Are metal braces the only option?

Orthodontic treatment is a rite of passage for those who want the confidence that comes with straight teeth. As alternative treatment options grow in popularity, many people are hoping they will be able to forego traditional metal braces in favour of clear aligners for a more discreet treatment.

However, while it might seem like an appealing option, it is important to note that it is not suitable for all cases and your suitability for clear aligner treatments, such as Invisalign®, will need to be assessed by a specialist orthodontist.

While you may not want metal braces, it is important to consider which treatment option will be the most effective rather than the most appealing. Read on to learn more about the different orthodontic treatment options available.

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are still considered the most common form of orthodontic treatment recommended by specialist orthodontists when teeth need to undergo significant movement that can’t be predictably achieved with removable clear aligners.

Metal braces consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth and connected with a thin metal wire that is adjusted at regular intervals to put gentle pressure on the teeth to move into their new position. Colour ties around the metal braces make them particularly popular with teens who like to customise their appearance at each appointment.

Whether your teeth need to undergo more complex movement or if you are not disciplined enough to wear removable clear aligners, metal braces are often the most popular and effective option available.

However, it is important to remember that metal braces and clear aligners aren’t the only options. There are a number of alternative treatment options that may suit your case.

Ceramic braces

The main difference between metal braces and ceramic braces is their appearance. Using clear or tooth-coloured brackets and wires instead of the traditional metal ones gives them a subtler look that is popular with adults.

Since they work in the same way as metal braces, they are generally recommended for those needing more extensive orthodontic treatment who would like their treatment to be subtle.

Lingual braces

Depending on the extent of the treatment required, you may be a suitable candidate for lingual braces. This form of treatment is practically invisible because the wires and brackets are placed along the inside of the teeth.

Due to its close proximity to the tongue, lingual braces may affect speech and take a little bit longer to get used to than other methods. They’re also 100% custom made for each patient, which can make them more expensive than other treatment options.

Clear aligner treatment

Clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®, Clear Correct and OrthoCaps, uses a series of clear plastic aligners to ease your teeth into a new position. Each aligner in the sequence has minute differences that apply gentle pressure to the teeth that need to move. Treatment may require the use of attachments or ‘buttons’ that help the aligners to grip the tooth and move it more effectively, which is why clear aligner treatment should always be administered by a specialist orthodontist. (For more on the dangers of DIY clear aligner treatment please click here.)

Due to the nature of clear aligner treatment, it is not recommended for every case. There are limitations regarding the extent of treatment that can be administered with clear aligners and as a result they are not recommended in certain situations or when the wearer is not disciplined enough in their use.

So which option is right for me?

While you may prefer subtler treatments if you are feeling self-conscious about the prospect of metal braces, it is important that you receive the right treatment option for your smile.

The only way to know for sure which treatment option will be best suited to you is to make an appointment with your specialist orthodontist.

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