, images or symbols.
Teeth straightening with traditional metal braces typically take around eighteen to twenty four months on average. In more extreme cases (for example where there is overbite or underbite) the treatment can take longer.
A more cosmetic alternative to having braces are plastic aligner trays such as Invisalign. These are made of clear plastic and sit over the patient’s teeth. Since the trays are clear, others can hardly tell that the person is receiving orthodontic treatment. The trays are removable and need to be taken off for eating or drinking fluids other than water. The removability also allows for more thorough cleaning of the teeth than with bonded bracket braces. New aligner trays are made approximately fortnightly throughout the treatment.