A Primer on the Different Types of Braces
Most likely, when you picture having braces, you’re picturing metal braces as these are the traditional form of braces. More common than any other type of braces, these appliances are made from stainless steel and make use of a combination of archwires and metal braces to gently force your teeth into the desired position. With these kinds of braces, your orthodontist will give you the choice to add color to the small bands on the braces’ brackets.
You may have seen clear braces before and wondered if they might be a possibility for you. These types of braces are actually made of ceramic, which is what gives them their clear, more subtle appearance on your teeth. However, the benefits of less visually prominent ceramic braces don’t come without some drawbacks.
In fact, because ceramic braces are more delicate and larger than traditional braces, you’ll need to be more careful about oral hygiene. That’s why, for the most part, only adults and older teenagers will generally be fitted with ceramic braces.
Thanks to a special metal clip that helps the archwire move your teeth into the proper position, self-ligating braces do not require rubber bands. As a result, you don’t have to go to as many appointments because your orthodontist doesn’t have to worry about replacing the bands you would have with traditional metal braces. However, while these types of braces don’t require bands like traditional braces, and they may be made with ceramic, clear, or metal brackets, they are about the same size as traditional braces.
These braces are specially designed so that they will match the exact shape and alignment of your teeth. As you might imagine, because of the need for customization, these braces are generally more expensive than traditional or ceramic braces. However, because these types of braces are placed on the back of your teeth, the braces are completely hidden from view.
This feature makes lingual braces a great option if you’re someone whose profession relies on your appearance or the use of your mouth. For example, wind instrument players, actors, models, and professionals may benefit from the “invisibility” of lingual braces.
Unlike braces, clear aligners are a completely transparent and removable tray made of acrylic. These acrylic trays apply force on your teeth just like braces to bring them into alignment. And because they’re removable, even during treatment, you can drink and eat whatever you like.