When you think of braces, you may think of months to years of a mouth full of metal, but just like all other technologies, the technology of straightening teeth has advanced in recent years. There are lots of options for braces these days, some of which you might not even call braces.
For example, invisible braces systems (like Invisalign®) use clear aligner trays to gently coax your teeth into position. These types of aligners can be removed temporarily to eat, so there are fewer restrictions on the foods you can enjoy when using clear aligners to get a straighter smile. Invisible braces treatment can be performed by your dentist, without the need to visit an orthodontist separately (though most orthodontists also do invisible braces).
There are also lingual braces, which are essentially invisible because they are on the backside of your teeth (near your tongue). Lingual braces are a great option for those who want to straighten their teeth without appearing to have braces. However, because lingual braces are very customized, they may cost more than traditional braces that go on the front of your teeth.
Clear or white braces are another option that can straighten your teeth nearly invisibly. Clear braces use clear or white brackets instead of metal ones, so your braces are not as obvious. From a distance, people may not notice your braces at all.
You can complete your braces treatment more quickly by choosing one of the fast or quick braces technologies. These braces systems use innovative new versions of orthodontic technology to move teeth more quickly or only move a few teeth at a time, so you can have a straight, aligned smile in as little as three to six months, as opposed to the typical 12 to 18 months with regular braces.
And then there are traditional metal braces with metal brackets. While not the most aesthetically pleasing, traditional braces have a unique advantage over all the other types of tooth straightening technology: they can be used to treat nearly any orthodontic problem. Not everyone’s teeth can be helped by the clear, fast or invisible options mentioned above. Ultimately, a dozen or so months wearing braces is worth it for a new straight smile that will last for years to come.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to braces. There are lots of elements to consider when choosing an option for braces, including time, cost, appearance, and what needs to be fixed (overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc.). Your dentist and your orthodontist can discuss the options with you and help you choose a treatment plan that fits your needs and desires.
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