Dental braces and other orthodontic appliances are essential for the successful completion of anyone’s orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists use different appliances to make minor and major adjustments to your teeth’ position and your jaws’ alignment.
Like we’ve reviewed, these appliances are useful for correcting underbites, crooked teeth, other jaw malocclusions such as overbites, open bites, deep bites, and crossbites. Some people also get orthodontic treatment solely for cosmetic concerns.
The principle behind the function of braces and aligners is simple: We apply force to move a patient’s teeth and force their jaws into position. The process is not instantaneous, and some patients report feeling discomfort at various points during the treatment.
Advancements in materials science and updated designs resulted in a series of innovative alternatives to traditional braces. Patients can now choose between conventional braces, braces made of various materials, braces with different design principles, and removable aligners.
Our goal here is to present you with a short description of each of the alternatives you can find available with us at Pavlo Orthodontics. After reading this blog post, you should have as much information as you need to make the best decision when it comes to choosing your orthodontic treatment.
Types of Braces
Dental braces are some of the most popular appliances used in orthodontic treatment. Braces have different parts working together to reposition your teeth.
The original solution. Whenever patients think of orthodontic treatment, they picture stainless steel brackets and archwires. Fortunately, they are much smaller than they used to be decades ago. They are very resistant to food debris, and they are very efficient at moving your teeth around. We bond individual brackets to your teeth and connect them with an archwire. You may have heard of the elastic bands used to keep the wire in place.
A fun little side note: these elastic bands come in various colors; feel free to choose the colors you want to personalize your braces. We will periodically adjust the archwire when you come to your appointment, and we will also replace the elastics.
You must maintain good oral hygiene during training because patients using braces usually have a hard time cleaning their teeth and around their braces after eating. We will also be updating our site with a guide on useful hygiene tips for braces users, but you could also ask our own Dr. John A. Pavlo for advice next time you come for a visit.
This is an exciting variation of the concept of braces. Manufacturers opted for alternatives to stainless steel in an effort to reduce the appliance’s visibility. In the late 1970s, the American market was looking for an alternative to metal braces and found an excellent solution.
Materials developed for NASA made their way to orthodontists throughout the Nation. Teens soon started accepting more and more the possibility of engaging in orthodontic treatment without the risk of having an ugly picture in their school yearbook (though it was the 80s; we all have an ugly picture from those years).
Ceramic braces are still a common alternative to conventional braces because they offer patients an outstanding balance between affordability and discreetness. Be mindful, though. Ceramic brackets are more brittle than their stainless steel counterparts, and some younger patients may not be eligible for this option.
Alternatives to Braces
Dental braces are not the only options available for orthodontic treatments. Several other options and variations also help realign your teeth and jaws.
You also have other appliances like palatal extenders, mouthguards, and retainers. However, we are not reviewing every orthodontic appliance there is. We are focusing this presentation on a comparison between braces and their most popular alternatives to correct your teeth and jaws’ malalignment.
Invisalign® and similar technologies came as a result of student ingenuity during the late 1990s. A couple of students began to use the resources available to them at Stanford University to design and produce basic prototypes of clear aligners that could be used for orthodontic treatment.
These clear aligners provided orthodontists and patients with an amazing alternative to braces. One crucial characteristic remains: these aligners are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Self-conscious patients know that they won’t need to worry about looking weird with metal bits bonded to their teeth when they use clear aligners.
Another quick side note for our readers: when you choose to undergo orthodontic treatment, the most important thing is that you’ve decided to improve your dental health. Any concerns about how you look during that treatment should pale in comparison with the potential benefits you get with the treatment. Still, if you are insecure about your appearance, you can trust clear aligners to be as discreet as you need them to be.
The second major characteristic of these aligners is that they are removable, meaning you can take them off at specific moments of the day. We still have to advise you to pay attention to your orthodontist’s directions and wear your aligners anywhere between 20 to 22 hours per day.
A Quick Rundown of What Is Best for You
You have already read about the pros and cons of wearing braces or any of its alternatives by now. When you come for your next appointment at Pavlo Orthodontics, make sure to ask every question you have.
Patients of all ages have to consider the costs of treatment. Keep in mind that the most affordable option out of the ones we’ve listed is the traditional stainless steel braces. Ceramic braces come in second place, leaving Invisalign® the most expensive option of the three.
However, you should know that any option can be affordable with financing solutions and help from your insurance company. We will gladly help you find all the necessary information when you come to the office. Make sure to ask all your questions!
Other patients might focus more on the length of treatment with each option. This is a more complex aspect of treatment, but generally speaking, Invisalign® offers the potential to be the quickest out of all three options. Regardless of each appliance’s potential, the most determining factor in your treatment’s length is your adherence to your orthodontist’s recommendations.
Hope to see you soon in the office!