When most people hear the word braces, the ones that come to mind are the traditional metallic ones. These have been the most popular and effective braces to fix teeth alignment problems.
However, dental experts have, over time, developed multiple types of metal braces and clear braces. While most metal braces are prominent, technological advancements have made it possible to manufacture more inconspicuous ones.
Still, clear braces are the most discreet solution for those who want to improve their smile without drawing too much attention.
This post looks at the differences, advantages, disadvantages, and potential costs of clear braces vs. metal braces.
How Braces Work
If you’re thinking about getting braces, you most likely know their use – to realign an individual’s teeth. Typically, people who want braces have an over, cross or underbite – sometimes, they have one or several teeth out of alignment.
Left untreated, the bite issues described above can spiral and lead to worse orthodontic problems in the future. Fortunately, if you’re like most people who are great candidates for braces, you may not have detrimental dental issues. You most likely want braces for aesthetic reasons – to improve your smile.
If that’s the case, braces are just what you need. These dental fixtures also help raise your self-esteem and reduce your self-consciousness by aligning your teeth. So, how do they work?
For starters, installing braces involves the attachment of a bracket to each tooth. A dentist will then thread a wire through each bracket and secure it in the back. Over time, your dentist will tighten the wire using a mechanism at the back of the brackets on the rear molars.
As the wire is tightened, the pressure is transferred to the teeth, helping them get back in line over time. During subsequent dental visits, these wires are tightened as needed until the teeth are in alignment and you have a smile you desire.
The length of time braces take to work depends on how much correction your teeth need. Lighter modifications mean you’ll only need braces for approximately a year, while more severe cases might require the braces to stay on for more than two years.
Metal braces have been the norm for dental corrections for the longest time. The typical metal brace features a metallic bracket through which a wire, secured in place with a plastic band, is connected.
However, metallic braces have fallen out of favor with the more mature crowd as they are more visible. Thus, the self-conscious, particularly teens and adults, choose more subtle options.
Technology has improved the manufacture of these braces by decreasing the size of the brackets and introducing more subtle designs. However, metal braces still stand out more than clear braces.
The Pros of Metal Braces
Below are reasons why many dentists and their patients still prefer metal braces.
- Highly effective – metal braces still reign supreme when it comes to effectiveness. Additionally, they’re an excellent option for various dental problems, offering life-altering solutions for the better. Some of the conditions metal braces can treat include overcrowding, misalignment, protruding, and gaps in teeth.
- Rapid results – When it comes to quick results, metal braces are the best. Besides, they’ve been known to be the fastest way to straighten teeth for decades.
- Inexpensive – of all braces, metal braces are the most affordable. If you’re on a budget, these are probably the best option. Typically, metal braces will cost up to $1,500 on the high end. On the other hand, clear braces might set you back north of $5,000! Additionally, if you have dental insurance, there’s a likelihood it covers metal braces.
- Long-lasting – metal braces are super sturdy and designed to last the entirety of your treatment. Their build quality and structure are made to withstand regular use and abuse from chewing or brushing. Typically, metal braces are fashioned from steel or titanium, allowing you to continue your daily dental routine without worrying.
- Dependability – the goal of having braces is to align your teeth as fast as possible. Unlike other clear aligners that you may need to take out when eating or brushing your teeth, metal braces are a permanent fixture for the entirety of your treatment. While this might seem intrusive, it’s the only way of ensuring they are on your teeth longer and thus work faster and more consistently.
The Cons of Metal Braces
- Decalcification – this is the very first step of developing a cavity. Typically, it’s caused by poor dental hygiene. Ensure you brush your teeth and floss after every meal to avoid it.
- Can trigger the formation of sores – one of the biggest disadvantages of metal braces is that they can be harsh on the mouth. As braces usually rub the inside of the mouth, metallic ones can irritate the area they rub and cause a sore to form.
- Foods to avoid – metal braces, while highly effective, are made from sensitive materials. That’s why it’s recommended that individuals with metal braces avoid foods that might get stuck in the brackets easily, such as gum, corn, and taffy.
Clear braces have become a popular alternative to metal braces. At the very least, they’re less showy and an excellent option for those who want a less visible option.
The Pros of Clear Braces
- Discreet – if you’re self-conscious or want to align your teeth without attracting too much attention to your mouth, you may want to consider clear braces. These are made with materials that mimic the color of your teeth, helping them blend in seamlessly.
- Convenient for brushing and flossing – clear braces don’t obstruct you when brushing or flossing your teeth. As a result, it’s easier to clean your teeth, thus protecting them from potential damage caused by poor oral hygiene.
- Fewer dental visits – clear braces require a dental visit only after 10 to 12 weeks, unlike metal braces that need a check-up every 6 to 8 weeks. While metal braces need regular maintenance for the braces, wires, and rubber bands that keep everything in place, clear braces don’t need as much attention.
While metal or clear braces will get the job done most of the time, it’s essential to consult an orthodontist before you settle on either type of braces. Your orthodontist will recommend the best option based on your needs and budget.