Types of Braces
The most inexpensive type of braces are the traditional, stainless-steel versions. Obviously, the drawback to wearing these is how visible they are. Metal braces hold a thin wire in place with rubber bands to put pressure on the teeth and move them to the desired place.
Metal braces can irritate gums and cheeks at first. Once you have them on, you have to watch what you eat, avoiding things that can stick to the braces, such as caramel or gum. You also have to avoid eating hard food which can move or dislodge the braces.
Ceramic braces cost a little more than stainless steel versions, but they’re made to blend in with the teeth so they aren’t as visible. You can choose between clear elastic ties or white metal ties to hold the braces in place.
Though the braces themselves won’t stain, the clear ties can discolor, especially if you consume foods or drinks that typically stain teeth, such as coffee. Your orthodontist will replace the ties every time he or she adjusts the braces, which is usually every month.
Products like Invisalign cost a little more than traditional metal braces because of the technology required to fabricate these custom-made clear aligners. These “braces” work best for people who don’t have significant orthodontic problems.
Instead of bonding brackets to the teeth, these are custom-fit aligners (high-tech plastic trays) that you wear full-time except when eating or brushing your teeth. The teeth straightening process requires you to wear different aligners every one-two weeks to gradually move the teeth to the desired position.
This type of aligner can be uncomfortable at first as the aligners begin to put pressure on the teeth, but you will get used to them. You must be disciplined because the success of this treatment option depends on you wearing the aligners no less than 22 hours a day.