You’re never too old for braces!

Many of us pass up the opportunity of braces in our self-conscious teenage years only to regret that decision as we grow older. If you’re self-conscious about your smile and are considering what orthodontic options might be open to you, this blog explains the different types of braces currently available.

Traditional metal braces

The traditional metal braces that your dentist possibly discussed with you when you were younger are still the most commonly used. Why is this? They are exceptionally strong and can withstand most types of treatment. They are also typically the least expensive of all braces.

With metal braces, a bracket is glued on to each tooth and the wires themselves can be silver or gold in colour, which can look really attractive. Most traditional metal braces require an O-shaped elastic band (ligatures) to keep the arch wire and brackets attached to each other. These days, you have a choice of ligature colours to individualise the appearance of your braces.

Traditional metal braces can deliver excellent results over a typical treatment period of two years. You may need to adapt your diet a bit while wearing them and take extra special care when cleaning your teeth.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are made of composite materials with varying levels of transparency or tooth-coloured materials, making them a favourite choice amongst adults who are worried about the cosmetic appeal of their braces. The clear ceramic braces do not usually stain, although the clear or white metal ties may pick up some discolouration from what you eat and drink. Fortunately, these are changed every time an adjustment is made (typically monthly) so it shouldn’t be a significant problem.

Although ceramic braces are strong, they are less resilient than traditional metal braces and can wear down the enamel on your teeth, so they may not be recommended for some biting patterns. The treatment may take slightly longer than with metal braces and cost more. However, for many people, the cosmetic appeal is the deciding factor.

Invisible braces/adult orthodontics

There are a number of invisible braces or clear aligners now available. These each have different benefits. Popular orthodontic products include the Inman Aligner and Six Month Smiles.

Invisible orthodontics tend to use clear positioners or aligners that are barely visible when worn. They are also removable, which means that you can take them out when eating and cleaning your teeth. As a result, they are less likely to cause gum problems or tooth decay than fixed metal braces.

Invisible orthodontics are generally used to target specific problems, such as crooked front teeth, which means that the treatment time is faster but less likely to offer a ‘whole mouth’ solution. Invisalign aligners, for example, are excellent for treating mild teeth alignment or crooked front teeth but they won’t be suitable for every adult. Invisible orthodontics are not usually suitable for children, although there may be different product options that we can advise you about.

As invisible orthodontics are usually removable, there is a temptation to take them out regularly but, to be effective, the aligners should be worn as much as possible. With Invisalign, this would mean 20-22 hours a day. Wearing your aligners sporadically can lengthen the treatment times and add extra costs because different aligners need to be made.

Invisible aligners are made from modern, lightweight materials that offer a high level of comfort for the wearer. There are no brackets or wires to catch against your tongue or gums. You may experience some discomfort, as with all braces, simply because of the pressure exerted by the aligner to reposition your teeth.

To find out more about which braces would be best for you, give us a call on 0117 950 7949 or contact us.

Categories: Cosmetic Dentistry.

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