Around 4.8 million Americans, most of whom are children and teenagers, wear braces. Pediatric orthodontists have their work cut out for them as most parents do not know which types of braces to get their children.
If you are a parent looking to get your child braces, it helps to know your options. Read this article to discover popular types of braces in 2022 and their features.
1. Metal braces
Metal braces are one of the first tooth alignment solutions introduced by dentists and have been used for several years. However, unlike the first braces, today’s metal braces are smaller and more comfortable. They also do a better job of aligning teeth.
Metal braces are available in silver and gold and are popular among adolescents. During the application, the dentist connects the braces using wires using elastic ties. The ties come in a variety of colors. The dentist adjusts the wires every four to eight weeks to align your teeth.
Heat-activated archwires are a recent development in metal braces. These wires are activated by the warmth in your mouth and slowly start aligning the teeth. The continuous light pressure moves your teeth quickly, reducing the time you have to wear braces.
Metal braces are non-removable, which makes them an excellent option for children. However, they are very noticeable, and some people feel self-conscious wearing them.
Metal braces require keen maintenance, and flossing and brushing them is not easy. Thus, they are not suitable for patients with poor oral hygiene practices.
2. Ceramic Braces
Also known as clear braces, these braces use tooth-colored material that is not easily noticeable. The braces are an excellent option for someone who wants a discreet tooth alignment solution. Ceramic braces are also a great alternative to Invisalign and lingual braces.
The ceramic used to make clear braces has a variety of colors, including white and clear. Hence, they are a popular option for aesthetically inclined patients. If you want braces made in bold colors, go for ceramic braces.
Ceramic braces typically cost more than metal braces. They are larger and may stain when you eat some foods or don’t brush regularly. Additionally, they are not as durable as metal braces.
3. Invisalign and Clear Aligners
Invisalign, one of the largest brands of aligners, introduced its brand of clear aligners about a decade ago. Today, Invisalign is a preferred option for many patients.
Unlike other braces, Invisalign does not have wires and brackets. Instead, the braces comprise custom plastic aligners that patients wear over their teeth. The aligners are comfortable and won’t poke or rub against your gums.
Dentists remove clear aligners every two weeks and replace them with the next ones in the series. You need 18 to 50 aligner changes to get your desired smile.
Invisalign and clear aligners are perfect for resolving minor alignment issues. Some dental alignment issues you can fix with these braces include:
• A large overbite
• Teeth gaps
• A large overbite
The braces are also perfect for patients who had braces when they were younger and would like a touch-up. You do not have to change your diet with clear aligners because you can remove them to eat, brush, and floss. The aligners are clear, hence difficult to see. Therefore, they will not affect your appearance.
On the downside, the braces won’t work as well as other options to resolve complex dental alignment problems. Additionally, they are more costly than other options.
Removable braces are also not the best option for a younger child since you must constantly remind them to wear their braces.
4. Lingual Braces
Also known as Inside or Invisible braces, these braces are designed to fit on the inner side of your teeth. Dentists fit a wire on the brackets that aligns the teeth by pulling them into place from the inside.
Dentists need to make custom brackets for each patient when installing lingual braces. Thus, you require longer appointment times to get these braces. Lingual braces also require more frequent appointments than traditional options.
Not all dentists know how to install these types of braces. So, before booking an appointment with your dentist, ask them if they have experience installing lingual braces. It also helps to get before and after pictures of patients who have had lingual braces.
Invisible braces require fewer adjustments and are very comfortable. They also have minimal long-term effects on your speech. However, you may have a lisp before your tongue gets accustomed to the feel of the braces.
The braces offer total invisibility, making them preferable if you do not want braces that affect your appearance. Invisible braces also work more efficiently because they are a custom solution.
However, the braces are hard to clean and take longer to align your teeth. Additionally, they are more expensive than other braces.
5. Self-ligating Braces
Self-ligating braces are similar to metal braces. However, they use slides or clips instead of elastic ties to secure the braces’ wire. The clips reduce the pressure in your mouth. You also experience less friction with these braces.
Self-ligating braces are easy to adjust. Hence, they have shorter appointment times.
These braces can reduce your misery if you feel uncomfortable sitting in the dental chair. They are also ideal for patients with developmental challenges such as autism.
Because self-ligating braces use fewer appliances, they are easy to maintain. They are also very efficient. However, they are noticeable and cost more than traditional braces.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Braces
The choice of braces for children depends on several factors. But first, consult your dentist on the best age to get braces for your child. If your dentist confirms that it is okay for your child to get braces, consider the following when choosing the type to get:
• Maintenance requirements
• Number and length of dental appointments
The Best Types of Braces for Your Child
Knowing the types of braces available and which factors to consider helps you know what to choose. The pediatric orthodontist you also choose matters because you want your child to get the best treatment.
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