Metal braces are probably what you consider when you picture someone wearing braces. Metal wires and brackets are used to guide teeth into their ideal locations. Today’s metal braces are much improved on braces of yesterday. The brackets are much sleeker, and heat-activated archwires make for a more comfortable experience. Metal braces are still the most commonly used orthodontic appliance for their effectiveness and efficiency, both in moving teeth and for your budget.
Clear or ceramic braces work in the same way metal braces do. However, they use clear or ceramic tooth-colored brackets on the teeth instead of metal brackets. This feature makes them much less noticeable in your mouth than metal braces. Tooth colored wires are often available too, making them even more aesthetically pleasing. Clear and ceramic braces are strong; however, they will not be as strong as metal braces and can break or fracture. They can also stain, so it is important to avoid food and drinks with high staining ability and pay close attention to your oral hygiene.
Self-ligating braces are like metal braces, but with slightly more advanced technology. The brackets do not utilize traditional ligature ties, but use a slide-door mechanism. This feature in turn places less friction and pressure, making for a more comfortable braces experience. Self-ligating braces often produce shorter treatment times, sometimes reducing treatment time by as much as six months.
Patients who use Invisalign rave about the technology. Invisalign straightens teeth using a series of clear, removable plastic aligner trays. The trays fit snugly over the teeth, eliciting a constant but gentle force to guide them to their new locations. The aligners are so clear they are almost invisible, but perhaps the greatest advantage is that they are removable. That means it’s easy to keep your smile healthy because you don’t have to worry about brackets and wires to brush and floss around. Just pop the aligners out and clean your teeth like normal. Invisalign may not be ideal for all orthodontic patients, however. Invisalign is best for patients with mild to moderate malocclusions.