Everyone desires a beautiful smile and well-aligned teeth. But, everyone also does not want to wear “visible braces” to get straighter teeth. Fair enough. For those who would like to straighten their teeth in an incognito or a less obvious manner, modern dentistry and orthodontics offer a lot of treatment options that you can choose from. Just visit an orthodontist near you and ask for your options.
The various options available are:
Invisalign Therapy: A set of clear aligner trays that go on and off your teeth. They are custom-designed for your mouth and are made up of BPA free plastic. They are as good as your treating doctor is, therefore, it is very important to choose an invisalign experienced orthodontist.
The trays are highly esthetic and no one will know you are wearing them unless you tell them. They are non-allergenic and have smooth edges, making them very comfortable and convenient to wear and remove. They can be easily washed and worn too.
Since they are removed so many times, the potential for damage is greater. The success of the treatment is largely dependent on the patient wearing them as instructed, that is for a minimum of 20-22 hours in a day. Without proper compliance, the treatment can fail. As they are clear and made of plastic, the possibility of staining due to coffee, tea or regular curry intake is high, especially if the surface gets scratched while cleaning/brushing or due to the use of any abrasive agent and you forget to remove them while drinking beverages that can stain them. Another issue with clear aligners, they tend to work a bit slower when compared to traditional braces and be more expensive.
Lingual braces: These are very similar to traditional metal braces, but are placed on the inner surfaces of the teeth towards the tongue side. They are also highly customized to your teeth and the brackets are specially designed to fit over the inside surfaces of your teeth.
As they are attached on the inner side, they are truly and completely invisible.
Some patients have difficulty in speaking initially. This problem disappears once you get used to the braces. It takes an average of two weeks for this issue to resolve. Since the placement and adjustment of the braces is little difficult owing to the location of their placement, the chair time is also higher compared to the time required for the other types of braces. This option is more expensive when compared to traditional braces and treatment time is usually longer and you have less comfort when compared to invisalign therapy.
Ceramic braces: These are similar to the traditional metal braces and go on the front surfaces of the teeth, but are clear in appearance. The brackets are tooth colored or translucent.
Though they are tooth colored, they are more visible than the Invisalign aligners or lingual braces as they are placed on the outer surfaces of the teeth and a metallic wire might be running across the front of the teeth. The ties and wires are prone to staining from lipsticks, curries, tea, coffee, mouthwashes or nicotine. These braces cannot be used in all bite patterns as the material is abrasive in nature and causes damage to the teeth if used in a bite pattern that is unsuitable for them. Therefore, a proper evaluation by an orthodontist is needed before selecting them.
All these methods work on the same basic principle of moving teeth under pressure into esthetically, functionally and physiologically desirable positions. Once the teeth move into the new positions, they need to be stabilized there to prevent any relapse. As they say old habits die hard, similarly the teeth will try to move back to their old positions unless they are anchored firmly in their new positions. So, a retention phase is an important part of any orthodontic treatment and the patient is asked to wear and care for a retention appliance till such time that the orthodontist deems it fit.
The ultimate goal of getting the smile of your dreams by using techniques that make your journey less convenient and conspicuous is worth the effort and time. So, consult a few good orthodontists in your area and check out all your options and then go ahead with your treatment. Some even offer free consultations from your home.You and your smile deserve the best!