Braces & Aligners

Find out which braces are the right fit for your needs and lifestyle.

What is the difference between braces and aligners?

Most orthodontic problems can be successfully treated using braces. Braces have been the traditional form of treatment used by orthodontists for decades, but with the advancement of technology, there are a variety of models – stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic or even gold.

Aligners, on the other hand are one of the many technological advances that have made teeth straightening effortless. Aligners are very effective devices used to move teeth and align jaws.

Braces use supports connected by wires to stimulate teeth to move while aligners are a series of nozzles tailored to fit by sliding on the teeth. Aligners are transparent plastic replicas of the teeth. Wearing them exerts a gentle pressure on the teeth, while ever so slightly repositioning them.

Who needs braces?

Braces are recommended by a dentist to improve the “orofacial” physical appearance of a patient. With orthodontic treatment, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect position of the jaw and joint disorders of the jaw are corrected.

When is the right time for braces?

Patients suffering with orthodontic problems can benefit from this treatment at nearly any age. Usually the ideal time for fixing braces is between ages 10 to 14 when the head and mouth of the child are still growing and the teeth are more conducive to straighten. However, doing adjustments in facial appearance can be traumatic for children of that age due and therefore parents should counsel their children before making the decision. Lately, braces are not just meant for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.

What are the kind of braces available?

Your dentist will know what appliance is best for your condition, but the patient often has a choice. There are three varieties of braces generally.

Metal braces/Traditional braces

These are the metal brackets and wires that most people imagine when they hear the word “Braces”. However, modern brackets are smaller and less noticeable than the old “metal-mouth” braces that many adults remember. In addition, new heat-activated archwires make use of your body heat to help align teeth more quickly and in a much painless manner.

Advantage: Least expensive type; colored bands give children the opportunity to express
Disadvantage: The most notable type of braces

Ceramic Braces

These are of the same size and shape as metal braces, except that they have almost the same color of your natural teeth which makes it blend well and be less visible. Some even use tooth-colored wires to make it even less noticeable.

Advantage: these are less prominent than metal braces; help straighten teeth much faster than the clear plastic aligners (Invisalign)
Disadvantage: are more expensive than metal braces; they are very vulnerable to staining of the patient doesn’t care well for them

Lingual braces

These are the same as traditional metal braces, except that the wires and brackets are placed inside the teeth.

Advantage: completely invisible from outside
Disadvantage: very cumbersome to clean; more expensive; not suitable for severe cases; can be uncomfortable at first; regular adjustments can take longer than with traditional braces.

Invisalign

Invisalign is the most advanced set of braces available. These consists of a series of 18 to 30 customized mouthguard-like transparent plastic aligners. The aligners are removable and are replaced every 2 weeks.

Advantage: almost invisible; Patients are free to eat and drink whatever they want without worrying about staining.
Disadvantage: It doesn’t work for serious dental problems; It is only available for adults and teenagers, not children; it is the most expensive option; It can get lost or misplaced easily and could be expensive to remake, the treatment takes longer than other methods.

How long will I have to wear braces?

This depends on your treatment plan. If . your spacing and bite problem is complex and you are older the treatment could take much longer. Most patients can expect to use the braces between 18 and 30 months, followed by the use of a retainer for at least a few months to up to two years to set and align tissues surrounding straightened teeth. Some patients may have to wear a permanent retainer if you do not want your bite to return to the way it was.

Will treatment of braces be uncomfortable?

Interconnecting cables are tightened at each visit, with slight pressure on the brackets or bands to move the teeth or jaw gradually at a desired position. Your teeth and jaws may feel slightly sore after each visit, but the discomfort is only temporary. There may also be a need for extracting few teeth to make room for the moving teeth and encourage proper jaw alignment.

How much do braces cost?

The range of costs for the braces can vary greatly for each type:
Metal braces (traditional braces): $ 3000-7000
Ceramic braces: $ 4,000 – 8,000
Lingual keys: $ 8,000 – 10,000
Invisalign: $ 4,000 – 7,400

Prices also depend on the location where you reside. Orthodontists in more rural areas are often less expensive than big cities.

Does health or dental insurance cover braces?

In case you have medical or dental insurance, check with your provider. Most health plans don’t pay for orthodontic treatments for people above 18 years of age but partially cover children under 18. If orthodontic coverage isn’t included in your insurance plan, you can purchase a supplemental orthodontic insurance.

Be sure to ask about the percentage of coverage and lifetime maximum for any plan you choose. The amount of coverage varies greatly, but a common figure is the 50% coverage with maximum lifetime of $ 1500 per child.

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