Braces – Metal and Clear Aligners
Crooked teeth can greatly affect the quality of your life. Not only do they impact your smile, but they can also affect the health of your mouth. Misaligned teeth are likely to wear unevenly. They can also put unnecessary pressure on your jaw, leading to serious jaw pain and temporomandibular disorder. You are also at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. At National Dental Melville, we offer both metal braces and clear aligners to help fix your crooked teeth.
What are Metal Braces?
Metal braces are the traditional solution for dealing with misaligned teeth. They have been used for several decades, and are a highly effective treatment. They consist of three major components:
- Metal brackets. The brackets are bonded to each one of your teeth during your very first visit, and they stay in place for the duration of your treatment.
- Metal bands. These are placed on your back teeth, and anchor your archwires in place.
- Archwires. The archwire is responsible for the movement of your teeth. They are anchored in place by the metal bands and attached to each metal bracket with elastic O-rings. They are available in several sizes, which allow for us to provide you with the best results.
Traditional braces have other components, such as rubber bands, headgear, and springs, but their use depends on your specific situation. We will determine which components will best serve your needs.
How Do Metal Braces Work?
The archwire is responsible for the movement, and stabilization, of your teeth. The wire puts pressure on your teeth, which puts pressure on your periodontal ligaments (the structures that hold your teeth firmly in place). The ligaments widen, which loosens your teeth. The wires then guide your teeth where they need to go and hold them in place when they get there. It takes three months for new tissues to grow, and a full year for your teeth to stabilize.
What About Clear Aligners?
Metal braces are a highly effective treatment. However, they are often associated with young teenagers. Older teens and adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment as well, but the thought of “metal mouth” is often more embarrassing than misaligned teeth. At National Dental, we offer clear aligners as an alternative.
Clear aligners are a series of rigid plastic aligners. They are created from 3-dimensional imaging of your mouth. Each set of aligners is meant to be worn for two weeks at a time, with the next set slightly different than the one before it. The rigid plastic puts pressure on your teeth and guides them into place, rather than archwires.
Clear aligners are removable. To provide you with the best results, however, they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. They should only be taken out to eat and to brush your teeth. Treatment time is shorter than with traditional metal braces, taking anywhere from 9 to 15 months on average. Most patients achieve their desired results within a year. It is rare that it lasts as long as two years. During your treatment, you will go through anywhere from 18 to 30 aligners.
Which Option is Right for You?
Clear aligners offer numerous benefits over traditional metal braces. They are invisible. You can eat your favorite foods. Brushing and flossing are much easier. Treatment is shorter. However, clear aligners are not for everyone. If you have severely misaligned teeth, or your jaw is also misaligned, traditional braces may be the only option to provide you with optimal results. In some cases, you may be able to switch to clear aligners after initial treatment with metal braces. We will help you to determine the best course of action for your needs.
If your teeth are misaligned, call National Dental Melville today at (631) 816-2277 to find out if metal braces or clear aligners are the best option for you.