If you had braces as a kid, those were probably not memorable times. Your mouth looked like a metal fortress while the list of foods you couldn’t eat was taller than you. Your yearbook photos of the time might have looked awkward as they were coupled with bad hair-dos and funky glasses.

Although they’re awkward and uncomfortable, braces do have a bevy of benefits. They can help correct bites, prevent tooth loss, and keep gums and teeth from decaying. It’s a necessary evil for many.

It’s estimated that around four million Americans are wearing braces over the course of a year, and you might be surprised to find that not all of those are children. Adult braces are on the rise, mainly thanks to the various options that are now out there. 

If you or someone you know is about to get braces, it is quite beneficial to be aware of the various options. They vary in functionality, costs, and have different pros and cons. Let’s have a look at our options.

Metal Braces

Let’s start out with the one that everyone knows and loves. Those metal braces are a tale as old as time and won’t be going away anytime soon.

They’re pretty easy and there’s not much to them. The metal brackets are attached to the teeth and then the metal wire connects all of the brackets. The wires are tightened at various points to help align and move teeth over time. 

These types of braces have hung around for so long because of two main reasons: their cost and the fact that they work.

Metal braces do the job, plain and simple, and are by far the least expensive out of all the braces options. They are uncomfortable and unsightly, but at least you can pick the color of the rubber bands?

Ceramic Braces

There’s not a whole lot of difference between ceramic braces and metal braces. But instead of using metal brackets, these braces use ceramic.

That’s because ceramic is the same color as teeth, giving these bracelets a camouflage look. They won’t be as good at hiding as Rambo, but they’re still not going to stick out like metal braces would.

Many orthodontists also use teeth colored wiring, making them blend in even more. Everything else though, is pretty similar. They need to be cleaned just like metal braces and you’ll need to head to your orthodontist at the same pace. 

The one drawback is they are more expensive than metal brackets. Whether you decide to fork over the extra cash is up to you.

Lingual Braces

If ceramic braces are the cousins of metal braces, lingual braces are the edgy twin. They are the exact same as metal braces but instead of being on the outside of teeth, they go on the inside next to your tongue. Hence the name lingual.

There’s not much to say about their functionality, but they do come with a number of cons. They are much harder to clean, as the user cannot see the brackets. They are also much harder to adjust for the orthodontist. Furthermore, lingual braces are not available to all patients so you’ll have to ask your orthodontist about that. 

They’re more expensive and tend to be more uncomfortable, forcing your tongue to scrunch up in the middle of your mouth. 

Invisalign

Ah yes, the only braces that can make you seem somewhat cool. Invisalign are invisible, retainer like braces that you have complete control over. You are not limited to what you can eat, as you take them out while eating.

You can function normally throughout the day, not having to worry about ugly metal brackets poking the inside of your mouth or having to brush between the brackets.

While it may sound all good and dandy, invisalign are by far the most expensive option. Plus, losing them is quite easy and it will cost you a pretty penny to get one replaced. 

For those that have major orthodontic issues, invisalign, sadly, will not be an option. Most children cannot wear them either, as they require a full set of adult teeth in order to be worn. Once again, you’ll want to check with your orthodontist to see if this is an option for you. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Braces 101: The Different Types of Braces," in Medicalopedia, September 18, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7780/braces-101-the-different-types-of-braces/].