What Orthodontic Appliances Aside From Braces Can Help Straighten My Teeth

You can fix your smile with the right set of orthodontic appliances

The first thing many orthodontic patients have in mind when thinking about their teeth with braces is having their mouths full of metal for a long period of time to have straighter teeth.

This is a limited scope to orthodontics. In truth, orthodontics does have a substantial impact on our daily lives and finances. A more comprehensive view of orthodontics is to enhance or restore the bite functionality in a patient.

Teeth and jaw alignment significantly impact better occlusion, which is having a functional and correct bite. In addition, having a healthy bite reduces teeth wearing, which could end in chips, cracks, and, ultimately, losing a tooth.

Aligned teeth contribute to eliminating entrenched spaces where food residues accumulate, producing plaque. In addition, enhanced hygiene means healthy teeth and reduces the chance of expensive corrective treatment to eliminate dental caries or periodontal disease. 

In short, orthodontic treatment helps patients have healthy teeth and avoid costly and traumatic corrective treatments like root canals or teeth extractions. Healthwise, orthodontic treatment helps correct digestive issues, sleep apnea, and craniofacial problems causing headaches.

Now, when you think of orthodontic treatment, you know it goes far beyond a sacrifice for cosmetic purposes. Instead, Alpharetta orthodontics is a life changer process requiring sacrifices for better dental health.

Here we talk about the different types of orthodontic braces and some relevant facts that will make deciding on entering treatment easier.

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces have accompanied orthodontic patients needing teeth alignment for decades, and they are still a categorically proven method to align severe teeth malocclusions.

It was the seventies when orthodontists covered teeth with a sheet-like band of metal to which they affixed the brackets. Oh yeah, that was painful and uncomfortable, and treatment used to take a long time to complete.

Today, having braces cemented to teeth makes oral hygiene hard, but there are some tips that will help you skillfully master oral hygiene with braces. Also, current metal braces are smaller and have fewer nooks and crannies than their antecessors.

The best part of Traditional Metal Braces is they are more affordable than other orthodontic systems and work to treat severe malocclusions efficiently. However, patients sometimes seek a less conspicuous treatment option despite these benefits.

However, before we move and see more cosmetic options for traditional metal braces, we must mention that conventional metal braces are the most suitable option for severe malocclusions.

Some other factors enter into play when defining the possibility of opting for an alternative, and they are the following:

  • Malocclusion severity and teeth crookedness.
  • If jaw surgery is necessary.
  • If a headgear or other appliance is necessary.
  • The patient’s budget.

Now that we have listed some of the factors affecting the possibility of using alternatives to braces to treat malocclusions, let’s check what the options are and what characteristics they present:

Clear Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a fantastic option for their discreteness. People will hardly notice you are wearing these braces as they are clear, mimicking teeth color. However, you must outweigh a few drawbacks before bidding it all on cosmetics.

Ceramic doesn’t withstand the same forces as metal, so it might not be a plausible option for severe malocclusion. Moreover, Ceramic braces are not as sturdy, and they might break or detach easier than their stainless steel counterpart.

Not less important, especially when thinking of discreteness, patients must be aware of avoiding certain foods that could stain clear ceramic braces, turning them yellowish.

Lingual Braces

The main feature of lingual braces is their discreteness. They are also known as invisible braces because orthodontists cement braces in the rear part of teeth, making them literally invisible. So, smiling isn’t a problem as they are hidden behind teeth.

Lingual braces are metal braces making them sturdy and able to withstand a higher strain. Moreover, lingual braces are more complex to install and maintain than other braces.

Fortunately, Dr. Nima is trained to plan, install and control the treatment’s progression for a successful outcome. Lingual braces might require patients’ compliance with a rigorous hygiene routine, as they are more challenging to clean.

Self-Ligating Braces

From a pure treatment efficiency perspective, self-ligating braces are the most formidable treatment option. Self-ligating braces produce better traction control while reducing stress and discomfort.

But what makes the self-ligating system braces one of the best orthodontic treatment options? To explain this, we must refer to its architecture. In the discussion of conventional braces vs. self-ligating braces, the latest is more sophisticated: metal braces with brackets with clips to hold the wires. These innovative features bring the following benefits to patients:

  • Less time at the orthodontist’s office.
  • Fewer scheduled visits.
  • Less friction while improving teeth mobility, liberating the periodontal ligament to move freely, and lowering discomfort while exerting constant pressure.
  • The brackets are easier to clean than traditional braces with ligatures that retain food particles.

Self-ligating braces allow increased teeth displacements, making them more comfortable than other braces options. Self-ligating braces come in two options differing on the clips’ mechanics, passive and active self-ligating brackets.

Passive Self-Ligating

We’ve described self-ligating braces as a variant for metal braces that allow the orthodontist to plan a phased treatment with enhanced comfort. Passive self-ligating braces are typically used at the beginning of treatment.

The main characteristics of passive self-ligating braces (PSLB) are a smaller metal wire size and a slot on the metal bracket, similar to a sliding door that enables mild traction and gentle pressure.

These two design components are crucial to allowing teeth mobility at the beginning of treatment to make movements more subtle and naturally occurring. However, in biomechanics, which is the science behind orthodontics, as treatment progresses, the orthodontist might require to exert a higher strain and move to active self-ligating braces (ASLB).

Talk to Dr. Nima; he will help you clear your mind about self-ligating braces vs. conventional braces.

Active Self-Ligating Braces

As its name implies, Active Self Ligating Braces (ASLB) use a variation on the bracket clipping to the archwire and a thicker archwire to enhance torque. In addition, the clip uses a spring type of slot that closes, retaining the archwire, actively functioning, exerting an increased strain and traction than does (PSLB).

Before starting treatment, Dr. Nima will explain the entire plan and how it evolves from one phase to another.

Tongue Crib

Where should our tongue be when chewing and swallowing? The answer is it shouldn’t be pressing the front teeth. A tongue crib is functional orthodontic appliance specialists use to eliminate tongue thrusting. This bad habit consists of pushing the tongue against the front teeth producing a displacement that causes a malocclusion known as an open bite.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The answer to this question depends on different factors. According to industry standards, braces cost depends primarily on the malocclusion severity, how crooked teeth are, and treatment duration.

Moreover, the cost of braces often depends on the patient. You read it right. Compliance with the orthodontist’s recommendation is crucial to get the treatment plan flowing.

Failing to practice good oral hygiene habits might produce tooth decay or periodontal disease that would suspend orthodontic treatment until the problem is solved, extending the treatment time.

The braces cost will ultimately depend on the type of braces used and the scope of insurance coverage. Here we list the approximate cost of different orthodontic apparatuses.

Metal Braces

The average cost of traditional metal braces ranges between $5,000 and $5,500. In addition, braces under insurance coverage cost approximately $3,750.

Ceramic Braces

Clear ceramic braces are approximately $5,500 to $6,000, and the cost with insurance coverage rounds to $4,250.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign Clear Aligners‘ cost depends on the malocclusion severity that defines the number of alignment trays planned on the orthodontic program. Invisalign costs range between $4,500 and $6,000—Invisalign costs with insurance rounds to  $3,750.

Braces costs vary with the specialists. However, as professionals, we intend to help patients benefit from treatment. Dr. Nima understands not all families can afford to pay these costs upfront.

You can openly discuss direct finance options with Dr. Nima and his crew.

How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?

Defining the timeframe needed for wearing braces is difficult. An experienced specialist might provide an average treatment time, but one could not interpret these times as written in stone.

Moreover, Dr. Nima critically advises patients to suspect a professional guaranteeing a defined timeframe for treatment. In this regard, we include some of the factors that make determining a specific time problematic:

Patient Physiology

Every patient reacts differently to orthodontic treatment.

Treatment Option

Treatment with any of the orthodontic types of braces might take longer than with Invisalign.

Malocclusion Severity

Two patients with the same malocclusion typology and using the same orthodontic device but having a different malocclusion severity might have a different treatment span.

Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

Initial alignment phase orthodontic treatment carried out at approximately age seven helps minimize the trauma and time for orthodontic treatment later in adolescence.

How to Maintain Good Hygiene With Braces?

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is essential during orthodontic treatment with braces. Food and debris accumulate in the brackets’ nooks and crannies and between wires and elastics.

Failing to remove food particles and poor hygiene creates the perfect habitat for bacteria growth that decompose sugars and carbohydrates into acidic matter that sticks to teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease.

As tooth decay progresses, the health of the teeth and gums is compromised, and patients require dental treatment on the affected area. Sometimes, an orthodontist might need to remove the braces from a patient, clearing space for a dental corrective procedure.

Here we briefly list some essential tips you can adapt to your hygiene routine with braces:


We strongly recommend patients brush their teeth after meals, focusing on the brackets, nooks, and crannies and brushing over these areas to remove identified food particles.

During treatment with braces, the specialist recommends spending at least an extra minute on each mouth quadrant. A mouth quadrant is the half part of the upper jaw, known as the maxilla, and the lower jaw, the mandible.


A perfect flossing routine for braces patients includes the use of interdental brushes. Ask your dentist about the size needed according to your interdental space.

You might also complement these parts of the routine using a water irrigator that splashes pressurized water, helping you unclog areas where debris and food particles get stuck.


Aside from mechanically removing food particles by brushing and flossing, we must also take care of bacteria proliferation. An antiseptic mouthwash designed for braces users is an excellent choice to minimize bacterial colonies in the mouth.

Dental Checkups

Part of a good oral hygiene routine and a dental care program is visiting a dentist for a dental checkup and cleanings at least twice a year.

What Are Orthodontic Emergencies?

One of the few problems with wearing braces is the possibility of having an orthodontic emergency. Although these occurrences do not differ from any other accident, we can categorize them as true emergencies and minor orthodontic emergencies.

Major Emergencies

A true emergency is a situation that could be life-threatening or cause significant trauma, like a car accident. In a major orthodontic emergency, the only additional variable is that the patient wears braces, which worsens the consequences of the trauma.

For instance, an orthodontist recommends patients practicing contact sports like boxing, karate, or jiu-jitsu wear a protection device in the mouth to reduce the possibility of brackets hurting the lips and causing bleeding.

In any case, some traumas could be life-threatening, and other emergencies like accidentally swallowing a loose bracket. We recommend patients call 911 or seek help to get to an emergency room. Call Dr. Nima to schedule an orthodontic emergency appointment if you are conscious.

Minor Emergencies

You will definitely survive a minor emergency, and sometimes you can fix it on your own, at least temporarily, before visiting Dr. Nima. Here we list some of the most common minor emergencies:

Loose Brackets

Sometimes, a bracket might detach from a tooth, especially when a patient bites on a hard or crunchy meal.

Food Caught Between Teeth

There might be a situation where, even after hardly trying to get rid of a stuck food particle, you just can’t, and ignoring it is an impossible task.

Loose Wires or Bands

A loose wire might poke your cheeks. A poking wire is annoying, but you can get a quick fix. First, use a pair of tweezers to cut the wire, and apply wax on the pointy edge to minimize the possibility of hurting your cheek.

Mouth Sores And Ligatures Coming Off

Sometimes braces cause sores on the lips and cheeks. As well as in the previous case, you can use some wax to reduce the friction caused by the brackets.

In all cases, even after you have momentarily solved the emergency, call Dr. Nima to set up an emergency appointment.

Start the Journey to a Healthy and Beautifull Smile

We’ve discussed braces, from traditional braces to Invisalign clear aligners, and their numerous benefits, including costs and payment plans. This journey has been quite educational.

Now is the time to make it possible. The journey to a perfect smile starts here. Schedule a free initial consultation appointment or call (678) 338-8704. Dr. Nima and his friendly staff will ensure you receive personalized treatment for a healthy and beautiful smile for life.