If you are one of the millions of adults who suffers from crooked or misaligned teeth you might be considering finally doing something about it. Adult orthodontics is more common in the United States than you might realize. There are many adults seeking treatment for malocclusion (misalignment) issues. It’s understanding if you’ve been hesitant in the past, many people rely on appearances for their profession, and don’t want a mouthful of metal holding them back. Fortunately that’s not the only option you have, there may be other suitable forms of treatment out there for you. Even if you have a severe case that requires the attention of traditional methods there may be choices for discretion.
You are likely familiar with the most common type of braces, stainless steel. These are the type that use the metal bracket attached to your teeth with an extremely strong glue or cement. Wires are attached to the brackets and tension is used to pull and shift teeth into place. Many orthodontists still prefer these and believe they are the best method. They do have a solid history and many successful cases in their trophy case. But if you’re interested in other options, they are out there. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Clear Braces – These braces are closely related to the traditional stainless steel, but they do have an important difference. Instead of stainless steel they are made of either ceramic or plastic. They are designed to blend in with the color of the teeth so that people don’t notice them as readily. They’ve been around for a long time, and they have a great track record. For people looking for truly unnoticeable braces however, these won’t cut it. If someone looks closely at your mouth they’ll definitely be able to tell you are wearing them.
- Lingual Braces aka “Hidden Braces” - These are one of the best ways to hide your cosmetic braces. Lingual braces still use steel brackets attached to the teeth, but they are hidden on the back of teeth. This makes them much less noticeable. In fact, unless you tell someone, they’re unlikely to ever realize it.
- Titanium Braces – In some cases people may need traditional places but they literally can’t have them in their mouths. Nickel allergies are actually fairly common, and nickel is used in the production of steel. Of course you cannot have something in your mouth constantly that you are allergic. Though more expensive, titanium is just as strong, if not stronger than steel. It can be a great option for those with allergies.
- Gold Plating on Steel Braces – Another popular solution to nickel allergies is gold plating. They are simply steel braces with gold plating so that the steel doesn’t come into contact with the skin. It prevents allergic reactions and doesn’t cost as much as titanium. In some cases a patient may actually ask for gold plating just for the appearance.
All of these braces share the commonality of brackets glued to teeth, and use tension to achieve their overall goal. They are constantly in your mouth during the whole course of treatment, and some people find this very invasive. You’ll have to avoid eating certain foods, especially those that make cleaning more difficult. It is also easy to get food stuck in them, so it’s wise to keep a toothbrush with you at all times. Keep in mind also that your mouth will hurt often throughout treatment. Since braces are based on tension, there is constant pressure on your teeth. It can get downright painful after you’ve just had an adjustment. If your case allows for it, you may want to look for another form of treatment.
These are some non traditional methods that avoid using tension for smile correction. They work for, but you need to consult with an orthodontist.
- Spring Aligners or Spacers - In the simplest cases out there, braces may not be necessary at all. You may luck out during your visit and your orthodontist may see spring aligners or even spacers as a viable solution for you. In some cases these devices will be used before braces, to shorten the overall time of treatment. They are definitely worth looking into.
- The Invisible Braces, Invisalign - Relative new on the orthodontics see, this is a very fascinating product. Instead of using traditional methods, Invisalign is multi-step treatment using clear plastic aligners. Ever few weeks they are traded out for the next pair in the treatment. They are great because you can remove them to eat and clean. It is definitely worth looking into whether or not this product will work for you.
Keep in mind that you have all these options, plus more, when it comes to treating your crooked smile. Stop putting treatment off and talk to an orthodontist today.