Category Archives: Braces and Orthodontics

Deciding Between Clear or Metal Braces

10 Questions to help you decide between clear or metal braces:

Having understood the advantages of clear and metal braces, it’s now time to make a decision. Here is a list of question to better help you decide whether you should go with clear or metal braces. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:

  1. Are you adamantly opposed to having metal show in your mouth?
  2. Do you have a busy work schedule and want to minimize your time at the dentist / orthodontist?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10 (least to most crooked teeth) would you say you’re between a 1 to 5?
  4. Are your teeth very susceptible to developing cavities or tooth decay? For instance you develop a new problem every year, whether it be a new cavity, crown or root canal.
  5. Have you been diagnosed with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) before?
  6. Can you afford $5,000+ in orthodontic treatment?
  7. If you can’t afford $5,000 for your treatment do you at least have good enough credit to finance the work? Or dental insurance that covers a portion of your treatment costs?
  8. Are you at least over 20 years old?
  9. Are you disciplined enough to keep your trays in at all times, except when eating or brushing? This includes when you’re at work, sleeping or going out on the weekends.
  10. Did you have braces once before when you were younger?

Good candidate for wearing clear braces

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you’re probably a good candidate for wearing clear braces, should you qualify.

Questions 1: Appearance

Many times the decision between wearing clear or metal braces comes down to looks. Obviously clear braces look much nicer and less conspicuous than metal ones do. If you can’t afford to show metal in your mouth, then clear braces are the better choice for you.

Question 2: Time commitment

If you work very hard or travel for work, clear braces are a much better option for you. Metal braces can cause serious damage to your teeth if left on your teeth for additional months or years. You may end up requiring a whole bunch of fillings or even root canals after a long hiatus. On the other, with clear braces the worse thing that can happen is you will require a few new trays. No harm will be done to your teeth and gums during your extended absence.

Question 3: Case complexity

Obviously this is something that only your dentist or orthodontist can determine for you. Just realize that only simpler cases qualify for treatment with clear braces. If your bite or teeth are extremely crooked, you must go with metal braces over clear ones.

Questions 4: Teeth problems

If you are susceptible to developing dental problems rapidly, wearing metal braces can pose a serious risk to your teeth. It’s not uncommon to remove metal brackets and find a couple of new cavities underneath them. Even worse, some patients end up developing tooth infection and require root canal treatments as a result of wearing metal braces for long periods.

This problem should not happen with clear braces. You can continue to clean your teeth, floss them, and get quality dental cleanings when wearing clear braces as opposed to metal ones.

Questions 5: Gum problems

First and foremost, if you have advanced or moderate-advanced periodontitis you shouldn’t be receiving braces to begin with. However, if you have earlier stages of gum disease you are allowed to get orthodontic treatment. Of course as long as you commit to obtaining regular dental cleanings along with keeping up good at-home oral hygiene.

If you suffer from gum disease it’s much better to go for clear braces over metal ones. Metal braces can cause much more damage to your gums and jawbones. Going with clear braces is a much better choice as it allows you to upkeep your cleanings and at-home oral hygiene routine.

Questions 6 and 7: Affording clear braces

As mentioned earlier, clear braces typically costs at least $2,000 more than metal ones do. If you can afford this then you shouldn’t have a problem. Most people however finance their orthodontic work over the course of their treatment. This could typically end up costing you around $100 to $150 per month. As usual, having dental insurance with orthodontic benefits helps make affording treatment easier.

Questions 8 and 9: Wearing your trays all the time

You must be committed to wearing your trays around the clock in order to get results. If you don’t wear them, you won’t get results. Teenagers should continue sticking with metal braces since cooperation is an issue at this age.

Question 10: Fixing relapses

Clear braces is generally a great option for fixing relapses for those that wore braces once already. Maybe you didn’t wear your retainers as much as you should have. Or possibly you didn’t remove your wisdom teeth on time and they made your remaining teeth slightly crooked. Clear braces work really well to fix teeth which have shifted just a little bit since your last treatment. Just make sure not to forget to remove your wisdom teeth and wear your retainers if you don’t want to have to repeat it again!

Good candidate for metal braces

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then you’re probably have to go with metal braces instead, should you qualify.

Final Thought on clear or metal braces

Deciding to go with clear or metal braces can be a tough decision. If your treatment case is a simple one and you can afford it, then clear braces might be a good option for you. Otherwise go with metal braces and save some time and money in the process!

As a final note, pay attention if your case is a very simple one. If your expected treatment time is around six months or so, you might qualify for express clear braces treatment options. These are typically less expensive and their price is comparable to metal braces. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist to see if you apply for express clear braces treatment.

NEXT >> Pros of clear braces (Invisalign or ClearCorrect)

Pros of metal braces (Brackets and wires)

Benefits of Metal Braces

Pros of metal braces (brackets and wires)

You’ll notice that most orthodontists prefer and recommend metal braces over clear ones. This is because metal braces give dentists a lot more maneuverability and versatility over shifting your teeth. It’s much easier and quicker to establish a perfect bite when using brackets and wires than it is with clear trays. Here are some of the advantages of wearing metal brackets and braces over clear ones:

Metal braces can not be removed

Wait, but isn’t this supposed to be a disadvantage? No, not if you’re a teenager who doesn’t like to follow instructions! Removable clear braces require heavy compliance and unfortunately most teenagers don’t follow through. This is the main reason why metal braces are still preferred for youngsters. Trust us, you can’t expect your teenager child to wear his or her clear braces 22+ hours a day if they’re not worrying about paying for it themselves!

Brackets and wires are more effective and efficient

Traditional metal braces are still the king when it comes to excessive teeth movement. You can fix just about any bite discrepancy with metal braces. They give your dentist more control over the movements and yield much faster results. They work for most cases where clear braces fails to produce satisfactory results, such as:

  • Moderate to severe overbites and underbites
  • Fixing overbites resulting from thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting
  • Fixing posterior crossbites
  • Forcefully pulling out impacted teeth (trapped)

Only very simple and minor teeth movements qualify for clear braces. In fact, clear braces really only work well when closing minor gaps in between your teeth or fixing minor relapses. For everything else you must resort back to metal braces. Having more control and yielding better outcomes is often worth the metal look and inconvenience associated with wearing brackets and bands.

Clear braces cost much more than metal ones do

Clear braces trays are a patented design. This means that they’re made by only a select few manufacturers which typically charge between $500 to $1,500 per case. Obviously, this will be reflected as an additional expense onto your bill. So generally speaking, clear braces cost $2,000 to $3,000 more than metal braces do.

Keep in mind that most of the difference in price doesn’t go to your dentist or orthodontist but rather the tray manufacturer. Thus don’t expect that you will be able to bargain too much on the price here!

On the other hand, metal bracket and wire braces have minimal overhead for your dentist or orthodontist. Cost of bands and brackets are negligible, which is why metal braces cost so much less than clear braces do. Metal braces are almost always the more affordable treatment option, and typically cost a few bucks thousand less than clear braces.

NEXT >> Deciding between clear or metal braces

Pros of clear braces (Invisalign or ClearCorrect)

When to Get Braces: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Are your teeth only slightly crooked?
  2. Is your crooked teeth only the result of your teeth being misaligned and NOT a skeletal issues?
  3. Do you have pretty healthy gums? That is you don’t suffer from gum disease or only have early stage which is under control.
  4. Do you brush and floss regularly?
  5. Do you go to your dentist for your two checkup and cleaning regularly?
  6. Do you still have most of your teeth? Maybe just one or two missing at most.
  7. Do you NOT have several dental implants or dental bridges in your mouth?
  8. Is the only thing bothering you about your teeth the fact that they are slightly crooked? (“no” means you want to change the shape or color of the teeth as well as)

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you can get braces no matter your age. The reason most adults don’t qualify for braces is they either have gum disease so shifting looser teeth may be too risky or they have a lot of existing dental work that makes getting braces a challenge. If you are an adult with healthy gums and not a lot of complicated dental work you should be fine getting braces regardless of your age.

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then maybe you should consider options other than braces to straighten your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry can fix your teeth without having you wear braces for so many years. Talk to your dentist to see if placing veneers might give you the results you want.

Final Thought

Taking advantage of soft and flexible bones to move teeth easier is the main reason you want to get braces done when you are younger. The best age to do this is when all the adult teeth have came out at around 11 to 13 years old. But age is not a restriction on receiving braces. In the absence of advanced gum disease or heavy existing dental restoratives you can get braces done at any age. It just might take a little bit longer.

helpful hint – If you are planning on having extensive cosmetic work the cosmetic work can address minor orthodontic needs and mask them. This applies to those who are planning on getting extensive amounts of cosmetic dental work particularly veneers on their front teeth. You may want to both move your teeth as well as get them looking nice and youthful at the same time. You might think that you will require braces treatment followed by cosmetic work. And that is true if your teeth are very crooked. But for the minor cases, such as those with only slight shiftings and minor gaps, the veneers may be able to both cover the teeth and correct your bite imperfections all at the same time. Talk to a cosmetic dentist or a prosthodontist to see if placing veneers on your teeth can address both issues at once.

NEXT >> When to Get Braces: As a Child or Teenager

When to Get Braces: As an Adult