What types of braces are best for me?

What types of braces are best for me?
Posted on 08/01/2022
Teeth with braces on them

Learn which treatment is right for you when searching for braces in Houston

If you are in the process of starting orthodontic treatment and are in doubt about which treatment is right for you, read ahead and learn if the traditional form is the best way to go, or if should you use the latest form with clear aligners. Orthodontists use several types of braces to correct bite irregularities and tooth alignment, but how do you know what types of braces are best for you?

The following provides details for each type with the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment. This will guide you in deciding which one is right for you.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the traditional form of braces and are the most common type that patients use. They are made of high-grade stainless steel and consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth with wires that are passed through openings in the brackets. Tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” keep the wires in the brackets.

Advantages of Metal Braces

  • Today’s metal braces are smaller than originally created, making them more comfortable and attractive.
  • Metal braces can be more effective when it comes to treating overcrowding of the teeth, and in some cases can be less expensive than other forms.
  • Metal braces give your orthodontist more control to move the teeth, reducing your overall treatment time.
  • Children enjoy this form of braces as nowadays they can interchange the ligatures (tiny rubber bands) in different colors, making them more fun to use.

Disadvantages of Metal Braces

  • A disadvantage of metal braces is that these tend to create friction inside the lips causing discomfort to patients.
  • Metal braces are less attractive with their metal-mouth appearance when smiling.
  • Metal braces limit the consumption of certain foods as some foods can get stuck in your braces. Also, hard or crunchy foods can damage your braces.
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth becomes more challenging to reach certain parts inside your mouth.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces but are made of a clear ceramic material vs the metal form. They are comprised of ceramic or porcelain brackets with wires that run through slots in these brackets held with ligatures (tiny rubber bands).

Advantages of Ceramic Braces

  • Ceramic braces add a gentler force when moving the teeth and reduce friction inside the lips.
  • Ceramic braces are clear, which makes them more attractive as it diminishes the metal-mouth appearance when smiling.
  • Ceramic braces are a good alternative to the traditional form given their cosmetic appeal.

Disadvantages of Ceramic Braces

  • One drawback of ceramic brackets is that they are more fragile than their metal counterpart.
  • The elastic ties that hold the brackets can discolor between orthodontic visits giving them a yellowish appearance over time. However, the office of Dr. Mauricio Arguello at Houston Orthodontics uses self-ligating braces that don’t discolor during treatment.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces come in the form of metal or ceramic braces. The difference between self-ligating and traditional braces is that these use a sliding door technique known as “self-ligation” vs the elastic bands used with the traditional metal or ceramic braces.

Advantages of Self-Ligating Braces

  • Self-ligating braces allow the wire that crosses through the brackets to slide back and forth without elastic or steel ties. The wires are held to the brackets with built-in clips vs ligatures (rubber bands).
  • The self-ligating treatment creates less friction providing greater comfort for the patient.
  • In addition, self-ligating braces often reduce both treatment time and the number of adjustments that are usually performed when using braces.

Disadvantages of Self-Ligating Braces

  • Self-ligating metal braces are generally made of stainless steel which gives the same appearance as the traditional metal braces when you smile.
  • Self-ligating metal braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating.
  • Self-ligating ceramic braces are clear but are still held with a metal wire. If you want to “hide” your braces, the ceramic form can only hide them partially.

Clear Aligners

Aligners are a series of clear, thin, plastic-like overlay templates that are generated by computer simulation to fit the patient’s teeth thus gradually moving them.

Advantages of Clear Aligners

  • Clear aligners are practically invisible, making them attractive when smiling.
  • Each aligner is worn for 2-3 weeks and moves teeth a fraction of a millimeter at a time, reducing your visits to the orthodontist.
  • Clear aligners are more self-managed as patients are responsible for replacing the aligners in due time.

Disadvantages of Clear Aligners

  • Clear aligners need to be removed for meals. This can cause discomfort when eating out.
  • Because aligners need to be removed for meals, they tend to be lost if not kept in a safe place. Many patients tend to wrap them in a napkin and later throw them away by mistake. Losing a set of aligners can set back your treatment time.
  • Clear aligners tend to be more costly than other forms of braces.

Need help choosing the right braces?

Upon reviewing the benefits and drawbacks of each type of braces, you should now have a good understanding of which suits you best.

If you prefer to limit your visits to the orthodontist, perhaps a more self-managed treatment will benefit you best. In this case, clear aligners could be the right treatment for you. On the other hand, if you think you may lose or misplace your aligners, you should consider a treatment that is entirely managed by your orthodontist. Losing a set of aligners can be very costly to replace and can prolong your treatment. A good and well-establish orthodontist will provide a thorough evaluation during your first visit and guide you in choosing which treatment is best for you.

Searching for orthodontists in Houston?

If you are in the Houston area and are in search of braces in Houston, Dr. Mauricio Arguello at Houston Orthodontics will guide you in selecting the right type of braces that best suits you. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Arguello will start your treatment with little wait time by creating dental molds in-office with the use of a 3-D printer vs sending impressions to a lab that delays your treatment. If selecting a more traditional method, you may start your treatment of braces on the same day of your first visit.

Dr. Arguello is an orthodontist that installs braces in Houston with 5-star reviews from his patients. Call our office at 713-664-6611 to schedule an appointment or visit our website at bracesinhouston.com to learn more about our services.