Has your orthodontist or dentist told you that your child's teeth need to be straightened? Are you curious about the differences between metal braces and transparent alignment devices and how they will impact your child's life? Here is some information on both systems to help you make your decision:
Physical activities: If your child is an athlete, they could find it difficult to wear conventional metal braces while participating in contact sports. A football helmet can protect from injuries to the face and head, but does little to protect the mouth from scrapes should the player get an elbow or ball to the facial area. The edges of metal braces can cause scrapes and cuts on the inside of the lips unless special precautions are taken. Using dental wax to cover the braces before each game or practice can reduce some of the injuries, but this can be a tedious process. In contrast, wearers of transparent orthodontic aligners don't have to worry about any sharp edges in their mouth. With permission from their orthodontist, your child can remove his or her aligners briefly during play. As long as your child's orthodontist okays this, playing sports should have little to no impact on your child's teeth straightening schedule.
Dietary choices: Wearers of transparent alignment devices face little restriction when it comes to foods. They don't have to deal with discomfort from wires when chewing, or worry about food getting caught in their braces. They simply remove their devices before eating, then enjoy their food like normal. This means that your teen won't have to feel self-conscious about the food choices they make in a social setting. Your child will be able to participate in pizza parties or taco fiestas with their friends without feeling left out. In contrast, wearers of metal braces can only watch while their peers enjoy popcorn at the movies, pretzels and corn chips at dances, or chocolate candy at a slumber party.
Oral hygiene: It can be challenging for a child to keep their teeth clean while wearing metal braces. The tiny spaces between the wires and brackets can trap tiny bits of plaque and food, causing staining and tooth decay. The metal in the braces can also cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce a bleaching effect, which can result in tiny, yet permanent, lighter areas on the teeth. In contrast, a teenager using an alignment device like Invisalign can remove them, then brush and floss their teeth normally. Once their orthodontic treatment is complete, they won't have to deal with any possible discoloration or decay that could be caused by conventional metal braces.