There are many different types of braces and while individuals may be more familiar with one or two, very few knew that there are five and sometimes, depending on the way they are subcategorized, more types of braces available. The different types of braces will largely depend on what is best for you, your needs, and in consultation with your orthodontic office.
You probably know some things about dental braces, the types of braces, the types of brackets, the different types of braces between orthodontic braces liketraditional braces known as metal braces. Having a bit of knowledge about the types of braces and even the different bracket types can all help you to know which braces types will be the best braces for you.
Some types work faster; others have greater accessibility, while others are more affordable or possibly more aesthetically pleasing. Ultimately, this is a balance between what is in your best interests which fundamentally is something only you can decide. Whether you put price first, aesthetics first, speed first, or a combination of the above, it’s up to you. Let’s take a look at the five major different types of braces and what they can do for you.
Different types of braces – Invisalign:
The experts are quite clear on their position when it comes to Invisalign. Patients who can choose Invisalign tend to prefer Invisalign over conventional brackets ( Ke, Y et al., 2019).
Clear aligners have an advantage over fixed braces in segmented movement of teeth (Ke, Y et al., 2019). This is because they are thin, light weight, and almost completely invisible to anyone else.
And while some experts believe that Invisalign may not be able to solve everything, the effectiveness of clear aligners is still controversial (Ke, Y et al., 2019). What is not in debate is their overall popularity and with good reason. Fundamentally, Invisalign is so popular because of its affordability and its improved aesthetics.
Invisalign is not braces in the traditional sense as it does not mount permanently to the teeth but is instead a clear plastic aligner that sometimes goes by the name clear braces. Regardless of what it’s called, Invisalign is a customized orthodontic treatment designed to clip over your teeth and help pull them into the correct positions.
Invisalign has a high level of aesthetic beauty since it is clear plastic. It is nearly invisible and with a fairly modest price point around $4,000, affordable, too. However, one of the drawbacks is that it will often take longer to fix an orthodontic problem using the Invisalign treatment versus more conventional braces methods. Another minor drawback for some individuals is that Invisalign may not be able to treat severe orthodontic problems in the way that traditional metal braces or other types could. However, if your orthodontic issues are moderate and if aesthetics is your biggest priority over speed, then this can be a great pick.
Traditional braces – metal
Traditional metal braces as the name suggests are very traditional. They are the quintessential braces that almost everybody thinks of when they think about orthodontic work. Traditional metal braces are attached to the front of the teeth and utilize metal brackets and oftentimes a metal wire to help pull the teeth into place. The major benefits of course are speed since it is always attached. It is one of the fastest methods of getting orthodontic treatment, and with new advances in metal technologies such as memory metals that utilize the heat from the mouth to help keep the wire taught, treatment times for traditional braces have actually gone down in recent years.
While they are quite affordable, running in the low thousands, their major drawback is obvious for most adults and that is they have the lowest aesthetic benefits of all the types of braces. If, however, speed and price are your primary factors then traditional metal braces could be a great pick. They are also durable and so are very popular for children.
Orthodontic braces – ceramic braces
Ceramic braces are nearly identical to traditional metal braces except in one key way – instead of utilizing metal brackets they use tooth colored ceramics. This helps to significantly increase the aesthetic quality of the braces while not decreasing its speed or functionality. These tooth colored ceramics come in three primary colors – white, porcelain, and ivory. With these three main colors, the vast majority of teeth shades are covered. Because of that, it’s significantly higher in the aesthetics department compared to traditional metal braces.
While they work nearly as fast as metal braces, they do cost slightly more, usually running about $1,000 more expensive than traditional metal braces on average. However, if aesthetics and price are your concerns, then this is a good way to split the difference.
Types of braces – lingual braces
Lingual braces are by far the most aesthetically pleasing of all the types available and even have a higher aesthetics level than things like Invisalign. While Invisalign is nearly invisible because it’s a clear plastic, lingual braces are truly invisible since they attach to the back of the teeth. Unless you yawn very wide, it will be impossible for anyone to know that you are getting orthodontic work done.
Types of brackets
Attaching to the back of the teeth gives lingual braces the speed of traditional metal braces and ceramic braces with the highest level of aesthetic beauty, leaving you with an unblocked and beautiful smile. However, this superior aesthetics level does come with a price tag to match. Because of the difficulty involved in installing braces to the back of teeth as opposed to the much more accessible front of the teeth, lingual braces often times take longer to install and cost significantly more, usually running about three times the price of traditional metal braces.
Bracket types – self ligating braces
Self-ligating braces can actually come in a few different forms such as traditional metal braces or self-ligating ceramic braces. Regardless, the major difference between these ones and their counterparts is that instead of utilizing bands on fixed brackets, they have a simple clip or hatch system designed to allow it to open and close on the brackets.
This has a major benefit of providing greater cleaning access than traditional brackets offer and since the system is a simple open and close clip it also means that time spent at the orthodontic office will be significantly reduced. Treatment times are often very swift since the easy access makes getting your treatment faster than ever before.
There are so many different types of braces to choose from, and making this choice is an important one that should be made with the assistance of your orthodontist. If you make this decision without the assistance of your orthodontist, you run the risk of potentially picking the wrong type for your particular situation or a less than optimal type for your scenario.
Although picking a suboptimal type of braces for your particular scenario does not necessarily mean that you won’t get proper treatment, what it means is that you may find that you are more uncomfortable during the course of your active phase of treatment than if you had chosen a different type of braces.
Also, when it comes to finances, you will find that some braces will be more suited to you if you’re looking for lower costs and if you don’t necessarily want to go on a long payment plan. Therefore, it is important that you and your orthodontist discuss what type of braces is best suited for your needs and in a holistic fashion so that once you pick your preferred type of braces, you can be confident that you doing the right thing for your teeth, your budget, and your overall health.
Ke, Y., Zhu, Y., & Zhu, M. (2019). A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. BMC oral health, 19(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z