Types of Dental Braces and How to Know Which is Right for You

dental braces

Are you living near North Carolina and considering choosing dental braces? Maybe you’re wondering how to know which braces are right for you?

It’s a lot easier to narrow down the options when you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type. Regardless of your choice, it can be difficult to clean braces and the teeth behind them. If you know you’re less diligent with your oral hygiene than you should be, thankfully, there’s an alternative to braces that might suit you best.

If you want to correct a crooked smile or bite issue, braces are often integral to your treatment plan. Who doesn’t want the benefits of beautifully straight teeth?

We’re going to explain all the different types of dental braces and how to choose the best ones to fit your lifestyle. Keep reading!

Metal Braces

Out of the top 3 types of dental braces, metal braces are still the most popular. The reason for this is that they are often the most effective in obtaining the fastest results. Some teenagers and adults aren’t keen on this option because they are more visibly noticeable than other alternatives.

These are sometimes referred to as traditional braces because they are the tried and true system that has stood the test of time. That said, it’s important to note that the technology has advanced, and these aren’t the big and bulky metal braces of yesteryear.

Metal braces work by exerting constant low force on your teeth, thus moving them into the desired position.

Your orthodontist bonds a bracket to the front of each tooth with cement. The metal used for these brackets is usually stainless steel, but sometimes it’s combined with titanium. The stainless steel can also be gold-plated if you have a nickel allergy since nickel is a necessary component of stainless steel.

The orthodontist uses an archwire to exert the desired force needed to move the teeth. Elastic ties hold the wires to the brackets. Other names for these ties are rubber bands or O-rings.

Children and younger teenagers are often attracted to the idea of customizing the color of their elastic ties, so they are more welcoming of metal braces. Late-teens and adults may be more self-conscious about the visible appearance of metal braces and opt for a less noticeable alternative below.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic dental braces are essentially the same technology as metal braces, with the difference being the material used.

The brackets are more transparent since clear ceramic is used that can better match your enamel coloring. The wires can be enamel colored as well, so they are much less noticeable than their metal counterpart. For this reason, ceramic braces are often a more popular choice for those who would otherwise be needing metal braces.

Ceramic braces move teeth slower than the metal variety. They also require you to be more stringent with certain food restrictions. That’s because ceramic isn’t as strong as metal, so can suffer damage from certain foods.

The light-colored brackets and wires are also prone to staining by certain foods if you aren’t extra careful with your oral hygiene routine.

Lingual Braces

These dental braces are similar to the traditional metal system, with one significant difference. The placement of lingual braces is on the inside of the teeth, rather than the outer surface. The benefit of this is that they are harder to notice than other types of braces.

They can’t be used for complex bite issues and aren’t as comfortable as traditional braces. They are also harder to clean and require longer adjustment appointments at the orthodontist.

In addition to braces, appliances may be added that replace the function of headgear that was once necessary. These are for more severe bite issues and include spring correction systems that sit inside the cheeks and correct an overbite.

Palatal expanders are also used sometimes for overcrowded teeth. These apply pressure to the back of your upper molars to slowly move your teeth apart. Palatal expanders might be used first to reposition your teeth so that you can progress to a traditional braces system.

There’s a variation on the traditional dental brace system, known as self-ligating braces. Instead of elastic ligatures, there’s a door mechanism that allows the brackets to slide freely along the wire. This enables the faster movement of teeth with less force, so appointments are usually only required every 8-12 weeks, instead of every 4-6 weeks.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a popular alternative to dental braces. Instead of brackets, wires, and elastic ties, the clear aligner system uses custom-molded plastic trays to achieve the same result.

A 3d view of your teeth is mapped in a computer environment, and software is used to design the aligners. Next, the aligners are manufactured by a company such as Invisalign. The aligners move your teeth into position in stages, and you usually use new aligners every couple of weeks since each aligner has a slightly different position for your teeth.

Since the plastic aligners are clear, these are harder to notice than other types of braces. Unlike braces, aligners are removable, so can be taken out for meals. This means that you don’t have any food restrictions, though the aligners do have to be worn for 22 hours a day.

The removable nature of clear aligners makes oral hygiene far easier since you don’t have the wires and brackets to clean around. These are extremely popular with teenagers and adults alike, especially as they are easy to take out for photographs. You do have to be careful not to lose them!

The down-side of the plastic tray system is that they tend to move teeth into position more slowly. If you’ve got more extensive bite issues, then you might need a traditional braces system that can exert more force on your teeth.

Which Dental Braces?

We’ve now run through all the different types of dental braces out there, but don’t worry if you still can’t decide. An experienced orthodontist will always make sure that you end up with the right dental braces that you need to ensure correct dental alignment.

If you’re an adult or parent looking at braces for your child, we can help. We provide family orthodontics for patients in Greensboro and Summerfield, NC. Our mission is to exceed expectations from day one and give you a great smile, both inside and out!

Contact us today for a free virtual consultation.

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