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Types of dental braces

There are 5 main types of brace’s available today:

  1. Metal Brace’s
  2. Ceramic Brace’s
  3. Self-ligating Brace’s
  4. Lingual Brace’s
  5. Clear aligners like Invisalign

Metal braces

Metal or traditional braces are the most common type of braces worldwide and have been around for over 100 years now. In the past, brace’s were very bulky and noticeable. Luckily, brace’s today are nothing like what they were 100 years ago. Advances in innovation and technology have made braces:

  • Smaller
  • Faster
  • More Comfortable
  • More Effective

Metal Brace’s are most popular among children and adolescent patients. They work by applying the braces to the teeth and connecting them with a wire. To move the teeth, the orthodontist makes adjustments to the wire at your appointments every 4-8 weeks.

Unlike clear aligners like Invisalign which are removable, some parents and patients love metal braces’ because they do not need to remind their children to wear them. However, metal brace’s require care and attention, and good oral hygiene is a must throughout treatment.


Ceramic Braces

Ceramic brace’s are brace’s made of clear, tooth-colored material. They work in the same way as metal braces but are more discreet and less visible. Ceramic braces are most popular among patients who do not think Invisalign or lingual braces are right for them, but who still want to straighten their teeth in a discreet and affordable way. These patients tend to be esthetically driven adolescents and adults.

Compared to metal braces, ceramic brace’s are less noticeable and present an affordable alternative to metal braces. You should know, however, that these braces are also slightly larger than metal braces and can stain depending on diet and brushing habits. They are not for everybody, but we believe they remain a valuable tool in our orthodontic tool-bag.

Self-ligating Brace

Self-ligating brace’s work similarly to metal and ceramic braces and are available in metal or clear/ceramic material. They too rely on Brace’s and a wire to move the teeth. The difference between self-ligating braces compared to metal or ceramic brace’s is that self-ligating braces use doors or clips to hold the wire in place, rather than elastic rubber ties.

We have found that self-ligating brace’s result in mildly shorter appointment times because of how easy they are to adjust. They are therefore a good choice for:

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces behind the teeth are the most specialized and least common orthodontic system on the market. This is because they require a different set of orthodontic skills that few orthodontists take the time to hone. Lingual brace’s behind the teeth are not taught during orthodontic training, and it is therefore up to the orthodontist to learn to become proficient with them.

We believe that lingual Braces behind the teeth should be presented as an option to all eligible patients because they provide advantages that no other type of brace’s offer. These include complete invisibility, full customization to your specific teeth, as well as better efficiency and versatility in select patients.

Lingual Brace’s behind the teeth are especially well-suited for adults who do not want noticeable brace’s but also have complex orthodontic needs. We have also seen an increase in the popularity of braces behind the teeth among esthetically conscious adolescents.

While lingual brace’s offer many advantages, there are some things you should know before taking the leap! Because lingual brace’s are behind the teeth, some patients experience slight changes to their speech (lisps are common) and irritation to their tongue. These symptoms usually present shortly after the braces are applied and usually go away several weeks later as your mouth becomes accustomed to the new appliances.

There are many types of lingual braces, including but not limited to:

  • Incognito nanobraces by 3M
  • Suresmile by Dentsply
  • Harmony by American Orthodontics
  • Alias by Ormco
  • Lingual Liberty

Invisalign And Clear Aligners

Clear aligners have seen a surge in popularity in the last decade. They were popularized by Invisalign in the early 2000s, which slowly became the largest brand of aligners. In a way, they are what “Kleenex” is to facial tissues or “BandAid” to bandages.

It is clear why clear aligners and Invisalign are so popular right now:

  • Clear and transparent
  • Removable
  • Allow for easier brushing and flossing
  • Faster than brace’s for some limited treatments
  • Require fewer appointments in some cases
  • Shorter appointments are sometimes possible

Invisalign is great for patients who had Brace’s when they were younger and just need a “touch up,” as well as for patients who have mild to moderate dental problems like misaligned teeth, large overbite, no jaw alignment problems, and who have gaps in their front teeth (open bite). But any clear aligner system including Invisalign has significant limitations compared to braces when addressing difficult problems or comprehensive treatments.

For more complex problems, a lingual Brace’s behind the teeth or a combination of Invisalign and lingual braces can offer a unique and esthetic treatment solution. We can provide you with more personalized information at your free initial examination.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional Brace’s involve brackets and wires, usually made out of metal, which is attached to the teeth and allow their positioning to be altered as required.

Heat-activated archwires are a relatively new addition to traditional braces. These utilize body heat in the mouth to allow the teeth to move them more quickly and with less discomfort than was previously possible.

This type of brace’s is typically the least expensive option while being very effective, and is one of the most common types of brace’s in use today. However, they are the most noticeable type and some people may feel self-conscious about their appearance. It is possible to improve their appearance somewhat by using different colored bands over the Braces to make them look more attractive, although they are still obvious.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic brace’s are very similar to the traditional metal Brace’s in size and shape, but they are constructed of a ceramic material that blends into the natural color of the teeth so that the braces are less noticeable.

This type is just as effective as traditional Brace’s” at achieving the movement of teeth into desired positions, but are much less noticeable due to their color, which makes them a more favorable alternative for some individuals. However, they are typically more expensive than traditional braces and may become stained if they are not properly cared for.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces in that they are made out of metal, but they are attached to the inside of the teeth so that they cannot be easily seen from the outside.

This type has the obvious advantage of not being visible to other people because they are hidden behind the teeth. However, they are less effective than traditional braces and often take longer to achieve desired tooth alignment. they may also be uncomfortable for the patient as they come into direct contact with the tongue. Finally, they tend to be more difficult to clean.


Invisalign is the most distinct type of Brace’s because they do not involve brackets and wires but instead utilize a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that are worn over the teeth. These aligners are easy to remove and replace with the next one in the series every two weeks throughout the treatment period. Most individuals require between 18 and 30 different aligners to achieve the desired result.

This type of brace’s is preferable for many patients because they are almost invisible and allow greater freedom to eat and drink anything. However, they are considerably more expensive and can only be used to correct minor to moderate dental problems in teenagers and adults.

Self-Ligating braces

Self-ligating Braces are very similar in appearance to traditional metal brace’s, but utilize clips rather than elastic band’s to hold the wire of the brace in place. As a result, there is less friction on the braces and it is usually easier for the individual to keep the brace’s and teeth clean.

This type of Brace’s has similar efficacy to traditional metal Brace’s and may increase control over the appliance, leading to more precise tooth alignment. However, they are often more expensive and are still visible from the outside.

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