With so many treatment programs to choose from, how do you decide which dental device is best for you? Here’s a quick guide to today’s most prescribed and popular corrective dental devices.
Traditional Metal Braces
Made from prime quality stainless steel, traditional metal braces employ smaller brackets that are bonded directly to each tooth’s surface. Super thin arch wires span the length of the upper and lower set of teeth while soft rubber bands called ligatures tie the wires to the brackets. This design gently puts pressure on the teeth and gradually moves them to desired positions.
Traditional metal braces are prescribed to straighten severely misaligned or crowded teeth and correcting serious bite problems.
Ceramic braces are made from inorganic materials and are also affixed to each individual tooth much like traditional metal braces. They come in clear or tooth-colored designs which make them almost unnoticeable when worn.
Invisalign refers to a series of clear plastic aligners that cover the teeth entirely. These adjustable, customized-fitted rubber trays are nearly invisible and are replaced every two weeks by a trained orthodontist to slowly and accurately shift teeth to their proper place.
Invisalign aligners are easily removable and must be taken off before each meal or drink and before brushing. The plastic trays do not stain and are easy to clean.
Lingual braces are similar to metal braces except the brackets and wires are placed behind the teeth which make them virtually invisible. This feature is popular among patients who prefer the firm pressure of traditional metal braces but none of their glaring visibility.
Lingual braces are not recommended for patients with small teeth. They are costlier than traditional metal braces because of the complicated process involved in placing the brackets behind the teeth.
Before even choosing a dental device, remember to first schedule a detailed consultation with a board certified licensed orthodontist. These professionals are your best go-to resource when it comes to the nature and status of your dental problems and which treatment program is best for you. Do not self-diagnose your dental issues and do not rely on fancy advertisements that hawk the benefits of new, flashy dental products.
Clarify your treatment expectations. Discuss with your orthodontist what exactly do you want to achieve and if you have certain treatment time frames. Remember that wearing dental devices — either to straighten teeth or correct bite problems– entails enduring some degree of discomfort and demands a year or more of your time and patience.
Know the costs involved. Long-term dental treatment programs can be costly and it is only prudent to prepare your finances in order to avoid treatments delays and unnecessary debts.
Commit to a level of discipline. Whatever dental device you choose is only effective as long you wear it and take care of it. Some patients fail to fully benefit from their treatment programs because they have gotten tired from all the physical discomfort, in keeping repeated appointments with their doctors, or simply with the whole ordeal of wearing something foreign inside their mouth.