Do you have crooked teeth and want a straight smile? Then you need braces. Do you have an under or overbite that you want dealt with? Braces.
All cosmetic desires and even health concerns in your mouth usually result in expanders, braces, and the like. But no one wants to have to go through years of having metal-mouth, wires on their teeth cutting into their skin, poking their tongue, making eating and talking a struggle and constantly having to elaborately brush and floss their teeth.
Some foods you have to avoid entirely, or else run the risk of getting it stuck in your braces and possibly even breaking them!
On top of that, what about when they finally come off? They’ve just spent several years stuck to your teeth while you eat. What if when you remove them, there’s a yellow line across your teeth made of old food items and now you’ve gotta start doing teeth whitening?
Avoiding this unsightly line takes chunks out of your schedule in the mornings and evenings, flossing, power washing and brushing your teeth to get every last bit of food out.
Some may consider this character building. If you really want something– such as a great, straight smile or pearly white teeth, you’ve got to be willing to work and sacrifice for it, right? You can be proud when they come off and your smile is exactly what you wished for. You achieved that!
So for some people, braces may be the best option, to build character, and possibly financially as well. For others, however, we may need to consider if there are any other options. Braces are painful and inconvenient, and you’ve got so much going on in your life you can’t possibly bother with one more thing to add to your routine!
Or perhaps it’s a social thing. Other kids can be cruel towards those with braces. They didn’t ask for them, but they’ve got them, and now they’re facing contempt from their peers and possibly even bullying and name-calling like “tin mouth.”
Children have so much to go through in middle and high school, all while their self-consciousness is at its peak. Having issues they can’t control like braces, acne, and the like can make everything worse and lead to many issues around accepting themselves, lacking confidence, and even mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.
We want our kids to succeed, to thrive and to learn who they are and to love that person. And it’s really hard when they have these concerns and lack confidence in their appearance! So how can we help them?
By trying to find an alternative to braces that will go by faster. Maybe by timing their braces so they are fixed and smiling going into those critical years of school. Or maybe by finding an alternative to braces that is quicker, or possibly less embarrassing and painful.
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Headgear braces are specifically for people who suffer from a misaligned jaw, such as an underbite or overbite, or people who have severe spacing issues in their teeth such as people with their teeth all crowded close together or spread too far apart.
It can be removed during the day, but must be worn for at least twelve hours (between twelve and twenty-two depending on doctor’s recommendations) every day.
Being able to remove them makes them easy to maintain, with only keeping the gear cleaned regularly out of hygienic needs. The cost of getting dental headgear is typically between $1,000 and $9,000, but because people get headgear for serious and specific needs, insurance will often cover most if not all of the cost.
The downsides, however, are that it is a very obvious form of treatment. Some people may be able to have it on for half the day, but if self-confidence is an issue and you do not want to be out in public with a big piece of headgear – or don’t want to have to hide twelve hours of the day so no one sees you in it – then I would suggest a different option.
You would also most likely have to wear standard metal braces along with the headgear for it to work properly. Why even bother at all, you may wonder?
Headgear effectively solves your massive misalignment in between one to two years, while using standard braces it may take twice as long. It definitely speeds up the process, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
This method is a small surgery that promotes bone growth in your teeth by the surgeon making small cuts in the bones along your teeth. By making these cuts, your bones are encouraged to grow to heal the inflammatory response. Promoting this bone growth drops the treatment time to half of what it would have been before.
Along with helping correct your teeth faster, accelerated orthodontics can also strengthen your gums, making it easier to chew!
Accelerated orthodontics still requires the wearing of braces before and after the surgery. However, it reduces the time you have to wear them by half, which, if you want them over with as fast as possible, makes this a great option!
Now for the price: since this isn’t a medical concern like the headgear, merely a cosmetic one, so insurance won’t cover it. The price of accelerated orthodontics is typically between two and six thousand, on top of the price of your braces. If money isn’t a concern, this is a really good option for you, but if it is then I suggest we keep looking!
Veneers are the quickest fix, but also the least long-lasting and most expensive. Getting a veneer is getting a thin, light shell disguised to look like your teeth and semi-permanently welding it to your actual teeth.
This procedure gives you the appearance of having perfect teeth, but by eliminating the work to actually fix your teeth. In just a few appointments you can go from having crooked, chipped or discolored teeth to bright white!
Veneers typically last around fifteen years before you have to get them redone, and between nine hundred and twelve hundred dollars a tooth! The price is not covered by insurance as it’s considered a cosmetic expense and not a real need.
They are stain-resistant, so they’ll keep your teeth pearly white for years and years to come. If you have the money to spend and you need to fix your teeth quickly, veneer is the option for you!
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles are another cosmetic fix. These are braces that you wear for six months on the front teeth in your mouth to fix a crooked smile, any misaligned teeth, or spacing problems in your teeth.
After the six months, your smile should be perfectly straight! The braces and their wires are colored to match your teeth, so they are practically invisible.
However, they only fix any smaller problems with your front teeth to improve your smile. If that’s what you are considering braces for, then perfect! But any major issues or corrections needed in your mouth won’t be solved with these six month smiles, you’ll need a much stronger method.
These are also considered cosmetic and aren’t covered by insurance, and cost between thirty-five hundred and five thousand dollars.
Finally, we have retainers, which are the cheapest option, only around a hundred and fifty to six hundred dollars! Typically, retainers are worn after already having braces as a way to keep the teeth that you just fixed from going back to their troublesome ways.
However, if your teeth only require minor adjustments such as small spacing issues, just wear a retainer! Retainers are custom-made pieces that fit onto the top of your mouth. A band of metal wire pulls your teeth into the correct position.
Retainers are great options because they are less noticeable than braces and are removable. You can take them out when eating, or brushing your teeth, and put them back in!
Retainers may not be covered by insurance unless they are for post-braces use, so buying a retainer as your replacement to braces may mean you have to pay for it yourself. The only major downside to retainers, and the reason you’re reading this article, is the time period.
Retainers usually take a year or more, depending on the seriousness of the problem they are fixing, and take longer than braces because they are not as intense.
However, if your problem is minor and they may not really be needed for long and you want to avoid the uncomfortable or even painful braces, then retainers are the option for you.