What are the different types of braces available?

What are the different types of braces available?
Posted on 06/30/2022
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Learn which treatment of braces is right for you

Orthodontists provide several forms of treatments to correct bite problems and other malfunctions of the jaw, in addition to creating beautiful smiles. For this, orthodontists use several treatments to correct these irregularities. So, what are the different types of braces available and how do you know which one is right for you?

Following are the different types of braces with the pros and cons of each type.

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 making them rust-free when in contact with saliva. This form of braces consists 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.  

Today’s metal braces are smaller than originally created, making them more comfortable and attractive. 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. A disadvantage of metal braces is that these tend to create friction inside the lips causing discomfort to patients.  

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) adding a gentle force to move the teeth.

Ceramic braces are more popular with adult patients given their cosmetic appeal. The only drawback of ceramic brackets is that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.

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. This “self-ligation” method allows 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.

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. Each aligner is worn for 2-3 weeks and moves teeth a fraction of a millimeter at a time. This treatment is more self-managed as patients are responsible for replacing the aligners in due time. The most known system of this type is Invisalign®.

Clear aligners have become very popular due to their aesthetic appearance. They are practically invisible, making them the preferred method among teens and adults.

Which are the best braces to straighten teeth?

All types of braces correct teeth and bite issues. Choosing the treatment will depend on the types of activities you perform and on your lifestyle.

If visiting the orthodontist each month is unfeasible, perhaps a treatment that is more self-managed with fewer visits is more attainable. In this case, clear aligners may suit you better. On the other hand, if you or your child are the types that tend to misplace things, you may want to stick to a traditional treatment that is entirely managed by your orthodontist. Losing a set of aligners can be very costly to replace and can set back your treatment prolonging the process to correct your teeth.

Most importantly, ensure you are being treated by an orthodontist and not a dentist. Orthodontists are admitted into the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), not dentists.

Finding an orthodontist near you

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.