Choosing The Right Type of Braces for You
Clear Braces, Clear Aligners, Invisible Braces, Invisible Aligners.. How do I decide?
So you have decided to do something about your teeth, but don’t want that train-track look? There are many clear or invisible braces options on the market now, but searching adult braces options can be confusing and exhausting. Here we break down the choices and show photos of each one to make it really – well – “clear”!
Firstly, whether you call them clear or invisible we are talking about three key treatment options:
Clear Braces vs Clear Aligners vs Invisible Braces
|Feature||Clear Braces (Ceramic)||Invisalign Clear Aligners||Incognito – Invisible Braces|
|Suitability||Suitable for everyone.||Most people now can be treated with Invisalign.||Suitable for a wide variety of treatments.|
|Length of Treatment||Generally, 18-24 months||Generally, 18-24 months||Generally, 18-24 months|
|Application||24 hours per day and are fixed to the teeth.||They are removable, and we recommend wearing them 22 hours a day.||24 hours per day and are fixed to the teeth.|
|Transparency||Ceramic is nearly the same colour as a tooth and blends in very well. The wire is still metal.||Transparent, and the most ‘invisible’ option we have.||Hidden on inside of teeth. The brackets are gold.|
|Brushing and Flossing||Difficult. Need to be thorough.||The aligners can be removed, so flossing and brushing is very easy.||Difficult. Need to be thorough.|
|Eating||Recommend avoiding hard, sticky and chewy foods. Food can get stuck.||No change to eating habits needed.||Recommend avoiding hard, sticky and chewy foods. Food can get stuck.|
|Adjustments (Dentist Trips)||Every 6-8 weeks with the average appointment lasting 15 minutes.||Every 8-10 weeks, with the average appointment lasting 5 minutes.||Every 6-8 weeks, with the average appointment lasting 45 minutes.|
|Damage||Ceramic brackets are fragile and occasionally fracture. The brackets can un-glue from the teeth. Wires pokes and wire breakages can occur.||Each plastic aligner is changed weekly, so damage is rarely seen.||The brackets can un-glue from the teeth, and wire pokes do occur.|
|Irritation||The brackets initially feel bulky, but settle quickly. Occasional wire pokes to cheeks.||Can take a few days to get used to wearing them.||Since they sit on the inside wire pokes to the tongue can occur.|
|Emergency appointments||Can occur, and usually relate to broken wires and brackets that come off.||Not very common, and when they occur the issue is easily resolved.||Can occur, and usually relate to broken wires and brackets that come off.|
|Cost||Economical. Payment plans available.||Can be comparable depending on treatment. Payment plans available.||Are the most expensive appliance available. Payment plans available.|
|Private Health Insurance||Rebates available depending on insurer.||Rebates available depending on insurer.||Rebates available depending on insurer.|
So, the short answer is that it depends on which of the features above are most important to you. Once you know which you would prefer, you will need to book an orthodontic assessment to discuss with our orthodontist in Perth which options are possible given your unique treatment plan.
All three of these options can discretely straighten your teeth and help achieve the perfect smile, and a treatment plan can be devised that suits your busy lifestyle.
The good news is that you can book an initial orthodontic assessment without even needing a referral from a dentist.
Keeping Your Braces Clean and Eating the Right Foods
Anyone embarking on orthodontic treatment must have good oral hygiene, and limit exposure to foods that can damage the teeth and avoid foods that could damage braces.
What we need to see before anyone starts orthodontic treatment are healthy gums with no plaque or tartar present. If you have a situation where someone normally struggles to keep their teeth clean then imagine placing orthodontic brackets and wires on the teeth. With all the extract surfaces where plaque can stick to, it would be almost impossible for that person to keep their teeth clean.
The consequence of poor plaque control during orthodontic treatment is twofold. Firstly, given enough time, the right surface and environment, plaque can cause irreversible changes to the enamel. These initially can be seen as white spot changes (figure 2) on a tooth which eventually can cause a hole or cavity.
Secondly, the presence of plaque will cause a reaction which will lead to inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. If left long enough this surface inflammation can progress and lead to inflammation around the supporting tissues of the teeth ‘periodontitis’, and irreversible gum changes can be seen.
What we advise patients to do is brush twice a day for at least two minutes. If someone needs to brush more, particularly after main meals then that’s fine. I always recommend fluoride toothpaste from any of the main toothpaste brands. Keeping the areas between the teeth ‘inter-dental area’ clean is also very important, and we advise patients either to use interdental brushes or Superfloss.
Sugar is the main culprit in dental decay, and it is imperative that anyone not only limits the amount but the frequency of sugar intake in the diet. On a daily basis, it is recommended that one should not have more than three instances of sugar. We also ask patients to avoid sugary foods between meals, and none before going to sleep. Carbonated drinks and juices should also be avoided.
Braces are stuck well to teeth, but if someone is not careful they can knock off an orthodontic bracket or break a wire. This is not only an inconvenience for patients, as it involves coming in to get it fixed, but also any breakage can slow down treatment. There are three simple things that I recommend for anyone and they are to avoid hard (biting into raw fruits or vegetables), sticky (caramel and lollies) and chewy foods (toffee and lollies). Sugar-free chewing gum is great for your teeth but will stick to the brace and you will be picking bits out for hours.
Let us help you figure out which option is the best for you to get that perfect smile. Simply send through a photo of your smile to discuss your options or phone 08 6169 1699 today.