Choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment is an exciting step in achieving a healthy, more radiant smile. While you may be eager to get the process started as quickly as possible, you must first decide which option is right for you: traditional braces or clear aligners. Here’s what you should know before scheduling a consultation at Schwab Orthodontics and gaining the smile of your dreams.
How They Work: Traditional braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets that are glued to one’s teeth. A thin wire runs between the brackets to put pressure on the teeth and move them to the desired location. Traditional metal braces are worn 24/7 and cannot be removed until orthodontic treatment is complete. Most patients see their orthodontist every 4 to 6 weeks to have their wires adjusted and ensure their treatment plan is working properly.
Appearance: While traditional braces are noticeable, they can be made more discreet with clear brackets.
Care: To maintain the health and well-being of your teeth and braces while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, it’s important to keep a few important lifestyle tips in mind:
– Avoid foods that could damage your brackets or cause tooth decay, such as popcorn, sticky candies, raw vegetables, and gum.
– Never use your teeth as tools to open packages or chew on items that aren’t food, such as ice or the back of your pen.
– Thoroughly brush under your brackets and wires and between teeth after eating to avoid tooth decay.
Timeline: Most patients can expect to wear traditional braces between 18 months to 2 years. Of course, this will vary depending on each patient’s particular needs, as well as how well they care for their teeth and braces during the treatment process.
Benefits: Traditional braces are known for effectively correcting complex orthodontic problems that clear aligners sometimes cannot. They are also good options for teenagers or adults who may forget to wear their orthodontic appliances consistently if they had the option to remove them.
Things to Consider: Some patients don’t appreciate the attention that traditional braces can attract. They also may not be the best option for teenagers who participate in contact sports.
How They Work: Clear straightening aligners, such as Invisalign, are made up of BPA-free plastic trays that are customized to a patient’s mouth. The trays can be taken out to eat, brush your teeth, or clean, but should be worn at least 22 hours a day for best results. Patients typically receive new trays every one to two weeks to slowly straighten their teeth over time.
Appearance: Clear aligners are discreet and virtually invisible, so most people will have no idea that you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Care: Once they remove them, patients with clear aligners can eat and care for their teeth like normal. It’s also important to clean the aligners every day.
Timeline: Most patients can expect to wear their clear aligners for 12 to 18 months. However, those with more complex circumstances could be closer to 2 years.
Benefits: Clear aligners are a popular orthodontic option because they are discreet, convenient, and won’t impose lifestyle restrictions, such as what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Things to Consider: If clear aligners are not worn as directed, longer treatment times may be necessary. They also may not be the best option for patients with complex orthodontic problems or those who are prone to losing them, such as children.
A straighter smile can have a tremendous impact on how you look and feel. Whether you decide that traditional metal braces are the best fit for your needs or you’d like to give clear aligners a try, the experienced team at Schwab Orthodontics is ready to make your orthodontic journey as smooth as possible. Call today to schedule your free consultation!