When asked what your favorite food is, you might have some qualifying questions before coming up with an answer. Favorite sweet food? Favorite savory snack? Favorite meal, dessert, type of food? You can probably choose a preferred option for every category. It’s only normal to have your favorite coffee, body wash, clothing brand, and so on.
Luckily, we live in a time when you can have your preferred cake and eat it, too. This idea is even carried over in your orthodontic treatment options. While Dr. Eric Howard and his skilled team may not be able to help you narrow down which tasty treat or indulgent meal best suits your palate, when it comes to the different types of braces, they have the experience and knowledge to guide you to the choice that best fit your smile needs. Don’t get yourself all worked up in an online search to compare the different types of braces. Our Howard Orthodontics team has broken down each orthodontic treatment option so you can quickly determine the differences.
The Different Types of Braces
We understand that getting your teeth straightened with orthodontics is a big decision. After all, your smile is your first impression in life. Here at Howard Orthodontics, we respect your reasons for wanting to improve your smile. We’ll work with you to ensure your orthodontic care with us is among the best experiences you’ve had. With ever-improving dental technology, we assure you get the latest orthodontic treatments. Let us help you make the best investment in your smile!
Conventional Metal Braces
Metal or traditional braces have been around for many decades and are the original powerhouses of orthodontic treatment. Thanks to technological advancements in orthodontics, today’s metal braces are smaller, lighter, and much more effective at significant adjustment needs than their bulky predecessors.
Traditional metal braces work by attaching a metal bracket to the front sides of your teeth and securing those brackets together with an archwire. This archwire is held on by elastic ties that come in various colors for ultimate personalization. Every 4-8 weeks, your orthodontist adjusts the archwire to create slight but precise tooth movement for the desired outcome.
At Howard Orthodontics, we use 3M pre-pasted brackets to provide you with clean, sterile care. Our braces are packaged in a tamper-evident, factory-sealed container to ensure these brackets are new and used just for you.
Clear braces are an up-and-coming option similar to conventional metal braces. This ingenious option works just like metal braces, except this method swaps the metal brackets for clear or tooth-colored polycrystalline ceramic brackets, making them virtually undetectable. Many teen patients have even found that bright-colored elastic ties can create an almost neon effect that really pops!
Metal braces are known for their durability and strength. Ceramic braces are also tough, but they are made from a different, more fragile material that is more likely to chip or crack. Traditional braces are also better at tolerating pressure than newer ceramic ones.
Clear aligners like Invisalign have gained popularity in the last decade as technology has made them more inconspicuous, efficient, and budget-friendly. Similar to the post-braces retainer trays they evolved from, Invisalign clear aligners fit comfortably over your teeth and make minor adjustments over time for patients needing simple corrections as well as for patients who have mild to moderate dental problems like misaligned teeth, large overbite, no jaw alignment problems, or those who have gaps in their front teeth- an open bite. With this anonymous treatment option, your smile is the only thing they’ll see.
Invisalign for Teens
Here at Howard Orthodontics, we also offer Invisalign for Teens. This adolescent aligner option places an inconspicuous dot on the back of the aligners to help keep your teen accountable for their time wearing them. It also provides extra space for molars that have yet to erupt.
For our patients between the ages of seven and ten, Invisalign First Phase is designed to fit smaller teeth with space to accommodate teeth that are growing in during treatment. Invisalign First clear aligners can fix many issues, including crowding, spacing, and narrow dental arches, making it an excellent start for a growing smile!
While lingual braces can provide highly-customized treatment, they are one of the least common treatment options and are not offered here at Howard Orthodontics. This option places the metal brackets similar to traditional ones on the tooth’s backside or lingual side. Putting the appliances on the backs of the teeth makes your treatment completely invisible. It is more efficient and versatile than the conventional front-side application, making some exceptional cases easier to treat or reducing the time you need to wear your braces.
Lingual braces work like traditional braces do by applying gentle pressure to your teeth, but some obstacles can occur with this treatment option. Because they are placed on the tongue-side of the teeth, some patients experience slight changes to their speech and irritation to their tongue. These symptoms usually present shortly after the braces are applied and go away within a couple of weeks as your mouth becomes accustomed to your new appliances.
Another option for braces not offered at Howard Orthodontics is self-ligating braces. This technique uses metal brackets and wire similar to traditional metal braces, but instead of elastic bands, it uses brackets with unique doors and clips that secure the wire. This design allows the brackets to move along the wire a bit more freely and can cause less irritation and discomfort that is commonly associated with elastic adjustments.
How Do I Know Which is Best for Me?
We know it can be a tough decision, especially when there is no way for you to know what your tooth and jaw structure look like just from looking in the mirror. We will walk you through a complete oral examination when you come in for your initial consultation. During this tour through your teeth, we will take x-rays and photos to analyze your tooth shape, smile display, and all aesthetic aspects of your lips and mouth. This is done to show you how your smile would benefit from orthodontic treatment and to help us see the functional elements and needs of your teeth and jaws. We want you to know exactly how your face, jaws, and smile would improve from orthodontic treatment and the best way to achieve that goal.
For an Expert’s Opinion, Choose Howard Orthodontics
Our compassionate team at Howard Orthodontics in Willow Street is here to walk you through the plethora of orthodontic options available to get you the smile that matches your personality. Step by step, we will work alongside you and your family through the treatment and logistics options until we reach a perfect result for you or your child.
Whether conventional metal braces, clear braces, or clear aligners like Invisalign, we are dedicated to giving you the most-personalized care using the latest orthodontic technologies and treatments. We’ll treat you and your family like you’re our own! Schedule your FREE consultation to let us help make you smile!