If you have crooked or uneven teeth, orthodontic braces are the ideal solution for correcting your bite and smile. Most people think that these dental appliances can only be used to realign teeth during childhood, but that isn’t really the case. Modern dental solutions include various types of braces used in orthodontic treatment for adults as well.
Choosing the right type isn’t very complicated either. When you visit your orthodontist for a checkup, he or she can recommend braces that suit your alignment needs, convenience and requirements. While the primary consideration is how effectively they realign your teeth, certain appliances are also designed to be less noticeable than others.
5 Popular Types of Braces and How They Work
Here are the 5 most common types of braces used in orthodontic treatment:
1. Traditional/Metal Braces – These orthodontic braces are composed of two basic high-grade stainless steel parts. The first is a metal bracket that lies against the tooth, and the second is a flexible metal wire threaded through the brace brackets to apply continuous but gentle force to the tooth.
The pressure applied to teeth by these braces moves them back into place over time, and they often take the least amount of time to realign teeth. Heat-activated archwires also cause less pain, and kids or teens can personalize their braces with different colors of elastic bands.
Metal braces are quite inexpensive, and newer designs are far smaller and less noticeable than older versions.
2. Ceramic Braces – In the past, ceramic braces used to be popular among dental patients because they were less noticeable than metal braces. While these braces are the same size and shape as traditional braces, their brackets are made of a ceramic material that can be colored to match existing teeth.
Archwires can be colored to match the natural tooth as well, and clear ceramic used instead of colored material. Ceramic also mimics the texture of natural teeth, and this brace type is still used by some orthodontists for patients who want nearly-invisible braces that are still effective.
Ceramic braces work faster than clear plastic braces, but are usually more expensive than metal braces.
3. Lingual Braces – These are almost the same as traditional braces, but installed on the inside of the bite rather than the outside. Since they are not applied to the outer surface of teeth, they are almost invisible from outside the mouth. Even when you open your mouth, the wires/brackets will be less noticeable.
Lingual braces work almost as well as metal and ceramic braces, but they are generally unsuitable for severe orthodontic issues and require more upkeep. They are quite difficult to clean since they’re placed on the inside of teeth, and could make normal speech harder to manage than other types of braces.
Since they’re more expensive than metal braces and may take longer to show results, lingual braces are rarely used today.
4. Self-Ligating Braces – These braces are also designed with a bracket-and-wire system, which makes them very similar to both traditional and ceramic orthodontic appliances. The difference is that they use a slide mechanism with doors or clips to hold the archwires of the braces in place, rather than rubber bands.
As opposed to the rubber band tie system, clips and doors may be less painful to use as well as easier to clean since they trap less food. Self-ligating braces may require fewer trips to the orthodontist for adjustment than other types of braces, and reduce the time required for treatment.
Self-ligating braces are available in both metal and ceramic, but they may not be suitable for every patient.
5. Clear & Removable Aligners – Clear aligners have become a popular choice for orthodontic treatment, with custom-fitted appliances that look like mouth guards. These devices are practically invisible and can be removed while cleaning your teeth, before a meeting, etc.
Clear and removable aligners are not ideal for every dental patient, though. In addition to being unsuitable for serious orthodontic problems, they are usually more expensive than other types of braces. Still, they offer a flexible and convenient option for simple realignment as well as ongoing correction.
You can use clear aligners on an ongoing basis, to maintain the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment.
When you’re considering which types of braces to get, consult an orthodontist for suggestions based on the severity of your problem as well as your lifestyle, diet and other factors.
Emily found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily that she solves by researching and writing about. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and beautiful smile - whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!