According to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, over four million people in the U.S. receive orthodontic treatment. Some wear braces to improve their bite, straighten crooked teeth, prevent gum erosion, and close teeth gaps. Whatever the reasons are, these patients wear braces for one purpose: to get a head-turning smile.
Braces serve as dental tools to improve teeth alignment and dental health. While people associate braces among kids and teenagers, adults can wear them too. Wearing braces can take as long as several months to years. It can be painful at first, but the results will definitely be worth it.
Many teenagers have dreaded the thought of wearing braces. Some require wearing orthodontic headgear for severe cases. However, thanks to orthodontic technology, different treatment options are now available to make wearing braces an aesthetically pleasing and hassle-free experience.
From invisible braces to gold-plated braces, this guide will show you the different types of dental braces.
1. Traditional Metal Braces
This type of braces is what most people think of when they hear the word “braces.” Also known as metal braces, traditional braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment.
Before, people associate traditional braces with ‘metal-mouth’ braces because of their notoriously large wires that are seemingly noticeable from afar. As the years progressed, modern braces become lighter and less noticeable.
Aside from their effectiveness, metal braces are the least expensive treatment option. They include metal brackets, wires, and customizable elastic ties for an added pop of color. Orthodontic patients are also likely to wear retainers after the braces.
2. Ceramic Braces
These share a few similar qualities to traditional braces in terms of size and shape. What sets them apart is the material. As the name goes, ceramic braces contain ceramic material that blends itself with the teeth’s natural color, making it less noticeable.
If wearing metal braces makes you feel self-conscious, ceramic braces are a great alternative. They are also just as effective as traditional braces by achieving the desired teeth alignment.
Despite their advantages, ceramic braces come with a higher price and a few drawbacks. Ceramic braces are typically more expensive than metal braces. They are also difficult to maintain because they get stained easily without proper care.
3. Lingual Braces
These are like traditional metal braces, except they are invisible from the outside. These braces use metal brackets and wires, but you wear them on the inside. An obvious advantage of lingual braces is that they are invisible since they hide behind the teeth.
While lingual braces work for patients with cosmetic concerns regarding braces, they also have their disadvantages. Aside from their price, lingual braces are less effective than metal braces. They are not advisable for those who have severe cases. They also take longer before you achieve the desired teeth alignment.
Second, patients may feel slight discomfort because the metal brackets are in close contact with the tongue. They are also difficult to clean than the metal braces.
4. Self-ligating Braces
These typically look similar to metal braces. But instead of elastic bands, these braces use specialized clips to hold the wire in place, reducing friction and force between your braces and teeth.
This type of braces is as effective as metal braces, but teeth movement is faster and requires fewer adjustments. They are also easier to clean and offer better control over the ortho appliance, resulting in better teeth alignment. However, self-ligating braces are expensive and very noticeable from the outside.
5. Clear Aligners
Also known as Invisalign or invisible braces, clear aligners are a special kind of braces that doesn’t involve brackets and wires. They come in invisible trays that look like mouthguards. Clear aligners use custom-made clear plastic aligners that you wear over the teeth.
This type of braces is for patients who prefer a less visible orthodontic treatment. They are also removable and replaceable as you progress throughout the treatment period. On average, a patient wears 18 to 30 different aligners before achieving the desired result.
Another advantage of clear aligners is that patients have greater freedom to eat and drink whatever they want. However, clear aligners such as Invisalign can be expensive. They are advisable only to those who have minor dental problems.
Whatever type of braces you prefer, what is important is to get the best treatment that fits your dental needs. Wearing braces also means that you have to pay extra attention to your oral hygiene. With the proper dental care routine, you are taking one step closer to getting that dream smile.