Orthodontic braces come in four main types. In this article we evaluate each type against comfort, treatment times, and best outcomes. Read on to find out what they are.
Metal braces/Traditional Braces are the first type
Metal braces are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word braces. You may remember them as being quite large and chunky when you were a child and they are still depicted that way in the movies -for dramatic effect ! Good news: Modern metal braces are much smaller and much more comfortable than they ever used to be.
These brackets are fixed to your teeth with a type of adhesive. Once the brackets are in place, wires are attached to them. The wires apply pressure to your teeth, and it’s this pressure that gradually moves them into place.
Ceramic braces are the second type
A variation on metal braces is ceramic braces. They are much less noticeable, but also a little more expensive. Also tooth coloured wires can be used instead of metal wires -with ceramic braces which make them look even better. They’re a great idea for people who may not be suitable for Invisalign.
Lingual braces are the third type
These types of braces are fixed to the backs of your teeth, rather than to the front. This means that people can’t see them at all.
Lingual braces are difficult to apply, and generally much more technically difficult to use than other forms of braces. A great analogy comparing lingual braces to outside braces, is like trying to paint the outside of a house, from the inside: It can be done but it takes time, patience and effort. Lingual braces are generally the most expensive type of braces.
Invisalign is the fourth type
Invisalign uses a series of custom-made, clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
How do the types of braces stack up?
Assessing which type of braces is suitable in any given situation depends on a number of factors..
Being comfortable is most people’s primary concern. If you are faced with braces, which one is most comfortable? Here is our team’s assessment of comfort:
- Metal braces or ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
Lingual braces have a higher discomfort rating because the impact on your mouth is more significant when they are first applied. People report feeling like they’ve sore or cut tongues, which is because their tongues are in contact with the braces all the time.
Invisalign rates high for comfort because the aligner trays are removable, smooth and closely fitted to the teeth. While you still need to wear your Invisalign trays for about 22 hours a day, being able to remove them to eat and drink makes them much easier to wear.
Treatment times for Invisalign and Metal/ceramic braces are similar. Lingual braces tend to take longer due to the technical difficulty.
Great results can be achieved with all braces. The standard of the result is generally determined by the skill and experience of the orthodontist with each of the braces systems.
Not sure which types of braces are right for you?
The best way to determine which braces will help you achieve the transformation you’re after is to talk to your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will be able to help you balance your treatment type with your lifestyle and desired outcomes.
Call our friendly team today to talk about your orthodontic needs.