Looking Better In Braces: 4 Cosmetic Strategies

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If you know you need adult braces, you may be dreading the moment you look into a mirror and see that metal reflecting back at you. Fortunately, however, today's orthodontic patients have more control over how they look in braces than ever before. Here are four cosmetic strategies that can make you feel better about getting braces.

1. Embracing the Look

Sometimes the best way to cope with a change in your appearance is to embrace it wholeheartedly. Believe it or not, modern braces can act as a fashion accessory even as they straighten your smile. You can get brackets in a wide range of attractive colors and even specific logos or designs. 

Fashion braces work exactly the same way as clear braces or metal braces, so your orthodontist should be able to work with them just as easily and achieve the same great results. Once the braces are off, you'll have a whole new fashion accessory -- a dazzling new smile.

2. Getting Clear

If you'd like your braces to make a minimal visual impact whenever you talk or smile, give serious thought to clear braces. Clear braces are true to their name because the brackets are fashioned from clear or tooth-colored ceramic, with white ligatures attaching them to tooth-colored wires. The final result blends in with the natural appearance of your teeth, especially from a distance.

Clear braces cost more than metal braces, but you can control that extra expense by fitting them only to the most visible surfaces, such as the front teeth, and using metal braces for the other parts of your mouth. They can also stain, rendering them more visible, so you'll want to eat and drink with care. Ask your orthodontist which foods and beverages to avoid if you choose clear braces.

3. Going Invisible

The term "invisible braces" is sometimes used to describe clear braces, but it applies even more directly to another type of corrective device altogether. Truly invisible braces don't even use the same mechanism as traditional braces; instead, they rely on clear plastic aligners that are form-fitted to the patient's teeth. Instead of making manual adjustments, as is the norm for wire braces, your orthodontist simply replaces the aligners every few weeks. Each aligner has a slightly different shape, so when you wear them as directed, they gently correct your bite.

Invisible braces don't work on all types of bite problems, and you may find the cost prohibitive compared to metal braces. But the fact that they're easily removed means you can make the occasional public (or private) appearance without any kind of device on your teeth. They also allow for easy dental hygiene.

4. An Inside Job

If you don't want any exterior evidence that you wear braces -- not even in the form of clear braces or aligners -- then ask your orthodontist about the possibility of having lingual braces fitted. Lingual braces are nothing more than standard metal braces that attach to inside surfaces of teeth, where they can do their straightening magic without being visible to onlookers. 

Lingual braces are probably the most undetectable of all options, but they aren't for everybody. In return for the discretion they provide, you'll pay a relative high price and most likely spend more time in the chair having delicate adjustments made. They're also harder to clean, and they don't necessarily work for some severe malocclusions. Clear braces may prove a more convenient compromise.

Whether you prefer invisible, fashion, or clear braces, you definitely have a say in how your mouth will look while your teeth are being realigned. Explore your options -- and smile with confidence! Click here for more info on options for braces.