What are the different types of braces?
Braces don't just come in metal anymore. Here's your brief guide to some popular types of braces.
Everyone wants a flawless smile, but some of us need a little help to get there. That’s where braces come in. While a lot of people are lucky enough to get their experience of braces done during childhood or adolescence, a growing number of adults are seeking an orthodontist’s help for achieving a perfect smile.
In fact, even those who had braces as kids may still be searching for teeth straightening options. That’s because of teeth shifting, which can happen as a natural consequence of age and/or after you quit your retainer.
While many adults seek braces to achieve a nicer-looking smile, there are many reasons beyond vanity to to jump on the “braces for adults” trend. Straight teeth, and especially a healthy bite, reduce your risk for tooth decay, gum disease and jaw problems, to name a few, according to the American Dental Association.
Today, thanks to advances in technology, you have even more options to choose from. Ahead, we go over the different types of braces, and what you should know about each.
The two main categories
Traditional braces and invisible braces are the two main types of dental braces. Traditional braces are the kind most people (and most kids) are super familiar with. They involve the application of small metal brackets that are cemented onto your teeth with a safe glue, and then connected by stainless steel brace wires and those tiny rubber bands. The wires apply pressure, which work to shift your teeth and align your bite.Invisible braces work similarly in that they also use teeth bracing and pressure to shift your teeth. But they may be a better option for adults in that they are much less noticeable. Invisible braces include ceramic braces or clear braces, which work exactly like traditional braces, except the brackets are clear or tooth-colored to reduce appearance.
Another option for invisible braces are lingual braces, which use all the same materials but the brackets are placed on the inside of the teeth rather than the outside. Some research suggests that because lingual braces are placed on the inside of the teeth, they require less force and therefore cause less pain than traditional braces, while other research has linked lingual braces to “greater overall oral discomfort” because the inside placement can make it harder to eat and talk.
A growing category: clear aligners
Clear aligners are another type of invisible braces. Also sometimes called invisible aligners, aligner therapy involves fitting your teeth with a series of custom-made mouthpieces designed to straighten your teeth over time. As you exchange your old aligner for a new one, each one progressively straighten your teeth, with the number of aligners you need depending on your specific situation.
Traditionally, clear aligners were reserved for those who already had a healthy bite, but just wanted to straighten their teeth. But today, thanks to ongoing advances clear aligners can work for ever-more complex cases. On top of that, teledentistry services that allow you to work with an orthodontist over the Internet make these an even more accessible option.