Types of Braces
Here are four different kinds of braces adults can choose from to improve their smile:
Metal braces are generally the least expensive option, but also the most noticeable.
1. Metal braces
The most inexpensive type of braces for adults are the traditional, stainless steel versions. Obviously, the drawback to wearing these is how visible they are. Metal braces hold a thin wire in place with rubber bands to put pressure on the teeth and move them to the desired place.
Metal braces can irritate gums and cheeks at first. Once you have them on, you have to watch what you eat, avoiding things that can stick to the braces, such as caramel or gum. You also have to avoid eating hard foods, which can move or dislodge the braces.
2. Ceramic braces
Ceramic cost more than stainless steel versions, but they’re made to blend in with the teeth so they aren’t as visible. You can choose between clear elastic ties or white metal ties to hold the braces in place.
Though the braces themselves won’t stain, the ties can easily discolor, especially if you consume foods or drinks that typically stain teeth, such as coffee. Your dentist will replace the ties every time he or she adjusts the braces, which is usually every month.
Ceramic are more sensitive and can easily break or chip. They require more maintenance and more time to install than metal braces, which increases overall treatment time and cost
- Lingual braces
Lingual braces are customized to bond and hide behind the teeth to remain out of sight. They cost more than metal or ceramic because the process is more complicated. They require a skillful orthodontist to install them, and not every orthodontist knows how to do it.
Lingual don’t work well on small teeth and get in the way of the tongue, potentially causing speech problems and injuries, so you have to learn and practice speaking with them on.
- Invisible braces
Invisible braces, such as Invisalign, cost more than any other types because they are practically invisible.
These braces work best for people who don’t have significant teeth problems. The advantages: they’re less noticeable than traditional braces and often require less frequent visits to the dentist. These braces are mostly invisible and best for people with minor alignment issues.
Braces vs Invisalign
If you are considering braces vs Invisalign to straighten your teeth, or your kid’s teeth, you may have lots of questions. Which is more effective? Which is more affordable? Ultimately, you want to choose the treatment that will do the job, even it it’s slightly more expensive. In the long run, you don’t want to have to fix your teeth again! So are braces or Invisalign the better choice for you or your kid?
Braces vs Invisalign: Getting Straight to the Basics
Both braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten teeth while improving your smile and oral health. Customers first began using Invisalign in 2000, so this treatment does not yet have the same history as braces.
Braces consist of metal brackets being glued to your teeth, and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Nowadays, you can get brackets to more closely match your enamel color (making them more discrete), or you can get them in color to make a fashion statement with your mouth!
Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth. Your specialist will use X-rays, pictures, and impressions to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth and to configure your aligner trays accordingly.
In Braces vs Invisalign, Which Will Work Best for You?
While both can help straighten teeth, they each have pros and cons. Take a look at the detailed braces vs Invisalign comparison chart below.
Braces (irremovable) vs Invisalign (removable)
Metal-typically silver; can pay extra for color or enamel color Color Clear/invisible
24/7 for an average of 2 years, depending on patient needs Treatment time 22-24 hrs/day for 6 to 18 months, depending on patient needs
Brush brackets and wires regularly while brushing teeth; water pick may be helpful. Maintenance Invisalign Cleaning system, or brushing and rinsing trays in luke warm water
About every month Follow up visits Change aligner trays every 2 weeks; visits every 4 to 6 weeks
Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night Follow up to treatment Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night
More effective for more complex issues
No temptation to leave them out, so less self discipline is needed for success
No extra cleaning steps required besides regular brushing and flossing
Some issues with food getting caught
No difficulty eating
No discomfort from wires
Chances of discoloration or breakage
May have difficulty eating sticky, hard foods
May have discomfort from tooth movement
Should be removed before eating or drinking anything but water
Must brush after each meal to avoid staining
NOT ideal for Patients with:
back tooth bite issues
need to rotate canines or premolars
the need to move teeth vertically
lack of discipline to keep trays in for at least 22 hours daily