Orthodontics and modern dentistry has really come a long way. The days of heavy duty metal braces and headgear are fortunately in the past. Both kids and adults have a variety of options when it comes to braces. Some of these are so invisible and comfortable you won’t even know you’re wearing braces — and neither will other people.
“Traditional” Metal Braces
Even today’s metal braces are a lot different from what was available 20 years ago. Modern metal braces are less invasive or obvious. They are made of lighter metal that can even be heat-activated to use the body’s heat to expedite results and reduce associated pain. These tend to be more affordable but not as uncomfortable as braces in the 80s and 90s.
These used to be known as clear braces. They tend to weigh the same and have a similar feel to metal braces, but are made of a see-through material, so they don’t stand out. You can even get clear wires, so they are practically invisible. These can be ideal if you are an adult getting braces and want to blend in. These tend to work faster than plastic options like Invisalign. They are more expensive and require more care and upkeep to maintain their clear and invisible appearance.
These braces look and feel like metal braces but are placed on the inside of the teeth, so they can’t be seen. This is an expensive approach and may not be suitable if extensive work needs to be done. They can also be difficult to clean. Lingual braces tend to be very uncomfortable in the beginning, but most get used to it. Appointments for these braces tend to be longer because they are more difficult to adjust.
The latest in braces technology, Invisalign have become very popular. These braces look like a mouth guard and are actually a series of 18 to 30 tailor-made, clear, plastic teeth aligners. The aligners are replaced every 2 weeks as your teeth adjust and progress through a realignment program. They are completely invisible. You don’t need to change your diet when it comes to food and beverages. They are by far the most expensive when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Not all cases are ideal for this approach.
Check with Your Insurance Plan
Most braces procedures will cost between $5,000 to $6,000, but your insurance plan will likely cover at least part of it. Your dentist can check with your plan and see what’s covered. They can also schedule a plan to optimize your insurance coverage. Remember that most braces treatments are not purely cosmetic. They can address oral health issues such as overlapping or crowded teeth. This can decrease your risk of tooth decay. In many cases, braces may be a critical part of a comprehensive dental treatment.