what are my treatment options?

Lots of treatment options for adults are available today to help you get a healthy and beautiful smile. Explore options that fit your lifestyle while straightening your teeth. Your orthodontist knows about all of the treatment options on the market, and which is best for your specific orthodontic problem.

Is all orthodontic treatment done with braces?

Not these days. Among the choices are braces, which consist of brackets and wires, and, for some people, clear aligners.

I don’t want braces that show. Are there clear braces?

Yes. But “clear braces” can mean different things to different people. Some people use the term “clear braces” when referring to aligners. Aligners aren’t braces in the traditional sense, but they are able to move teeth, too. If an orthodontist uses the term “clear braces,” he/she is probably talking about braces that have brackets made of a tooth-colored (ceramic) material.

Are there other kinds of braces?

In addition to “clear” braces mentioned above (ceramic braces), there are braces made with metal brackets. But even metal brackets come with options. Braces can be made of stainless steel or ceramic.

How do the wires connect to the braces?

Wires are threaded through slots in brackets, and held into the slots by ligatures, most often small, elastic o-shaped rings that are stretched around each bracket. These o-rings come in a rainbow of colors and are generally changed at each appointment. 

My orthodontist talked about brackets that have doors on them.

Your orthodontist was referring to self-ligating braces. They have a clip that is build into the bracket, and the clip holds the wire to the bracket.”

What about ceramic braces?

Some adults are able to use ceramic braces to move teeth successfully. The brackets are tooth-colored, so are less visible to others. Not all kinds of orthodontic problems can be corrected with ceramic braces. If they are of interest, talk to your orthodontist about whether they are right for you. Ceramic braces can be self-ligating, or can require conventional ties to hold the wire in the bracket slot. Sometimes adults have a combination of ceramic and metal braces. Again, speak to your orthodontist about what will work for you.

My teeth on top aren’t that crooked. Can I just get braces on the bottom to save money?

This question can only be answered by visiting an AAO orthodontist for an exam and consultation.  

Which treatment option is best?

The best treatment is the kind performed by an AAO orthodontist, who is a specialist straightening teeth and jaws for patients of all ages. Orthodontists regularly use the wide variety of treatment options available, and can help you find the treatment option that will correct your individual orthodontic problem and complement your lifestyle. Use Find an Orthodontist to locate AAO orthodontists near you.

Which treatment works fastest?

AAO orthodontists make use of the full range of orthodontic appliances – not just one or two – to get you a great outcome in the shortest possible amount of time. Based on his/her specialty education in orthodontics and clinical experience, the orthodontist will recommend the treatment option he/she believes is the best fit for you and your lifestyle while straightening your teeth. Here are five tips to make your treatment go as quickly as possible:

  • Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on brushing and flossing. See your dentist for a professional cleaning at least every six months during orthodontic treatment, or more often if recommended.
  • Watch what you eat if you have braces. Stay away from hard, sticky, and crunchy foods. Opt for foods that are soft and easy to chew. If you have aligners, be sure to remove them before you eat or drink anything besides tap water, and put them back in after you’re done eating or drinking and you have thoroughly cleaned your teeth.
  • Beware of sugary, acidic soft drinks including regular and diet soda pop, fruit juices, fruit drinks and sports drinks. Tap water is recommended.
  • If prescribed, wear your elastics (rubber bands) as instructed.
  • Keep scheduled appointments with your orthodontist.