At a recent dental visit, my daughter was referred to see an orthodontist to discuss braces. Having never worn braces myself, I knew nothing about what types there were or what would be best for my daughter. After some research, I have learned a few things about the different types of braces and who they are best for.
Metal braces – Metal braces are the ones most of us are familiar with. They use metal brackets and wires to move the teeth back into place. Although this type has been around for a long time, they have advanced and are less noticeable and move the teeth quicker than what you may remember from childhood. Metal braces tend to be the least expensive, but they are the most noticeable type. Your child can choose what colors of rubber bands they want used in the braces, so that may help them learn to cope with how noticeable the braces are.
Ceramic braces – This type uses ceramic brackets and metal wires, so they are much less noticeable than totally metal braces. The downside is that they are not only more expensive that the traditional option, the ceramic can stain, so the wearer has to be selective with their diet and diligent with with maintenance. Some people feel that ceramic brackets are less irritating to the gums than their metal counterparts.
Lingual braces – Lingual braces are essentially the same as traditional metal braces, except they are mounted to the back of your teeth. This makes them virtually invisible, but can lead to severe irritation of the tongue. This type will not correct severe issues, and can be more difficult to clean and to adjust.
Invisalign – Invisalign is a clear, plastic mouth guard that is custom made to align your teeth. Every two weeks a new aligner is installed to gradually move the teeth. These are considerably more costly than traditional braces, and are only an option for teenagers and adults, not children. They are virtually invisible, and the wearer can eat whatever they want without fear of staining, or harming the aligner. Since they are removable, they are easy to lose and very expensive to replace. This method can take longer to align the teeth than traditional braces.
The type of braces you choose will depend on many variables like the severity of the correction, if any teeth need to be extracted, and the recommendation of your orthodontist. The main factor is typically budget, because even though all braces are expensive, there is a wide price range between the options.