Clear Braces vs. Metal Braces

If the word “braces” conjures up images of a mouth covered in metal, you may need a reboot. Today’s braces wearers have choices – and none of them involve wrapping the teeth with metal.

Braces of brackets and wires are still popular, and sometimes preferred, but the brackets – the pieces that attach to the teeth to hold the wires – are no longer the heavy metal bands you may recall. They are now smaller and lighter, and glued onto the teeth instead of wrapped around them. They even come in colors.

The other popular braces choice is Invisalign, a recent product that straightens teeth using virtually invisible computer-generated clear plastic trays. Though the technology is fairly new, millions of people have created beautiful smiles with Invisalign.

There’s a third option that combines some of the attributes of both: ceramic braces. These work like traditional braces, with brackets and wires, except the brackets are made of ceramic instead of metal. The material can be clear or made to match your teeth – either way, they are less obvious than metal braces but more visible than Invisalign.

Each braces type – traditional and Invisalign – has advantages and disadvantages. Your orthodontist can advise you on which version will work best for your mouth, but often the final decision is yours – you pick the one that best suits your lifestyle.

To help you make that choice, here are some pros and cons of metal (or ceramic) braces and Invisalign.

Metal braces are not removable; Invisalign braces are. Fixed braces offer advantages for young people who may lose their appliance on a lunch tray or at a party or who may sometimes forget to wear it. Conversely, being able to remove your Invisalign trays allows you to eat and clean your teeth as you normally would.

Invisalign braces demand more responsibility from the wearer. For example, you must keep track of the appliance when you’re not wearing it, remember to keep it in at least 22 hours a day, clean your teeth each time you eat and remember to progress to the next appliance on schedule. Traditional braces must be carefully cleaned but otherwise do not require a lot of your attention.

Each type has unique food restrictions. You should not eat anything sticky or hard while wearing traditional braces – your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid. On the other hand, Invisalign trays stain easily, and while you can eat normally when you remove your trays (for no more than two hours a day), it is important never to consume anything but water while wearing the trays and to brush every time you eat. Ceramic braces also may stain.

Metal braces may be more effective for complex treatment. Some bite problems are not candidates for Invisalign.

Office visits may be less frequent with Invisalign braces. Traditional braces usually are adjusted once a month. Because Invisalign trays work progressively, and you get two to four weeks of trays at one time, office visits can be less frequent.

The clear trays mean you’ll have an unobstructed pretty smile during your treatment. On the other hand, metal braces are now more streamlined and the use of colors allows you to style them each month to your mood or a holiday or event. Your smile becomes your message!

Metal braces may be less expensive – but not always. The price of Invisalign has been falling as the technology has become more popular.

Bottom line: Both types will create a perfect smile. Whichever style of braces you choose, you can be confident the result will be the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of!

What is the First Thing You Notice When Meeting Someone New?

February is the month for romance! If you’re looking for love, it may not be your sparkling eyes or shining hair that catches your dreamboat’s attention.

Your grandmother’s adage turns out be true, after all: The first thing people notice about you is your smile. A survey for USA Today by Philips Sonicare found that 47% of respondents chose a great smile as the feature that most attracted them. Second was eyes, with 31%.

People with beautiful smiles have more dates, according to a recent study conducted by Kelton for Invisalign. The same study also revealed that two in five respondents said they would not go on a second date with someone who had unsightly teeth.

One more interesting finding from the Kelton study: Online singles are 57% more likely to contact someone whose photo shows off a pretty smile.

If you’re constantly hiding less-than-perfect teeth, this may be the month to think about creating the smile you’ve always wanted. It’s never too late. And it may be easier and faster than you think.

Don’t pass on braces because you don’t want a mouthful of heavy metal for two or more years. Our office offers options that are comfortable for you and barely noticeable to anyone else. For some patients, we can complete your treatment in six months.

Here are your choices:

Invisalign. By now, everyone has heard of these custom-made, nearly invisible, computer-generated aligners that gradually move your teeth into their proper position. With them, you can eat and brush as you normally would. You’ll confidently say “yes!” to any dinner date.

Clear braces. These braces are transparent, making them almost invisible. They’re also self-ligating, which eliminates the need for pesky rubber bands and metal ties during your treatment.

Hidden braces. We are one of the few orthodontist offices in the area that offer lingual, or hidden, braces. These braces are placed behind the teeth – the lingual, or tongue, side – so they are completely unseen when you smile.

Six-month braces. If you’re a candidate for these high-speed braces, you can have a new smile in about six months. This program is limited to only the front six or eight teeth and is suitable for people who want a prettier smile but don’t need bite correction.

If you need more convincing, consider these findings, also from the Kelton study. Nearly three in five respondents would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. And nearly 90% would give up something they like to have a pretty smile for the rest of their lives.

Not only can a dazzling smile turn heads your way, but it will boost your spirits and self-esteem. If you’ve been thinking about getting braces, contact our office for a free consultation to learn about the possibilities we offer. We’ll have options that will make you smile.

Am I Too Old For Orthodontics?

If you’re an adult who needs braces – for whatever reason: maybe you never had them as a child, your teeth have since shifted, or your dentist has alerted you to bite or jaw problems – there’s good news: You’re never too old for orthodontics.

A generation or two ago, orthodontists discouraged adults from getting braces. At the time, it was thought straightening teeth would be effective and permanent only while a child’s mouth was still maturing.

Now, through improved technology and techniques, orthodontics for adults can, in most cases, give perfect, lasting results.

Nothing is more beautiful than an impeccable, sparkling smile, and an attractive smile is a valid reason to want braces. But prettier teeth is not the only reason to undergo orthodontic treatment. A bad bite can be the result of many problems, or can lead to problems that result in tooth loss in later life. Misaligned teeth can even create medical issues.

Here are some important reasons why you might consider braces at any age. Some may surprise you:

  • You will have healthier teeth and gums. Straight teeth are easier to clean. It’s difficult to remove plaque from all the nooks and crannies of crooked teeth. When plaque remains on your teeth and gums, tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) – and worse – can be the result. What’s worse? Erosion of tooth roots and loss of supporting bone. Many adults in their later years are surprised to lose sound teeth because of unhealthy gums.
  • You may prevent your own heart attack. The National Institutes of Health and others report a correlation between dental plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth and some systemic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. It’s thought the plaque bacteria travel through the bloodstream.
  • Your jaw will be healthier. An uneven bite can lead to bone loss in your jaw and may be the cause of jaw joint issues, such as temporomandibular joint disease, familiarly known as TMJ. A bad bite also can cause headaches or jaw pain. Orthodontics can usually correct these problems.
  • Sleep apnea may be reduced. Excessive overbite, where your top teeth protrude – “buck teeth” – can cause your airway to become blocked while you sleep. A partially blocked airway can lead to snoring. If the airway is fully blocked, you could experience sleep apnea, which continually disrupts your rest. Apnea is associated with several health issues, including heart problems.
  • You may experience fewer headaches or less neck pain: Chewing with teeth that are not aligned properly can stress the bones that support your jaw and mouth, possibly causing chronic headaches or neck pain that could require medical treatment.
  • You speech may easier to understand. Misaligned teeth can affect speech patterns. Straightening your teeth could improve your speaking clarity.
  • You may avoid tooth breakage. Misaligned teeth are more likely to chip or break, especially if they are protruding.
  • Your self-esteem and confidence will get a boost – with rewarding results. You may think you’re OK with crooked teeth, but if you always press your lips together in photographs or cover your mouth when you laugh, you are more self-conscious than you realize. A confident smile has been shown to increase self-esteem, which, in turn, can open up new career and social opportunities. In a 2012 Invisalign study, job applicants with straight teeth were 45 percent more likely to be hired over people with similar qualifications but unattractive teeth. In the same study, 38 percent said they would not accept a second date with someone with misaligned teeth.
  • You may be happier. When your teeth are beautiful, you’ll smile more. And the act of smiling has been shown to increase happiness.

If you’re now convinced braces will be a good investment for you, we welcome you to call our office for a free consultation. You will leave with a full treatment plan. You may be surprised to know that you won’t be getting a mouthful of metal. We offer three attractive options: Invisalign (the clear trays); hidden (or lingual) braces (which fit behind the teeth); and clear braces (with clear brackets that are almost invisible).

It’s good to know: If you need braces, it’s never too late to benefit from them!