Types of Braces

Today’s braces are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms — all tailored to meet your or your child’s unique dental needs. From time-tested metal braces to cutting-edge clear aligners, patients now have many options for straightening their teeth. Our team will ensure you are fully informed about the types of braces and braces alternatives available to you, so you make the best choice for your smile.

Metal Braces

This is what most people picture when they hear the word “braces.” Metal braces are made up of high-grade stainless steel brackets, which are glued to the teeth and connected with archwires. The archwires are secured with elastic bands (ligatures). You may choose colored elastics for a fun and personalized look.

Metal braces have existed for over a century and are still regularly used by orthodontists today. Fortunately, modern metal braces offer many advantages over their predecessors. They are smaller and more comfortable, as well as more effective.

Metal braces work by exerting continuous pressure on teeth to help move them into alignment. Regular appointments are required with your orthodontist to check progress and make adjustments to the wire.

Pros: Effective, versatile, durable
Cons: Most noticeable aesthetically, affect brushing and flossing, food restrictions

Ceramic or Clear Braces

Ceramic braces or clear braces utilize clear or tooth-colored material for a more discreet look. They are similar in size, shape and function to traditional metal braces. Treatment times and oral hygiene requirements are also similar to metal braces.

The material used to make brackets for ceramic braces is called polycrystalline alumina, which is often used in dentistry. Because the material is less visible, these braces are often preferred by patients who are concerned about their appearance, usually older teens and adults. Clear braces can be a good solution for patients seeking a “happy medium” between metal braces and clear aligners.

While less noticeable, ceramic braces can be prone to staining without proper care. It is therefore even more important to follow dietary guidelines and maintain good brushing and flossing habits.

Pros: Effective, less visible than metal braces
Cons: Vulnerable to staining, more prone to breakage, affect brushing and flossing, food restrictions

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Self-Ligating Braces

In traditional metal or ceramic braces, tiny rubber bands hold the brackets and archwire together. Self-ligating braces take a different approach, with built-in doors or clips to keep the archwire in place instead of elastic bands.

Self-ligating braces have become much more popular over the last decade. They offer several advantages over traditional appliances. First, they are smaller and, thus, less noticeable. They are also easier to adjust, so most patients require shorter and fewer appointments. Their unique mechanism also creates less friction between the brackets and archwire, which leads to quicker tooth movement.

At Lozman Orthodontics, we use SPEED Braces. With their small footprint and streamlined design, SPEED Braces are aesthetically appealing, less likely to trap food and easy to clean. SPEED Braces are an option for all ages.

Pros: Less visible, reduced discomfort during treatment, faster results
Cons: Affect brushing and flossing, food restrictions

An Alternative to Braces: Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a popular alternative to traditional or self-ligating braces. Sometimes called invisible braces, these orthodontic appliances are made of transparent plastic that fits the shape of your teeth. Invisalign®, the first brand of clear aligners to hit the market, has become practically synonymous with this type of treatment.

The benefits of choosing Invisalign® are that the aligners are nearly invisible and generally more comfortable than traditional braces. They can also be removed when you need to eat, drink or brush your teeth.

Invisalign® uses a series of plastic trays to realign the teeth. The trays usually need to be changed every one to two weeks until your teeth are repositioned. A number of Invisalign retainers are given to the patient at each visit. Your teeth are consistently moving with the change of each Invisalign retainer. Therefore, fewer visits to the orthodontist are required during treatment as compared with traditional braces

Pros: Comfortable, practically invisible, removable, no food restrictions, require fewer visits to the orthodontist as compared with braces, many times treatment is faster than with traditional braces
Cons: Not suitable for all patients, may stain with improper care, trays usually need to be changed every one to two weeks, can lead to occasional issues

Today’s orthodontic patients have more options than ever before. Our team will help you find the best approach for your appearance preferences, lifestyle, and budget. Contact us to request a consultation.

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