We need to take care of our teeth and oral health. Aside from everyday activities like brushing our teeth and flossing, we go to the dental office to maintain our teeth and healthy, clean them and examine it for some problems. Even if there are no problems, a twice-a-year visit to a dental office is a must.
If we have issues concerning our teeth, extra work is needed to maintain them in good condition. If there are teeth misalignment conditions, or if you have crooked teeth, it needs fixing. We rely on a specialist, an orthodontist, to correct problems. They have additional years of training aside from the usual studies they have for dentistry.
Making dental braces are the expertise of an orthodontist. Dental braces, putting it simply, are dental appliances they put on your teeth to correct or fix some problems. They correct various teeth misalignment conditions, primarily crooked teeth. They are the tool designated to maintain oral health and have that lovely smile.
What are dental braces exactly? How does it treat specific teeth problems? Who might need to wear them? What are the types of dental braces? How long do you need to wear dental braces? Are they safe to use? How much do they usually cost? Where can we find them? These are the questions we will answer in this article.
Dental Braces: what are they exactly?
Dental braces are the orthodontist's most important weapon in correcting your teeth' misalignment conditions. They put your teeth into position, aligning them, ensuring that you will have straight teeth after a certain period. Everybody wants straight teeth, but straightened teeth have a positive impact too on your dental health.
Crooked teeth can lead to some complications, aside from questions of beauty and aesthetics. It could lead to further complications, including health problems. It could also worsen over time. Hence the need to correct the condition.
A dentist and an orthodontist will assess a patient if one needs dental braces. They will ask the patient about their general health. They must undergo some procedures, namely, a clinical exam, a digital scan of their teeth, and taking photos of their face and teeth. Aside from that, they need to take x-rays of your mouth and head.
After examination, they will decide whether you will have braces or not. Not all teeth conditions need braces. Some may only need retainers to correct the teeth' conditions. However, some may need extreme procedures, and wearing dental braces would never be enough. They might need to undergo surgical procedures to correct the problem.
But if you need dental braces, then they will plan your treatment accordingly. Based on their findings, and your liking, they might put particular dental braces on your teeth. But this should not prejudice the treatment plan nor the goal of correcting your teeth misalignment condition.
How do dental braces correct teeth problems?
Braces work by moving your teeth slowly and in increments to the desired position and at the right pacing. The dental braces move the teeth accurately because it applies the right pressure on the teeth. The dental braces are designed specifically to put just the right amount of pressure, not more, not less.
Advancement in technology makes way for more accurate treatment.
The pressure applied allows the tooth to loosen, allowing for new bone to grow. The new bone will support the teeth in their new position, a process known as bone remodeling.
The continued application of pressure from dental braces makes for stronger bone support for teeth moving in a new position, correcting the teeth condition and straightening it.
This, in essence, is how dental braces work. Whatever type of dental braces one wears, it follows the same scientific principle of moving the teeth into position without compromising overall dental health. Furthermore, all dental braces allow for bone remodeling and strengthen bone support for teeth in their new position.
Who might need to wear dental braces?
People that have certain teeth misalignment conditions, crooked teeth, or bite issues may need to wear dental braces. Depending on the problem one might need to wear particular dental braces. The duration of the treatment also depends on the severity or mildness of the malocclusion.
Overcrowding, underbite, overbite, gapped teeth, open bite, protrusion, and some malocclusions are other dental conditions requiring dental braces.
Not all teeth misalignment conditions will require dental braces, however. Some severe teeth misalignment conditions might require surgery. Others so mild may need no dental braces and may use retainers instead.
Whether one needs to wear dental braces, whether the treatment using it is applicable, or could be treated at all using dental braces, are issues best left to dentists and orthodontists.
What are the different types of dental braces?
The treatment plan may differ depending on the severity or mildness of the teeth misalignment condition. The same thing goes with dental braces. Some dental braces are well suited to severe teeth misalignment conditions, some are not. Some are effective for most teeth problems.
Aside from the severity of the condition, other factors may figure in concerning dental braces. It ranges from issues of comfort and convenience, to cost and prices. Even fashion and stylishness may become a factor in choosing what kind of dental braces one would wear.
All of this, however, ultimately depends on what treatment plan the dentist and the orthodontist have in mind for the patient. The patient, however, can always consult the dentist and orthodontist to balance the treatment with what she wants.
Traditional braces are the ones associated primarily with dental braces. They are the first thing that comes to mind when we mention “dental braces.” Rightly so, because they are an indispensable tool for correcting teeth misalignment conditions. They remain still the most popular remedy for teeth condition problems.
Traditional braces are made of metal, usually titanium. They have brackets attached to the front of every tooth. It has arch wires attached to every bracket, holding the brackets in place. They may have bands or metal ties, linking the brackets to the wires. These metal ties apply more pressure to straighten and align your teeth.
Many experts consider traditional braces the ultimate dental appliance for treating various teeth misalignment conditions. Those with severe teeth misalignment condition but will not require surgery stands to benefit a lot from having traditional metal braces.
It is because traditional braces are the model of other dental braces. Not only that, they are still the measuring stick concerning effectiveness in correcting and straightening teeth. A relapse is rare for those who have worn traditional braces, and they are very accurate in putting the teeth into the proper position.
One thing going against those who may need to wear dental braces is that it is inconvenient to wear and uncomfortable. You have wires and metals in your mouth and teeth, which might annoy some people.
You need to wear it too the whole day, and for an extended period. You also need to go to the dental office regularly for the experts to check on it.
They are a bit pricey compared to other dental braces and retainers. But the materials used for dental braces, and the expertise needed, make them so. It is not that expensive, especially if the alternative is surgical procedures. For those having minor teeth misalignment conditions, they might appear so.
With the inconvenience and discomfort, some may also be annoyed with traditional braces being unfashionable. Those who want a more stylish alternative to traditional metal braces or make them invisible can try ceramic braces.
Ceramic braces are like standard, traditional braces, but the brackets are of ceramics. The brackets can be invisible, transparent, or colorful. People may not notice if one wears ceramic braces, so they attract lesser attention than traditional metal braces.
They are a better alternative to those who want to have that look of invisible aligners and yet may need the treatment of traditional braces.
Ceramic braces, however, have brackets bigger than those used in traditional braces, making them harder to clean. The ceramics, even the wires, are also prone to staining. Ceramic braces are less durable due to the materials used in creating them.
And despite the drawbacks, they are far more expensive than traditional braces. Though they are called ceramic braces, parts and brackets could be made of stainless steel or gold.
But those who want an appealing dental appliance, or one less noticeable than traditional braces, would do well having ceramic braces. They are among the most fashionable dental appliance available today.
Lingual braces are much like ceramic and traditional braces except for one: You put lingual at the back of the teeth. They are also hidden and not visible than other dental braces.
The materials used for lingual braces are pretty much the same as traditional braces. Those who wore it need not be conscious of it, for they are never visible.
However, some teeth misalignment conditions may be effectively treated by other dental braces, but not by lingual braces. Lingula braces may not be effective in treating those with deep overbite issues, for instance. A careful assessment and examination of the patient by the orthodontist therefore is a must for those needing it.
Due to the positioning, wearing lingual braces might give the patient a temporary lisp. They also result in more discomfort at first compared to traditional or ceramic braces. They are also the most expensive of all dental braces.
But those who do not want to be self-conscious about wearing dental braces, or do now want to attract unwanted attention, may be happy to wear lingual braces. Provided of course, that they indeed qualify to wear one.
Clear and invisible aligners
Invisible and clear aligners are a type of dental braces very much different from the traditional, ceramic, and lingual braces. First, unlike the first three, they are trays made mostly of plastic. They do not have the usual metals or wires that you see in the traditional, ceramic, and lingual braces.
They are removable and, unlike other dental braces, very comfortable to wear and convenient too. They do not need frequent intervention from a specialist like a dentist or an orthodontist. You can indeed undergo clear aligner therapy for the duration of the treatment without seeing a specialist at all.
It is because most providers have remote treatment in place. A patient may not need to see a specialist and must only pass the assessment, follow instructions from the provider about creating teeth impressions, then send it back to the provider. Then they can talk remotely about the treatment to clear the air about some queries.
Once everything is okay, the patient can receive the invisible aligners regularly. The provider can track the progress remotely, and if there are questions, there is customer service available to answer all the questions.
They are the most comfortable of all dental braces. The comfort and convenience may have been their chief selling point. Some however, think that people sacrifice effectiveness too much for comfort and convenience. Proponents however claimed that patients need not to sacrifice that much for minor teeth misalignment conditions.
For unlike traditional, ceramic, and lingual braces, clear aligners are only for minor and moderate teeth misalignment conditions. That is why there is no need for many visits to a dental office or frequent intervention from a specialist. There is no need to sacrifice comfort and convenience.
And even more, they are transparent, almost invisible, hence, the term clear aligners. Since almost all clear aligners work to treat the same condition, having the most transparent aligners could matter to those who would want to undergo clear aligner therapy.
There are some drawbacks, however, concerning invisible aligners. Since they are made of plastic, they are less durable compared to other dental braces. They are prone to damage. Also, they are prone to staining too. You need be wary of what you drink or eat if you wear clear aligners.
How long do you need to wear dental braces?
Ultimately, the length of the treatment using dental braces would depend on the severity or mildness of teeth misalignment conditions or malocclusions. But there is a significant difference between the first three dental braces and the clear or invisible aligners.
For traditional, ceramic, and lingual braces, it may take one year or more, or even two years, of wearing them to correct malocclusions. The reason is that they are treating a wide range of malocclusions, especially extreme and severe ones. They needed a far extended period to move the teeth in the proper position.
With clear aligners, they promised treatment of four to six months. If you are wearing nighttime aligners, a type of dental braces worn only at night or at bedtime, you might need eight to ten months of wearing them.
Remember, clear aligners are only for minor and moderate malocclusions or teeth misalignment conditions. They do not need an extended treatment period, so barring any circumstances, and if everything works out well, the patient can have straightened teeth in less than a year.
However, follow-up treatment is usually required, like wearing retainers. Relapse is also a possibility. If that happens, the patient might need to work more on the teeth, longer than the usual period of prescribed treatment.
Are dental braces safe to use?
The materials used to create dental braces are generally safe and fit for oral wear. Some even boast of being FDA-approved. Experts meticulously studied all the parts of metal or ceramic used for brackets, the wires, rubber bands, or the plastic material used for invisible aligners. They pass the safety standard.
Still, though, some dental braces may irritate the gums, and they may cause swelling. Others might irritate the cheek. Still, others may have allergic reactions to certain parts of dental braces. Nickel, for instance, may cause an allergic reaction in some patients.
You must inform the dentist and the orthodontist, or your dental braces provider, of your allergic reaction to certain things. Especially those materials used to create the dental braces. They might replace the part with one which you are not allergic to or may recommend an altogether different treatment.
How much do dental braces cost?
The prices of dental braces may vary owing to several factors. The severity of teeth misalignment condition, the treatment plan involved, and the material used for creating the dental braces all may play a part in dental braces costing more or less. The providers and dental offices have different prices for different dental braces.
In general, though, traditional braces cost much more than clear or invisible aligners. Ceramic braces, owing to the materials used to create them, are far more expensive than the two. Lingual braces, meanwhile due to the material, skill, and expertise needed to make and install them, are the most pricey.
On average, a patient in the U.S. may pay around $3,000 to $7,000 for dental braces. Traditional braces, by far the most common dental braces around, cost around this amount too. Other traditional braces may go higher than $7,000, but it is safe to say that they cannot go lower than the minimum price mentioned.
Ceramic braces, preferred by the trendy and fashionable, may cost around $1,000 to $2,000 more than the cost of traditional metal braces. It is because the materials used to make ceramic braces are far more expensive, for they serve a specific aesthetic purpose.
Lingual braces are the most expensive of all dental braces. The price for lingual braces can go as high as $13 000. The lowest threshold of $5,000 might be considered expensive, especially compared with other dental braces and even with traditional metal and ceramic braces.
It takes more work to install lingual braces. It involves a far more careful and delicate process.
It is time-consuming compared to traditional or ceramic braces. For those reasons, it commands a far higher price than other dental braces.
Generally, clear and invisible aligners command a far lower price than all the other dental braces. The price may go way below those of the cheapest traditional braces or as high as even those of affordable lingual braces.
The average price of clear and invisible aligners hovers between $2,000 to $4,000. Some providers offer as low as $1,000, while some could go above the average. It is due to several factors, among which are the freebies included and the required intervention of a specialist if they happen to have one.
Unlike other dental braces, providers of clear aligners make good use of health insurance to make them genuinely affordable to those who need it. They also make viable payment options for the public, which can lower the price of clear aligners even further.
The providers of clear aligners aggressively promote viable payment options to the public. Since it is priced lowest generally among dental braces, a further dip in cost due to those mechanisms allows many to avail of clear aligner therapy.
A combination of factors, therefore, may affect the pricing. The teeth condition, the skill for making and installing dental braces, what is in the package, the payment options, and the provider itself – play a part. They may push the price either below or above the average.
Where can we find dental braces?
All dental offices have a dentist; some even have two or more. They also have orthodontists, specialists and technicians to better serve their patients. They are the best place to go if ever you need dental braces. You cannot go wrong with experts and specialists.
But dental offices are not the only place where you can find dental braces. Some providers boast that they can make dental braces for you without going into any dental office. That is the case with clear aligners: many providers offer remote treatment, from assessment to clear aligner therapy.
The ability to offer remote treatment is one reason why clear aligners have been the thing as of late. Some providers like NewSmile, Byte, and SmileDirectClub offer remote treatment. Others, like Candid and Invisalign, offer a combination, a hybrid treatment involving remote treatment and personal intervention.
But even if you can have dental braces from them or can avail of their remote treatment, the best bet is always to consult with the specialist. Malocclusions are severe conditions that require careful, proper assessment by an expert. Consulting the experts concerning dental braces is still the best option.