You’ve decided that you want to fix your smile and you’re ready to go for it – congratulations! You may know that there are a lot more options these days when it comes to straightening your teeth than the traditional metal braces, but you’re not sure what they are. Well, we’re here to help. Here are common types of systems to straighten teeth.
Traditional Metal Braces
These are the braces you think of when you think of “braces.” Individual metal brackets are bonded to each tooth and a metal wire connects them to provide the force necessary to move them. Traditional braces are still very popular and are able to address a wide range of issues.
Clear Ceramic Braces
Like traditional metal braces, these are also comprised of brackets individually bonded to each tooth and a wire connecting them. The main difference here is that the brackets are clear, so they are much more discreet than the metal version.
Lingual braces are a twist on traditional braces. Instead of being on the front side of the teeth, they are bonded to the lingual, or tongue, side of the teeth. These are even more discreet than ceramic braces, making them a popular choice with adults.
The three types of braces listed above all rely on little rubber bands, called elastic ligatures, around each bracket to keep the wire in the bracket. Self-ligating braces don’t use these elastics, instead using a slide mechanism to keep the wire in place. Some trademark names of this type of braces include Damon and In-Ovation.
Invisalign is probably the most famous brand of clear aligners out there. Unlike all the types of braces listed above, which are bonded to the teeth until removed by the orthodontist, these are a series of clear plastic aligners that are removable. Each set of aligners (top and bottom) are typically worn for two weeks before switching to the next set. The main selling point here is how discreet they are; no “metal mouth” in sight. However, because they are removable, they require a high level of commitment in order to work. Aligners need to be worn a minimum of 22 hours every day, and taken out only for eating, drinking, and brushing and flossing teeth.
Which Braces Are Right for You?
After reading the descriptions above and learning about different types of braces, you may have a favorite. But don’t get too attached just yet. Not all braces are appropriate for every issue, and while your heart may be set on clear aligners, you may only get the results you want with more traditional braces. Or braces may not be right for you at all – perhaps another orthodontic appliance is better suited for the job. This is something to discuss with your orthodontist, who knows the strengths and limitations of each treatment type, as well as what you’re trying to achieve with your smile. Just know you have options when it comes to getting the smile you’ve been dreaming of.