You have decided to invest the time and the money into straightening your teeth. You may have made this decision for purely aesthetic reasons or to improve your overall dental health but either way, you will want to be fully prepared and know what to expect. There are many different options available to straighten your teeth and you will want to discuss your options with your orthodontist to find the best treatment plan for you.
First, you will want to get a recommendation for a qualified orthodontist from your regular dentist. Schedule a consultation with the orthodontist to ensure you and he or she share the same vision and to make sure you are comfortable with the doctor’s expertise. Ask to see photographs of his or her previous clients and ask about the doctor’s orthodontic philosophy. You will also need to see if you have payment options or if the orthodontist accepts your insurance, if you have dental insurance. Many doctors accept other forms of payment like CareCredit or Access One may be available for you to finance your braces. Make sure to ask questions!
Many people believe braces are just for kids or teenagers; today, more and more adults are deciding to invest in their smiles! Braces will straighten your teeth and close gaps that you may find uncomfortable or unsightly and make oral health care easier. Having orthodontia can help line up your jaw for a better bite and also assist with a variety of speech problems. And, it is never too late to reward yourself with a straight, beautiful smile!
There is a time commitment necessary to wearing traditional metal braces. You will need to see your orthodontist once every four to six weeks to assess your progress. If you don’t have the time in your schedule to commit to seeing your orthodontist, you may want to reconsider getting braces. You will also have to brush and floss with more care; keeping your teeth clean may be more difficult but it is imperative to ensure your orthodontia is successful. In line with keeping your teeth clean is making sure you eat properly. Avoid hard, sticky food that can break your brackets or wires; this will only prolong your orthodontic treatment time!
Believe it or not, there are many different options available to someone interested in straightening his or her teeth. The majority of people wearing braces, especially teenagers, wear traditional metal braces with brackets. While the most noticeable type of braces with the metal brackets and wires, they are also the least expensive. The orthodontist glues brackets onto your teeth and connects them with a wire. The wires are tightened at each appointment, gently moving your teeth into place. These braces use rubber bands to align the jaw and bite and the rubber bands are connected to the brackets. Many teenagers like to use colored rubber bands to give their braces a unique look. Adults may opt for a more subdued look. The length of time you will wear metal braces depends upon your specific case and will be determined by your orthodontist. The typical cost for metal braces is anywhere from $3000 to $7000.
Another option that might be available for you is ceramic braces. They work essentially the same way as metal braces—the doctor tightens the wires to move the teeth but the ceramic brackets are the same color as your teeth, making them much less noticeable than traditional braces. The wires can even be tooth- colored, as well. The major drawbacks with ceramic braces are they can stain if not well cared for and they are more expensive than metal braces. Ceramic braces will set you back anywhere from $4000 to $8000.
Want to hide your braces? Your orthodontist has thought of that option, too. Ask about lingual braces—metal braces that are attached to the backside of your teeth, making them less noticeable. Lingual braces enlist the metal brackets and wires of traditional braces but hide the brackets from view. These braces are a little more difficult to adjust, making appointment times longer. Lingual braces may be more uncomfortable at first and it may be hard to keep your tongue from running over the inside of your teeth, which could cause the wires to bend or break. Expect to pay a lot more for this option, anywhere from $5000 to $13000, if your doctor offers this option.
Gaining popularity, especially with adults, are orthodontic aligners. There are several on the market, including Invisalign, Clear Correct and OrthoClear. Instead of brackets and wires, aligners are custom molded plastic aligners that gently move your teeth. New aligners are fitted every two weeks and it generally take the same amount of time as traditional or ceramic braces. One of the biggest benefits to clear aligners is that they are virtually invisible, so no one has to even know you are wearing braces. Many celebrities including Tom Cruise and Khloe Kardashian have worn clear aligners to make their smiles Hollywood perfect. Another plus to wearing aligners instead of braces—you can eat what you want. You can remove the aligners at meal times and to brush your teeth, but they should stay in for at least 20 to 22 hours each day for the best effect. There are, however, some drawbacks to invisible aligners. If you are not diligent about wearing your aligners, the process will not work or the treatment will need to be extended, usually at additional cost. The cost for clear, removable aligners is more expensive than other orthodontic options. The cost for aligners will run anywhere from $3000 to $8000 depending upon your needs and the length of your treatment.
With any type of orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth, you can expect to wear a retainer after your braces are removed. Retainers are to be worn every day to make sure teeth do not shift back to their original spaces. Depending upon your treatment plan, your orthodontist will let you know how long you will need to wear the retainer on a daily basis. You can then switch to wearing the retainer only at night. Make sure to take care of your retainer; they are expensive to replace.