When deciding to choose between metal and cosmetic braces, patients should consider the different advantages and disadvantages of each. At Lux, we will help guide you through the decision making process.
Metal braces are made of stainless steel and are, therefore, a sturdy appliance. The braces themselves are difficult to break. A broken brace is usually one that has come apart from the adhesive (i.e. glue) that connects it to the tooth. Another advantage of metal braces is that they are typically smaller and have a lower profile (i.e. less bulky) than clear braces.
Cosmetic braces are made of either porcelain, ceramic, plastic or monocrystalline sapphire. The advantage of clear braces is that they are less visible, more esthetically pleasing and are compatible for patients who have a metal allergy. The disadvantage is that they are more brittle and break easily. Even if one corner of the brace is broken, the entire brace should be replaced, since all four corners, or ‘wings,’ are necessary to be effective. While most clear braces themselves do not stain, often the elastic rubber band that holds that wire in place can discolor. Periodic orthodontic appointments will help, since fresh ties are placed each time.
The Cleaning Process
Cleaning the braces also includes cleaning around and under the wires, too. It is wise to invest in an electric toothbrush so that plaque is more effectively removed. One area commonly missed is the area directly beneath the wire in between the teeth. A second area commonly missed when brushing is near the gum line. Both of these misses can result in irreversible white spots known as decalcifications. These spots are noticed especially once the braces are removed. Actual tooth decay is another outcome if good brushing is not practiced throughout treatment.
Flossing the teeth while wearing braces requires diligence. Floss threaders, floss gadgets like Platypus and Gumchucks as well as waterpiks are all helpful aids to get the job done. Flossing between the teeth helps to reduce the formation of tooth decay and prevents the gum tissue from becoming irritated and overgrown.
Choosing braces means committing to regular orthodontic appointments in addition to regular cleanings with your dentist. Appointments are typically every 6-8 weeks, with smaller intervals near the end of treatment. The appointments required to place and remove the braces approximate one hour while the adjustment appointments throughout treatment are between twenty to thirty minutes.
One of the biggest commitments when wearing braces is avoiding foods that can lead to breakage. Hard, chewy, sugary and sticky foods, ice and candy are all on the list of foods to avoid.
Orthodontic treatment with metal or clear braces can be a smooth and rewarding experience if the commitment to good oral hygiene and routine visits are made. At Lux, we consider ourselves your partner in this journey to keep you motivated, educated and on the right path to a healthy, beautiful smile!