If you have to decide between metal and clear (ceramic) braces, it can be hard to make a decision because the best possible option for you will depend on a variety of factors. In this blog, our Manitoba orthodontist shares the differences between these two options as well as clear aligners.
How Braces Can Help You
Braces can straighten your teeth and realign them into their new, corrected locations. They can help both simple and complex orthodontic conditions, including crossbites, overbites, underbites, and misalignments.
Since misaligned teeth are harder to clean than straight teeth they can cause other oral health and dental problems including gum disease or tooth decay. Misaligned teeth could also get worn down more easily because of an uneven wear pattern. You also have to consider aesthetics. Lots of people that have misaligned teeth or a misaligned bite feel unconfident or insecure about the way their smiles look. Finally, misaligned teeth can occasionally make regular daily activities such as talking or eating more difficult.
Braces can help repair misaligned teeth and as a result, address the issues listed above.
When being treated with braces, a bracket is attached to every tooth and is connected with a wire, that is secured in the back. Brackets on the rear molars have a mechanism attached to them that lets your orthodontist tighten the wire.
The wire is held against the bracket with rubber bands called ligatures. The brackets are held to your teeth using a special type of cement.
You will have to visit your orthodontist periodically during your treatment so they can adjust your braces slightly. Pressure is applied gradually to your teeth through the braces to help align your smile. You can also choose the colour of your elastics (rubber bands) to express your style.
The Differences Between Clear Braces & Metal Braces
You are probably familiar with traditional metal braces, as they are the most common type. As the name implies, these braces are made entirely of metal (though they are supported by elastics). Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology, metal braces have received multiple upgrades, and the brackets used today are much more streamlined than those used in the past.
Now, there’s less risk of a bracket irritating the inside of your lips or cheeks, as brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. But, some people are still reluctant to go with metal braces because of their appearance. If you are concerned about others noticing your braces, you could consider 'clear' alternatives.
Clear braces are not actually transparent. Instead, the brackets are made of tooth-coloured ceramic, allowing them to blend in better with your smile.
Beware: While clear braces are a compromise between metal braces and clear aligners in terms of appearance, they are actually larger in size, and more brittle, than traditional metal braces are. They also tend to be a bit more expensive than metal braces and are therefore often only used on upper front (most visible) teeth to save on costs.
Option 3: Clear Aligners
Clear aligners such as Invisalign are transparent, removable orthodontic appliances that are custom-made to fit your smile.
Made of clear plastic material, they are lower profile than braces and do not come with metal brackets or wires. The casual observer will be hard-pressed to see them on your teeth.
The Costs of These treatments
For people that aren’t candidates for clear aligners, clear braces might be a good compromise. Clear braces also fall in the middle of the spectrum in terms of cost, depending on the requirements of your treatment.
Usually, metal braces are the most economical option, with clear aligners typically coming in just above the average cost of braces. Of course, the cost will depend on the nature of your orthodontic problem, the duration of your treatment, and other factors.