You’ve considered braces for a while, but understanding the choices and costs can be overwhelming. Now’s the time to break down the options available so you can make a more confident decision and move toward the smile you deserve!
Braces correct crooked and crowded teeth, over- or under-bites, and can adjust the jaw position for easier chewing and a better appearance. Suitable for patients of any age, braces can truly transform your mouth, smile, and self-esteem. We’re constantly asked about “Invisalign vs metal braces,” so in this post, we’re here to break down the three types of braces, costs, and considerations to evaluate when thinking about braces.
Traditional braces are metal brackets and wires that are bonded to each tooth. Years ago these braces included metal bands that wrapped around each tooth and then were wired together. Today, most metal braces now use smaller and less noticeable metalwork, although some patients still require the metal bands around the back teeth. Wires are held to the metal brackets with a tiny rubber band, which, together, put pressure on the teeth to help them move to their desired location. The wires are adjusted approximately every four weeks.
Metal braces tend to be the most inexpensive type of braces, costing between $1,800-$5,500 (depending on the amount of treatment required). They are suitable for more intensive treatment, such as for cross-bites or very crooked teeth. Be aware, however, that the metal can irritate gums and cheeks until you’re used to them. Also, it’s important to avoid eating hard or sticky food or gum, which can dislodge or move the braces.
Ceramic or clear braces are similar to metal braces, except instead of metal pieces bonded to each tooth, the brace attached is clear and designed to blend in with the teeth. Clear or elastic ties are also used to hold the clear braces together and onto the tooth. While the braces don’t typically stain, the ties can easily discolor. Ties are replaced each time the braces are adjusted, again, about every four weeks.
Clear braces tend to be more sensitive than the metal braces and can break or chip. They require maintenance and are longer to install, which can increase the treatment time and cost. Like metal braces, clear braces are suitable for adjusting very crooked teeth or cross-bites. Ceramic or clear braces cost about the same as metal braces (between $1,800-$5,500), but can trend higher to cover the different material and color of the brace itself.
The original, invisible transparent brace, Invisalign braces are retainer-like aligners that shift crooked teeth into place over a predetermined period of time. After being fitted for a custom Invisalign brace, they are then worn every day for no less than 22 hours per day. Invisalign is transparent and discrete; many people don’t notice someone is wearing Invisalign unless they are told!
Invisalign braces are removable for eating, cleaning, flossing, and brushing teeth making them much easier to maintain and avoiding cavities that sometimes occur under traditional metal braces. They are smoother than metal or clear braces, preventing the irritation of cheeks and gums. It is, however, critical that patients commit to wearing an Invisalign brace for a minimum of 22 hours per day for the straightening process to be successful.
Invisalign trays are changed every few weeks. However, some dentists offer several sets of aligners per visit to extend the time between dentist visits. Invisalign is suitable for correcting crooked or crowded teeth, gapped teeth, and over-/under-bites. Invisalign braces cost an average of $5,000, without insurance, depending on the treatment required. Flexible Spending Account funds can also be applied toward treatment costs.
Interested in understanding what braces options are right for you? Call us at (303) 284-6463 and we’ll explore what the best fit is for your smile!