Once upon a time, people who needed braces had only one choice: the metal braces sometimes called “railroad tracks.” Over the past generation or so, that has changed. People can now choose from several different types of braces, including metal braces, ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign®.
Are Metal Braces Still Around?
Yes. In fact, they’re still the most commonly used type of braces. Traditional metal braces have the advantage of usually being the least expensive type. While they are smaller than they once were, they are still the most noticeable.
In 2008, the “Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics” proclaimed that the traditional steel braces were still the most effective type and can be used to treat severe bite problems and very crooked teeth. They allow orthodontists more control for adjusting teeth, and that increased control means they work faster than other types of braces. Our office also offers self-ligating metal braces that allow for less friction inside the mouth.
What are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic braces use brackets and wires that resemble those used in metal braces – only the brackets are made of porcelain that is the same color as the patient’s teeth. The obvious advantage of ceramic braces is that they blend in with the patient’s teeth, and they are about as effective as traditional metal braces.
What are Lingual Braces?
Lingual braces use the same metal wires and brackets as the traditional metal braces, but they are installed on the backs of the patient’s teeth, thus hiding them from view. They are the least common type of braces, for they require specialized training on the part of the orthodontist.
Lingual braces work well for relatively minor problems, but they aren’t as effective as traditional or ceramic braces at treating severe forms of malocclusion. Their placement also makes them more complicated to clean and adjust.
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® is the newest type of braces, and they have the large advantage of being removable. The patient can take them out to clean them and to eat. Patients who use Invisalign®, therefore, don’t have to abide by the food restrictions that patients wearing fixed braces do.
The Invisalign® braces at our office in Dallas are a series of clear, plastic trays or aligners that resemble mouth guards. The patient typically wears them for 22 hours per day. Like lingual braces, they are not the most effective braces for treating severe problems. While Invisalign® braces can correct alignment problems, a patient who needs to close large gaps in their teeth would be better served by getting the traditional metal or ceramic braces.
Learn More About the Different Types of Braces
With three locations in the Dallas area, our orthodontist at Ragan Orthodontics is committed to helping patients achieve beautiful smiles. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to get all the facts about the different types of braces, including which type is best for you or your child.