Are Braces Worth It?
Braces have a long, rich history and remain a reliable orthodontic treatment option today. Braces origins trace back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, but modern braces were introduced in the early 1900s using metal wires and brackets. They continued advancing with new materials like stainless steel and cometallic alloys into the 1970s-80s when braces grew widely popular.
Braces work by applying precise pressure to teeth over time to shift them into proper alignment, with treatment typically taking 1-3 years. While initially uncomfortable, patients adapt to braces within a few weeks. Periodic adjustments are necessary to keep pressure tuned properly.
Braces remain popular today, providing an affordable and effective way to straighten teeth for both kids and adults.
Advantages over alternatives like Invisalign include the ability to treat more complex misalignment cases and lower costs. You can even choose clear ceramic braces for a more discreet option, though they are more expensive.
Pros and Cons:
Here are some pros and cons to weigh when considering if traditional braces are worth it:
- Braces are very effective at correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues including crooked teeth, gaps, overbites and underbites.
- Braces are more affordable, costing $3,000-$6,000 on average compared to $4,000-$8,000 for Invisalign. This makes braces the preferred option for many on a budget.
- Maintenance is straightforward with braces. You just need to avoid hard or sticky foods and follow good oral hygiene. No aligners are lost or damaged.
- Braces can correct more severe misalignment cases that aligners cannot handle. This includes jaw alignment and bite issues.
- Braces are highly visible on the teeth which many patients dislike for aesthetic reasons. Invisalign is more discreet.
- Braces can be uncomfortable initially. The brackets and wires may irritate lips and cheeks while speaking and eating.
- Diet is restricted with braces. Hard, crunchy or sticky foods can damage braces so they must be avoided.
- More frequent orthodontic appointments are required for adjustments with braces.
- Treatment time averages 1-3 years which is a little longer than Invisalign and other clear aligner options. Though this could be attributed to the fact that braces are mostly used for severe cases of malocclusion.
Overall, for moderate to severe alignment cases, braces are an excellent option to improve the function and look of your smile. While Invisalign offers an aesthetic advantage, it has limitations. Discuss both options with your orthodontist.