With the growing number of orthodontic treatment options available today, patients can choose from several kinds of braces. Which type is best for you?
Traditional metal braces are the ones you automatically picture when someone says “braces.” Stainless steel brackets are cemented to your teeth and connected to archwires with colorful elastic rubber bands. Sturdy and reliable, these braces are capable of handling tooth and bite problems that other types of braces simply can’t.
Much like traditional braces, self-ligating braces use brackets cemented to the teeth and an archwire. However, instead of elastics, a specialized clip is used, resulting in less friction on the tooth. Many orthodontists use the Damon System of self-ligating braces, which offers both traditional metal and clear brackets.
Ceramic braces use brackets made of clear ceramic instead of metal. Also known as clear braces, these braces are less noticeable than their metal counterparts. They’re also more brittle, which means they aren’t appropriate in all situations.
Lingual braces are traditional braces placed on the back side of the teeth. While this is appealing for cosmetic reasons, it can be more difficult for you to keep your teeth clean and for your orthodontist to make adjustments. You may also notice issues with your speech.
Clear aligners replace traditional brackets and archwires with a series of computer generated acrylic trays. Each tray is worn for a few weeks at a time. Although the technology is improving, clear aligners can’t treat all orthodontic problems, and they usually require longer treatment times. But they have one definite advantage: unlike all the other types of braces, clear aligner trays are removable. Patients aren’t restricted from sticky or hard foods and can floss easily. Practically invisible, they’re appealing if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing braces. Invisalign, a well-known brand of clear aligners, is available for teens and adults.
Finding your best type of braces involves considering your orthodontic needs and your preferences regarding appearance. Complex orthodontic problems may require traditional metal or self-ligating braces, but patients with simpler issues will likely have the option of selecting more discreet styles like ceramic braces or clear aligners. If you’re interested in getting braces, make an appointment with an orthodontist. They can determine your specific needs, answer your questions and help you choose your best type of braces. Many even offer free initial consultations.