All Types of Dental Braces — The Definitive Guide
There are infinite ways an individual’s teeth might be aligned or misaligned. We are all different, after all, and each of us has a unique jaw of our own that requires special attention and treatment. Naturally, it follows that this endless variety of smiles will demand a seemingly endless number of approaches to corrective and cosmetic dentistry. The first step toward a beautiful and healthy smile has, of course, always been braces.
Dental Braces Categories
As you are about to see, orthodontics has gone a long way since the early days of traditional wire braces and alginate molds. Today, there are a plethora of options available for all patients, and a lot of them can satisfy both their medical and aesthetic needs. In the following paragraphs, we will briefly cover all the different types of dental braces in use today, dental braces materials, as well as their pros and cons. If you want to know more about this service before we begin, follow the link we provided for a comprehensive list of answers to all your pressing questions.
In the broadest possible terms, we divide bracket braces and aligners into two categories: fixed and movable braces. While their goals mostly overlap, there are some differences between them that go beyond the obvious and depend on the specific type of braces.
Fixed braces are exactly what you imagine them to be: braces that are attached to the patient’s teeth and unable to be removed without professional assistance. They typically consist of little plates cemented to the teeth, with wires running along their front or inside to keep all the plates fixed together.
Also, since the patient might develop a need for more pressure on certain areas, the dentist might decide to attach additional bands to the apparatus. With bands, braces can exert more force and localize it at the same time, making sure your teeth are aligned properly everywhere without disrupting the rest of the jaw.
There are different fixed dental braces types, including:
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal or traditional braces are the most common and among the oldest types of teeth braces. They’ve been in use for decades and are still typically the first choice for most dentists and patients alike, and for a good reason. Namely, they are usually not that expensive of a choice (unless you opt for self-ligating braces with clipping mechanisms), and they are more than effective in most cases. In addition, they work fast since they are attached to the teeth and exert force on them constantly. You will need to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist for adjustments, though, and you might experience mild gum irritation from time to time. Luckily, those are the chief drawbacks.
If you are concerned with your looks, you can always opt for lingual braces. They work based on the same principle as metal braces, although the connective wire will be running on the inside of your teeth. These are the least common solution, mostly due to practical problems (that is, traditional braces are easier to install, and not all dentists are willing to invest time in them). In addition, they sometimes create speech problems, leading, for example, to a lisp, and they are not as easy to adjust and clean.
Clear braces, also known as ceramic braces, are probably the second most popular option. They are rather similar to metal braces, the chief difference being the materials used. Namely, they usually use transparent wires and rubber to keep the apparatus in place. That makes them a bit more comfortable to wear, which can help reduce the chances of irritation. The main downside? They are not as durable. Ceramic breaks more easily under pressure, so you will need to be a bit more careful with certain types of food. And speaking of food, it should be added that ceramic braces can stain more easily than their metal counterparts.
As their name suggests, removable braces are not attached to the teeth at all. You can put them on and take them off anytime you want, completely painlessly and with little effort. They are a good choice for children and those with a not-so-severe case of teeth misalignment. Some of the most popular types of removable braces include:
Traditional removable braces
These are probably the first type of braces we think about when the topic comes up: braces consisting of acrylic plates with a steel wire running along the outside surface of the teeth. The wire is set up with a tiny spring mechanism, which implies a need for regular dentist check-ups for the apparatus to stay aligned and effective. These used to be the most popular types of dental braces for children since they are rather easy to get used to and are more than effective when treating crowded and crooked teeth as well as crossbite, which are among the most common dental problems among children.
Being transparent, these are among the most popular of all types of dental braces for adults. The way they work is that the patient gets a 3D model scan of their mouth in order for the dentist to create a perfectly fitting pair of clear aligners. That makes them more comfortable to wear compared to those traditional stainless steel braces and more visually appealing. They are also very easy to maintain and adjust, so the patient can have total freedom and enjoy being in control of when and how they use their braces. Unfortunately, that means that they are not always a viable solution if the patient has a severe case of teeth misalignment. On top of that, invisible braces are usually the most expensive option.