Types of Braces

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You know that there are different types of braces you can get, but are you familiar with the differences, as well as the main advantages and disadvantages of each type? If you are not sure about which kind of braces to get, this article was written for you.

When you think of braces, you might either be thinking of traditional metal braces, or of the clear aligners, including Invisalign aligners and Smile Direct Club aligners that have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, and for very good reason. Most likely, you are less familiar with ceramic braces, self-ligating braces and lingual braces. However, it is important to know what the different options are when it comes to choosing the right pair of braces for you.

Why choosing the right type of braces is so important

Orthodontic treatment such as teeth straightening is one of the best investments you can make in yourself.

Misaligned teeth are not only an eyesore, they can also be problematic for your health, causing all sorts of oral and other health issues including tooth infections, mouth abrasions and jaw pain. Health problems caused by misaligned or crowded teeth only get worse if left untreated, so investing in the right orthodontic treatments can spare you from both unnecessary pain and greater medical expenses in the long run. In other words, wearing braces to straighten your teeth is more than a cosmetic treatment – braces help prevent mild to moderate dental problems, as well as other health problems that can arise as a consequence of having crooked teeth.

Wearing braces is the only way to straighten teeth, but there are many different options out there for those who do not want to spend six months wearing metal braces.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional braces have been in use for over 100 years and are still among the most common types of braces today. Of course, traditional braces have seen a lot of innovation and improvement since they first became available. For example, metal braces today are much less bulky than they used to be.

Metal braces consist of metal brackets crafted from high grade stainless steel and connected by a metal wire. This metal wire is tied to the braces using elastic ties (These often come in bright colors that appeal to the children and adolescents who are the main target audience for metal braces).

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces, the main difference being that they are made of ceramic instead of metal.

Ceramic braces are more discreet than metal braces, which have made them a popular choice for adults – at least this has been the case until clear braces entered the marketplace and made a splash.

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces work very similarly to both metal and ceramic braces. The only real difference is that self-ligating braces are held in place by clips, rather than by elastic bands.

What makes self-ligating aligners an appealing choice of braces is that they are very easy for the dentist to adjust, so the appointments required are typically very brief.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are metal braces that are placed on the back of the teeth, rather than on the front. Their appeal is obvious, as lingual braces allow you to achieve a straighter smile discreetly.

The downside to lingual braces is that not many orthodontists are able to do them, as they require highly specialised skills. This also means that they tend to be a rather costly solution.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners, also called invisible braces, have exploded in popularity over the past few years. One of the main reasons for this is that they are virtually invisible, and that you can, in some cases, get away with only wearing them at night.

Clear plastic aligners are a good choice for oral hygiene, since you are able to remove them completely while brushing your teeth.

Another pro of choosing invisible braces is that, depending on which clear aligner company you elect to go with, your clear aligners will be sent directly to your home address – meaning that you won’t have to spend much or any time in the dentist’s chair getting your braces adjusted.

Yet another reason to choose clear aligners is that they are one of the most affordable teeth straightening solutions.

Types of braces Q & A

We have gone over the different types of braces that are available to those wanting to achieve a straighter, healthier smile. Still, you might find yourself with a few questions on your mind. You might find them answered here.

What is the cheapest type of braces?

The cheapest type of braces is clear aligners. Of course, the cost of your teeth straightening plan is going to depend on how much straightening your teeth require, as well as on which braces company you decide to go with, and whether or not you have insurance that will cover the cost of your treatment in part or in full.

Most clear aligner companies offer tailor-made mail-order braces that are sent directly to your door.

Traditional braces vs clear aligners – which type of braces are best?

Traditional braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces, clear aligners – with so many different options to choose from, how do you pick the best option for you?

The type or braces you should pick depends on your individual needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • How crooked are your teeth (How much adjustment is required)?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you need to be able to straighten your teeth discreetly, without anyone knowing?

In most cases, choosing clear aligners is going to be the best choice. Not only can you get clear aligners on almost any budget (And many clear aligner companies accept dental insurance, making your invisible braces even more affordable), invisible braces is also the best option for adult professionals who would like to straighten their teeth discreetly.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.

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