When you think of braces, the first thing that probably pops into your head is traditional metal braces with wires and rubber bands. There’s a good reason for this, because metal braces are by far the most common type of orthodontic brace, and a very effective option. But there is actually a range of other different types of braces that orthodontists may recommend or you may prefer in certain situations.
To help you learn more and make an informed and confident decision for you or your child’s orthodontic needs, we’re sharing the following informative guide. Our goal is to help everyone who comes to us achieve a happier and healthier smile.
Why There Are Different Types of Braces
Different options for braces are available for a number of different reasons. First, different materials that have been developed beyond metal can offer certain advantages, such as being more affordable or discreet. Another reason for different types of braces is the ability to remove the appliance or make it easier to clean or adjust.
To determine which type of braces may be best for a patient, the orthodontist will take impressions and X-rays and perform a full evaluation. They will also ask the patient what their goals and lifestyle needs are. Patients may prioritize factors like affordability, length of treatment, and visibility when making a decision on which type of braces to choose.
The 5 Most Common Types of Braces that Orthodontists Use
Not all orthodontists offer all of these types of braces, but these are the most common categories that are available.
1. Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces our orthodontists recommend at AC Orthodontics. Metal braces are a fixed device usually made of high-grade stainless steel. They are made of metal bands wrapped around the rear molars, and metal brackets that are adhered to the front of the other teeth. A thin metal wire called an archwire runs through the brackets to slowly pull the teeth into alignment. The wire is usually attached to the brackets by rubber bands or other fasteners.
Metal braces are a reliable, effective, and generally affordable option. Compared to appliances of the past, modern braces are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable.
2. Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces are a newer alternative to metal braces that provide a more discreet appearance. They use the same parts as traditional braces, but the brackets on the front side of the teeth are constructed from a clear ceramic material that blends with the tooth’s natural color. This system has become a favorite for adults, including celebrities, because they are so much harder to notice
Several types of ceramic braces are currently available and the technology continues to improve. Trade-offs include the ceramic brackets being less durable than metal, and the elastic bands that attach to the archwire can potentially stain. Ceramic braces generally cost more than metal, but many people choose the trade-off.
3. Invisalign® or Clear Aligners
Also known as clear aligners, Invisalign® uses a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. The goal of this treatment is to straighten teeth without wires and brackets while being virtually invisible. Invisalign clear aligners are designed to move the teeth in small steps to the desired final position prescribed by the orthodontist.
Each aligner is precisely calibrated and manufactured to fit each stage of the treatment plan. Invisalign is not recommended for more advanced misalignments, but it can be ideal for teenage or adult patients looking to fix a minor issue and prefer a more discreet orthodontic treatment.
4. Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are specialized types of braces and are not commonly used. These braces are placed on the back of the teeth, giving them the same advantages as standard metal braces, while being less visible. Applying and maintaining lingual braces requires specialized training, equipment, and techniques.
Downsides can include speech issues and irritation of the tongue in some cases, but some patients still opt for lingual braces because of the combination of invisibility and effectiveness.
5. Self-Ligating Braces
Self-ligating braces are actually a specialized type of standard orthodontic brace that can come in both metal and ceramic. The primary difference is that instead of using rubber bands to fasten the archwire to the brackets, self-ligating braces are made with easier-to-use doors or clips. This makes the adjustment time shorter and the adjustment process easier, which can result in quicker appointments.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Going to the dentist or orthodontist can be scary — we get it. But it can and should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!