Types of Braces

August 14, 2014

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Metal braces

The most inexpensive type of braces for adults are the traditional, stainless-steel versions. Obviously, the drawback to wearing these is how visible they are. Metal braces hold a thin wire held in place with rubber bands to put pressure on the teeth and move them to the desired place.

Metal braces can irritate gums and cheeks at first. Once you have them on, you have to watch what you eat, avoiding things that can stick to the braces, such as caramel or gum. You also have to avoid eating hard food, which can move or dislodge the braces.

Ceramic braces


Ceramic braces cost more than stainless-steel versions because they blend in with the teeth and aren’t as visible. Also, you can choose between clear elastic ties or white metal ties to hold the braces in place.

Though the braces themselves won’t stain, the ties will easily, especially if you consume items that typically stain teeth, such as coffee. Your orthodontist will swap out the ties every time he or she adjusts the braces, which is usually every month.

Ceramic braces are more sensitive and can easily break or chip, so they require more maintenance and more time to install than metal braces, which increases the treatment time and cost.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are customized to bond and hide behind the teeth to remain invisible, but they cost more than metal or ceramic braces because the process is more complicated. They require a skillful orthodontist to install them, and not every orthodontist knows how to do it.

Also, lingual braces don’t work well on small teeth and get in the way of the tongue, potentially causing speech problems and injuries, so you have to learn and practice speaking with them on.

Invisible braces

Invisalign® braces can be a good option for those with relatively minor alignment problems. They are practically invisible, and can be removed for eating and brushing the teeth. These braces are computer-designed and must be changed every two weeks, since they are made of clear plastic and cannot be adjusted. On the downside, they tend to be rather expensive and not every dentist is trained to use them.

Instead of brackets mounted to the teeth, these braces are custom-fitted aligners (rubber trays) that you wear except when eating or brushing your teeth. The process involves using different aligners every two weeks to move the teeth gradually to the desired place.

These types of braces can be uncomfortable at first as the tray begins to put pressure on the teeth and you get used to them. You must also be disciplined because the success of these braces depends on you wearing the trays no less than 20 hours a day.

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