After three years of suffering through metal braces and all the requisite adjustments during those sensitive high school years, I immediately thought the sacrifice was worth it once my braces were removed to reveal a perfect smile, just says before the Junior Prom. To this day, I’m immensely grateful that my parents were able to afford the treatment needed to correct my very crowded teeth.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get this rite of passage over with in your teen years, you may be considering having your smile corrected now. But don’t assume you have to go the old-fashioned metal brace route (although, it could be the best choice for you).
Here are the most popular teeth straightening options available today:
Pros: Invisalign consists of a series of clear, plastic trays molded to your teeth and designed to shift their position over time. They typically work just as fast as braces, but they’re much less visible, as well as less abrasive to the inside of the mouth. They’re also removable, making them easier to clean.
Cons: This option is more expensive than traditional braces and requires the patient to commit to wearing them 22-24 hours a day (you should only remove them to eat and to brush and floss) for full effectiveness.
Pros: These braces include brackets made of a translucent ceramic and a tooth-colored wire, making them more discreet than metal braces.
Cons: The rubber bands used with ceramic braces are made of latex, which can stain. The translucent brackets could also appear to be yellow against white teeth. Also, these braces are typically larger and more brittle than metal braces.
Pros: Unlike traditional metal braces, these braces use brackets that don’t require tiny rubber bands to hold the wire against your teeth. Rather, the brackets use built-in clips which are smoother to the touch (less irritating to your mouth), easier to keep clean, and require less adjustment – decreasing the pain level and shortening not only your time wearing them, but your individual appointments as well.
Cons: They’re just as visible as traditional braces and not totally pain-free.
Pros: These braces are placed on the back of your teeth, making them difficult to detect.
Cons: Besides being more expensive than traditional braces, lingual braces are also difficult to keep clean, cause more irritation to your tongue, and affect your speech.
Pros: Metal braces are usually the least-expensive straightening option.
Cons: These braces are very clearly visible on your teeth, irritate the inside of your mouth, and require maintenance and adjustment by the orthodontist every six weeks or so.
Which of these straightening options have you tried? Tell us what you thought of it!