Different Types of Braces
Modern technology has helped orthodontic treatment options evolve far beyond traditional braces. There are now many different types of braces to choose from, including clear braces, Invisalign™ aligners, and even surgical options. Each braces type is unique and can benefit you in various ways, depending on what your goals are for treatment. Let’s take a look at the differences between each kind of braces.
Metal braces are the most common type of braces. They’ve been one of the primary tools of orthodontics for decades and are likely what you picture when you think of braces. Made from stainless steel, metal braces use a combination of metal brackets and wires to gently move misaligned teeth into the desired position. Although these kinds of braces are silver in appearance, you may choose from a variety of colors for the elastic rubber bands that are placed on the braces’ brackets.
Metal braces are typically the most affordable alignment option. However, the cost of treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on their specific needs.
In recent years, clear braces have become a popular option thanks to their discrete appearance. These types of braces are actually made from a ceramic material as opposed to the stainless steel of traditional metal braces. This ceramic is what gives them the clear, subtle appearance that helps them blend in with your teeth.
Because ceramic braces are larger and more delicate than traditional braces, they do require a bit more care. If you choose this option, you’ll need to be more careful about your oral hygiene. That’s why, for the most part, it’s only recommended that adult patients and older teenagers be fitted with ceramic braces.
Lightforce™ braces are a technologically-advanced alignment option that utilizes 3D printing to customize each set of braces. At your fitting appointment, the orthodontist will use a special scanner to capture the current positions of your teeth. Then, the scan will be sent to the Lightforce™ facility to 3D print your customized braces.
Because Lightforce™ braces are customized to fit your specific needs, treatment appointments are typically shorter, and there’s no need to take impressions of your teeth.
Invisalign™ Clear Aligners
Unlike metal or ceramic braces, Invisalign™ aligners are a completely transparent and removable tray made of acrylic, much like a mouthguard. These acrylic trays apply gentle force on your teeth, just like braces, to straighten your teeth. And because they’re removable, even during treatment, there are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink.
Although they are removable, clear aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours each day. You should only remove them when necessary to stay on track with your treatment schedule. As your teeth begin to adjust, you’ll periodically swap your aligners for a new set that will continue to ease your teeth toward their final positions. Typically, patients begin to use a new set every two weeks throughout treatment.
Spark™ Clear Aligners
Spark™ is another clear aligner option that holds many benefits not offered by traditional braces. Spark™ Clear Aligners are made from a thin, clear material, that makes them a highly comfortable alignment solution.
Like other aligner options, Spark™ aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours each day to make progress straightening your teeth. This allows you to remove your aligners while eating and drinking, meaning you’ll have no dietary restrictions during the course of treatment. To learn more about Spark™ Clear Aligners, simply speak to one of our orthodontists.
Surgical orthodontics is usually performed in combination with other braces treatment. Surgical options are especially useful for adults who have misalignment issues related to the placement of their jaw. For example, someone whose upper and lower jaw is out of position, or whose top and bottom teeth don’t fit together properly, may benefit from surgical orthodontics.
While a surgical orthodontic procedure is typically not capable of fixing alignment issues on its own, in combination with braces or aligner treatments, it can be very effective.
Deciding Between the Types of Braces
Each type of braces provides a unique solution to common dental problems. Deciding which style is right for you will be a personal choice based on your unique circumstances. As the leading orthodontics specialists in Elmhurst, Westmont, and the Chicagoland area, we’ve seen incredible results from all of these types of braces.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss treatment options, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.