Knowing Your Options vs. Braces
Let’s face it—braces don’t sound fun to anyone. In an ideal world, we would all be born with beautiful, healthy bites and gleaming, straight smiles, and all the fuss could be avoided. Too bad we can’t all be so naturally lucky! But metal braces might not be number one on your wishlist of solutions. So if you want straight teeth for yourself or your children, you may find yourself wondering: what are alternatives to braces?
We will list alternatives to braces below. Some are great and recommended options—we will note this as we go, as well as important information and stats about each choice.
Recommended: Clear aligners!
If an assessment shows clear aligners are a good option, they are a great choice when it comes to alternatives to braces! Clear aligners, like Invisalign, offer a lot more flexibility than traditional metal braces. They are a great choice for anyone who is concerned about the aesthetics of braces, and they can deliver you the beautiful smile and healthy bite you seek!
The process: With clear aligners, trays are custom fit to your teeth, and you wear them a minimum of 20 hours a day. You change trays every two weeks, and they progressively move your teeth into alignment.
The timeline: The average time with clear aligners is 12-18 months.
Benefits: Clear aligners make it easy to maintain good oral hygiene, as you can remove them when you eat. They are removable when you need to for important events. And they are discreet—practically invisible alternatives to braces.
Recommended: Shorten braces time with early orthodontics.
Early orthodontics is a great option for children up to age twelve, whose jaws are still developing. Early orthodontics makes room in your child’s mouth to prevent crowding and allow space for adult teeth.
The process: With early orthodontics, treatment is completed in two phases. During phase one of treatment, an oral appliance like a mouth retainer is used to help the jaw to grow to its potential.
The timeline: The process usually takes 10-12 months. During the first 4-6 months the device is active, and then the remaining months it is held in place as a retainer.
Benefits: Early orthodontics helps to shorten your child’s time in braces during Phase 2 of treatment, once the jaw is fully developed. It also helps to prevent painful teeth extractions and can put a stop to bad habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and teeth grinding. The benefits are too many to count if your child is a candidate for early orthodontics!
Not recommended: Do nothing.
Of course, we don’t recommend this option as one of the alternatives to braces! Getting braces often isn’t just a cosmetic choice—a bad bite can lead to a whole other host of problems. A bad bite can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth, leading to cracking and extractions. In addition, a bad bite can make it harder to brush, which can cause plaque, which leads to gum disease and again, tooth loss. It is worth investigating how to align and straighten your teeth to keep your teeth, gums, and smile healthy!
Recommended: Just do it!
If you’ve investigated the alternatives to braces and traditional metal braces seem like the best option, then go ahead and do it! Braces are smaller and lighter than they used to be back in the day. You can choose from many colors, like clear, gold, or metal with all different kinds of colored bands. And you can finally correct the problem you’ve been worrying about once and for all!
The process: Brackets are fixed in place and at regular appointments, the orthodontic clinician makes adjustments to align and straighten the teeth.
The timeline: When all permanent teeth have erupted, the average time for fixed braces is 1.5-2 years.
Benefits: Braces are lighter and more comfortable than ever before. They will leave you with the beautiful bite, excellent alignment, and smile of your dreams!
The best news is, it is easy to take the first step to decide if any of the alternatives to braces work for you. Schedule an initial consultation today, where we can take a look, answer your questions, and discuss your best options!