Types of Braces

The days of heavy-duty metal braces and headgear are long gone. Advancements in dentistry and orthodontics have resulted in many new types of braces for kids and adults. When it comes to modern orthodontics, you have a wide variety of options— some so advanced that no one may ever know you are wearing braces at all.

Traditional (Metal) Braces

When you think of braces, the first thing that likely comes to mind is metal brackets and wires tightly adhered to the teeth, or a “mouth full of metal.” Today’s traditional braces are far less invasive or obvious. Many are smaller and incorporate heat-activated arch wires that use the body’s heat to expedite results and reduce associated pain.

Pros
  • Most cost effective
  • Colored bands available
Cons
  • Most noticeable form of braces

Ceramic (Clear) Braces

Ceramic brace were once known as clear braces. They are the same size and shape as traditional braces, but the brackets mimic the color of the teeth or are clear. Your orthodontist may even give you the option of clear wires to further reduce the visual evidence of the braces.

Pros
  • Less visually evident compared to metal braces
  • Proven to produce results faster than plastic aligners, such as Invisalign
Cons
  • Greater expense compared to metal braces
  • Brackets may stain easily
  • Greater care required to maintain “clear” appearance

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are the least common form of braces. These braces look and feel exactly like traditional metal braces; however, they are placed on the inside of the teeth (the area facing the tongue.)

Pros
  • Completely invisible from exterior observation
Cons
  • Difficult to clean
  • Expensive
  • Cannot treat severe cases
  • Greater initial discomfort
  • Routine adjustments are difficult and make for lengthy appointments

Invisalign

The newest form of braces is rapidly become the most popular, especially among the adult population. Invisalign braces are a series of 18 to 30 tailor-made, clear, plastic teeth aligners that resemble a mouth guard. Every two weeks, the aligners are removed and replaced to progress toward results.

Pros
  • Visually invisible
  • No restrictions of food and beverage intake
Cons
  • Not suitable for all orthodontics cases
  • Not braces for kids, only available for adults and teens
  • Among most expensive options
  • May be easily lost
  • Replacements are costly
  • Achievement of results may take longer than with traditional braces
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Dr. Frank Pettinato II
  • Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
  • Masters in Science Degree
  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry