If you were sent by your regular dentist to an orthodontist and have been told that either you or your child needs braces, fear not. There are a number of options to choose from in order to make the experience both more personal and more comfortable.
- Traditional metal braces. These are not the braces of yesteryear. Today, the brackets are smaller and the wire is thinner. In addition, the person wearing them, either you or your child can choose different color rubber bands to spruce them up a bit. However, these are the most noticeable type of braces, so if you are self-conscious, this may not be the best option for you to choose. However, it is the cheapest and the one most likely to be covered by your dental insurance.
- Ceramic braces. These are a bit pricier than traditional metal braces. However, you can choose to have them made tooth colored or any other color you desire. You can also personalize them with colored rubber bands like you can with the regular stainless steel version. Most people who opt for ceramic braces do so because they are less noticeable.
- Lingual braces. Lingual braces are traditional braces that are placed on the backside or tongue side of the teeth. These are the most expensive type of braces to get and not all orthodontists are trained put them on. Furthermore, there are a number of issues that lingual braces cannot fix and having braces on the back of your teeth can irritate the tongue and interfere with speech.
- Damon braces. Damon braces are self-ligating and use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires. They require fewer dental visits and work quicker because the teeth move without needing to be adjusted. They are also less painful and easier to keep clean.
- Invisalign or removable aligners. These are removal trays that are specially crafted for your mouth. They are taken out to eat, brush and floss. They are changed every two weeks or so and are only advised to be used in the acutest of cases. While less noticeable, they are also quite expensive.
In addition to the braces listed above, you or your child may also need a forsus appliance or a palatal expander, as well. A forsus appliance replaces the headgear of the past. Instead, an appliance is placed inside the cheek and is attached to the braces. It is used to adjust the jaw in those with extreme overbites. A palatal expander is inserted in the mouth of patients with overcrowded teeth. Once in place, it applies pressure to the back upper molars to gradually move the teeth farther apart. This expands the palate and makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of the teeth.
It is best to discuss all of your options with your healthcare provider before you decide on which treatment is right for you. He or she can assist you with deciding based on time, cost and ability to fix the problem.