While conventional braces have advanced in comfort and effectiveness in their own right, orthodontists can now offer patients more discreet
and comfortable alternatives in self-ligating, clear, and invisible braces. These options are not appropriate for every patient, but for those who prioritize comfort or invisibility, they may be preferable to conventional braces.
Not all types of braces treat the same issues, so your provider will decide which treatments you are eligible for. Additionally, your insurance may not always cover these treatments to the same extent as traditional braces. If you’re thinking about getting braces for yourself or your child, here’s a breakdown of these trending new types of braces so you can make the best decision for your situation.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What are Self-Ligating Braces?
In conventional braces, elastic bands hold the archwire to the brackets of each tooth. This wire applies the force that moves teeth into healthier positions over time. In self-ligating braces, this elastic is replaced with a clip or “door” that holds the wire to the bracket directly.
The difference with self-ligating braces is that teeth can move more freely while feeling less discomfort. This is because the wire and the bracket have less friction between them. Additionally, the clasps do not wear out as the elastic bands can, so patients usually don’t need as many appointments during their treatment (elastics need to be replaced every 1-2 months).
To summarize, the benefits of self-ligating braces include:
- More comfortable treatment for the same health issues
- Fewer appointments owing to the self-ligating clasps (8-12 weeks instead of 4-6)
- More efficient treatment due to the clasps not wearing out
- Less cleaning required
Note that your provider may use “active” or “passive” brackets on your self-ligating braces, which accomplish the same thing using a different mechanism. Ask them if you have additional questions about your unique situation.
What are Clear Braces?
Clear braces are also known as ceramic braces. They work similarly to metal braces, but the brackets are made from clear ceramic instead of metal. Unlike self-ligating braces, clear braces retain the elastic bands of conventional treatments, though they are usually clear-colored to match the brackets.
Ceramic braces are not as durable as metal ones, which can be an issue for patients who play contact sports. They are also not as viable for longer treatments due to a lack of durability compared to metal braces. However, many patients report greater comfort with the less abrasive ceramic materials, as well as more discretion.
This is the main draw of clear braces – the ability to be treated without showing it off. Whether for customer service professionals or students, these braces add an element of discretion that can help the confidence of someone unsure about their treatment.
Note that while clear braces treat many of the same issues as metal ones, they are often more expensive.
What Are Invisible Braces?
Invisible braces are also known as Invisalign or clear aligners. They are removable plastic trays that can replace metal or clear braces in certain situations, usually when the issues are not as severe.
The clear advantage of invisible braces (literally) is that you can’t see them when they’re in your mouth. For anyone who wants total discretion while they’re being treated, invisible braces offer a unique alternative to the traditional methods. They can even be removed while you eat, drink, or play contact sports, making them more comfortable and convenient than any other treatment.
The downside, especially for kids, is that invisible braces are self-directed treatments, meaning they won’t work as intended if the patient fails to wear them as directed. Additionally, they are often the most expensive form of braces and the least covered by major insurance policies.
Speak with your provider about your treatment to learn which of these choices would be best for your physical and financial situation.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.