October is National Orthodontic Health Month
Published: August 31, 2021
By: Carol Muse Evans
You see them on children and adults of all ages. They’ve been around since your parents were young. Your dentist can guide you to whether you need braces, but what are the types of braces to consider?
Dr. John Phillips of PT Orthodontics says there are several options, from metal braces, clear braces and Invisalign, all of which are great for children or adults.
The American Association of Orthodontics (www.aaoinfo.org) recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7, as children have a mix of baby and permanent teeth at 7. Your dentist will likely direct you.
But when does a child typically get braces? Dr. Angelica Rohner of Angelica Rohner Pediatric Dentistry says the age varies because every child is different, but also cites the American Academy of Orthodontics’ age 7 recommendation.
“For my patients, I recommend an orthodontic evaluation around the 2nd or 3rd grade, depending on each patient’s needs,” Rohner adds. “Most children get braces when they are between 9 and 14 years old.”
Whatever braces you get, there are also emotional factors around it to consider. According to ebraces.org, nearly one-fourth of the U.S. population has or will have braces at some point. The choices are up to you and your orthodontist.
There are different factors to take into consideration when choosing between braces and Invisalign. Your doctor will go over the benefits of each and help you choose what is best for you, Phillips points out.
Phillips offers this list explaining the braces choices you may have:
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are probably what you think of when you picture someone wearing braces: small metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth. A thin wire runs through the brackets and is attached on either end to metal bands that go around a back molar.
There are still some situations for which traditional braces are a better choice and only an orthodontist can determine the best course of action, Phillips says.
Benefits of Dental Braces
- Produces effective results quickly
- Durable and reliable
- Require less discipline
Instead of highly noticeable metal brackets, you can have clear ones made of ceramic. They are hardly visible, except for the thin wire running through. Many adults choose clear braces.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
As the name implies, Invisalign clear aligners are made of virtually invisible polyurethane plastic, instead of metal-like traditional braces. Rather than being cemented or bonded to the teeth, these clear aligners are completely removable for eating, and more importantly, brushing and flossing. You must, however, resist the temptation to take your aligners out more than is recommended to ensure that your smile stays on course, Phillips says.
Here are some other advantages of the Invisalign system, Phillips says:
- Cleaner Teeth & Gums. With a removable orthodontic appliance, you will be able to clean your mouth much more easily when compared to metal braces.
- Discreet Looks. If you consider your orthodontic treatment to be a private matter, or simply feel that metal braces don’t fit with your self-image, this practically invisible form of orthodontic treatment might suit you.
- Fewer Dietary Limitations. To protect metal wires and braces, some diet modifications are necessary. With clear aligners, you can still bite into an apple or enjoy a crispy pizza crust.
- Comfort. The soft, flexible material of which Invisalign is made is less likely to irritate the soft tissues of the mouth than metal wires and brackets.
- Protection Against Teeth Grinding. If you have a teeth-grinding or clenching habit, clear aligners can function as thin nightguards that will help protect your teeth from excessive wear.
Carol Muse Evans is the editor and publisher of Birmingham Parent.