Do you or your child have an overbite, underbite, or gaps between your teeth? Are you wondering if you should invest in teeth aligners?
Believe it or not, teeth alignment involves so much more than traditional metal options. These days, the best teeth aligners come in a wide variety of materials that are comfortable for both teens and adults.
Here’s what you need to know before you take a trip to the orthodontist.
1. Your Look
Some want their braces to be as inconspicuous as possible, and others don’t mind the world knowing they’re wearing braces. This is especially true with younger teens, who may like to use different colored brackets and rubber bands to express themselves.
Traditional metal braces are the most visible type available. Ceramic braces, however, use clear or tooth-colored brackets, and some even use tooth-colored wires. If you want your braces to be a little more subtle, you may want to consider this option.
Those who are willing to make more of an investment may choose an option like Invisalign or lingual braces. Invisalign is a series of clear aligner trays that get replaced every two weeks as your teeth gradually shift into place. Many adults and older teens prefer them because they’re difficult to see.
Lingual braces are another invisible option. They have components that are fixed to the back of your teeth and can only be seen by your dental professional.
2. Your Budget
Many folks choose their teeth aligners or braces for teens based upon their budget. You’ll want to carefully consider how much you can spend before you choose a braces type.
Generally, traditional metal braces are the least expensive type. They can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000.
Ceramic braces and Invisalign, while more subtle, will also likely cost you a bit more. They run anywhere between $4,000 and $8,000. And at $8,000 to $10,000, lingual braces are the most expensive option for tooth aligners.
The actual cost of braces will depend upon a number of factors. These include your age, the condition of your teeth, and your geographical location.
3. Your Insurance and Health Savings Plan
Before agreeing to get braces, you’ll want to check with your dental insurance to see if they’ll cover all or some of the cost. You may also wish to ask your orthodontist about a payment plan.
In some cases, you may be able to get a discount for paying for the entire treatment upfront. In others, your dentist may offer an option where you can pay your braces off a little each month. Some practices may even give discounts for veterans, police officers, or firefighters.
If your medical insurance uses a Health Savings Account (HSA,) you can use the tax-sheltered money you put aside to pay for cosmetic dentistry. If you don’t have an HSA, ask your employer if a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is available.
FSA’s are similar to HSAs in that you’re able to put aside money each month from your paycheck that’s protected from income tax. This means you’ll be keeping more of what’s in your paycheck!
Just as with an HSA, the money from your HSA can get used for paying for braces. However, it’s owned by your employer and has less flexibility. With an HSA, you can rollover any unused funds from year to year.
4. Eating Habits
While traditional metal braces are popular because of their low cost, dietary restrictions are frustrating for some. Sticky and hard foods can actually damage the wires on braces or cause your bracket to separate from teeth.
If you’ve got metal braces, you’ll want to avoid foods like popcorn, nuts pizza crust, and bagels. This is even more important with ceramic braces as you’ll need to think about bracket discoloration and visible food particles as well.
With Invisalign, however, there are very few dietary restrictions because the trays get removed every time you eat. As long as you remember to remove them and clean your teeth before you put the trays back in, you can continue eating as you normally would.
Many parents choose traditional or ceramic braces for their children because only the orthodontist can remove them. Patients return to their cosmetic dentist once every four to six weeks for a check-up. They’ll also need to brush, floss, and rinse as usual.
With Invisalign, however, the patient plays a bit more of a role in the process. They need to be responsible for removing aligners when they eat, but they also must replace them when they’re done. If patients don’t put their aligners in regularly, the teeth won’t get straightened.
When brushing and flossing, Invisalign patients will need to also remember to clean their aligners. They’ll also need to see their orthodontist regularly for check-ups.
One positive of Invisalign is that they generally get worn anywhere from a year to eighteen months before the treatment is complete. Wire braces, however, can be worn as long as three years. And lingual braces could take even longer.
If you’re a mature adult or teen who wants their teeth alignment treatment to be fast, Invisalign could be right for you.
Choosing Your Teeth Alignment
Good teeth alignment is critical for better oral health and improved self-confidence. The right braces for you or your child will depend upon your budget and habits. Once you’re ready for your treatment, you’ll be on your way toward a stunning smile that will last you a lifetime!
Don’t stop getting smart about your health and lifestyle now. For more great advice, read our blog today.