Getting braces has become a right of passage for many teenagers in America. In fact, 80% of teens will have braces by the time they turn 19 years old! Since the late 1990s, braces have become more and more popular, and not just for dentally necessary reasons. While most people used to only get braces because they had severe overbites or crossbites, speech impediments, crowding, or trouble eating – now, because of the advancements made in orthodontics, like Invisalign and dental technology, many are opting for braces for cosmetic reasons.
Types of Braces
Apologies to the teens of the 70s and 80s, but the metal braces used 30, 40, and even 50 years ago are not even in the ballpark of modern orthodontic technology.
- Invisalign. In 1997, a new way to straighten teeth was introduced with ‘Invisalign’. This ‘new’ technology allows you to straighten your teeth while keeping your confidence, as you can do so discreetly. It may cost a bit more than traditional braces, but it may allow more flexibility depending on your needs.
- Clear Braces. Before Invisalign and Clear Braces, you may remember rocking some bright neon rubber bands in your braces. Now, you can get clear braces. While not quite as discreet as Invisalign, this option allows you to not be as ‘loud’ when smiling.
- Traditional Braces. This option is still very popular, as modern dental technologies have advanced to make even these easier to install and more comfortable for the patient. Metal braces are also the most cost-effective, which is a huge win for parents.
The Common Factor
No matter which type of braces you choose, one thing is common – eating will be different, and sometimes a challenge. With traditional braces, certain foods need to be avoided to prevent brackets from breaking, bands from snapping, and cavities from forming behind the metal. Here are a few tips for those with traditional metal braces:
- Avoid sticky/hard foods like caramel, suckers, hard candies, and popcorn. These foods are the ones that wreak havoc on braces, cause brackets to break, and cause numerous unnecessary visits to the orthodontist to fix.
- Reduce sugar intake. Sugary foods, even if not in sticky/hard candy form, love to hide in our teeth. Sugar bugs, or bacteria, latch onto teeth that are behind brackets, making them hard to see and hard to clean. Reducing your sugar intake means these bacteria have less opportunity to eat away the enamel behind the curtain of the braces.
- Brush after every meal. With traditional braces, it is essential to brush your teeth after every meal to clean out behind the metal. Like we said above, food and sugars can get stuck behind the brackets, and the longer they are there, the more time they have to cause tooth decay.
If your orthodontist suggests, and your budget allows, Invisalign may be a better option for some people. Because there are no metal brackets, brushing after every meal is not necessary (although, it doesn’t hurt). Invisalign aligners can be removed during mealtime, so you can eat normally, yes – even those sticky foods we mentioned above. Once you are done eating, just pop the aligners back in your mouth and return to your day. While you still need to practice good dental habits and avoid cavity-causing foods or drinks like sugar and soft drinks, Invisalign makes it easy to straighten your teeth and eat as you would any other day.
Let Us Help You Decide
We would be happy to discuss the options for straighter teeth with you at Premier Dental Center San Antonio at Nacogdoches during a scheduled appointment. There are many things to consider when choosing which type of braces to get, whether that is budget, lifestyle, career, or timeframe. Our team is committed to helping you make the best choice for your specific dental needs. We look forward to meeting you!