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Different Types of Braces You Should Know

Proper dental alignment helps you maintain healthier teeth and gums and improves your appearance and changes the way you are perceived by others. Thanks to advancements in the field of orthodontics, there are more ways than ever to improve your dental alignment. The wide array of options available may make it seem difficult to choose. The following guide offers an overview of various types of braces to help make your selection process easier.

Traditional Metal Braces

a woman wearing traditional metal braces
Metal braces are the most popular types of braces used

Individual brackets are cemented onto each tooth, and the brackets are connected by a band.

These are the most common types of braces for a couple of good reasons. They are nearly always the least expensive option, and they do their job relatively quickly.

Usually, treatment lasts 6 months to 2 years, depending on the severity of the misalignment. Another advantage is that metal braces can be used to treat more serious cases than plastic aligners or other types of braces.

The bands connecting the brackets come in many colors. The downside is that metal braces are the most obvious. Younger wearers may be subjected to ridicule with nicknames like “metal mouth” or “brace face”, which could damage their self-esteem.

Ceramic Braces

a woman wearing ceramic braces
Ceramic braces blend in with the teeth better

Similar to metal braces, but the brackets are ceramic and blend in with the teeth better, making them less noticeable to the casual observer. Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces, and need a higher level of care since the brackets can stain if they are not properly cleaned by the user.

Ceramic brackets are also more fragile than metal and might require additional visits to orthodontics if they break. Despite these drawbacks, ceramic braces are a popular option because they move teeth faster than the plastic options and are not as immediately obvious as metal braces.

Lingual Braces

Work in the same way as metal and ceramic braces, but the brackets are on the inside of the teeth.


an illustration of lingual braces
Lingual braces are worn on the inside of the teeth

The best thing about lingual braces is that they can’t be seen from the outside at all. They are more expensive and may take longer to correct alignment than traditional or ceramic braces, and can’t be used in the most serious cases.

Another consideration is that they’re harder to keep clean than braces worn on the outside of the teeth, and visits to the orthodontist will take longer for routine adjustments and maintenance. Lingual braces may be more painful in the first days or weeks and take longer for the patient to adjust to them, since the braces are in contact with the tongue.

Read also: Ideal Age for Getting Braces

Plastic Aligners

Clear plastic trays resembling mouth guards are custom fitted to the patient’s mouth and replaced every two weeks as the teeth move into their new positions.

a woman wearing plastic aligners
Plastic aligners are custom-made and can be easily removed

One major advantage of these types of braces is that they can be removed for eating and caring for the teeth. Patients can continue to eat any kind of food they were eating before braces, and there won’t be any discolorations that can occur when traditional braces are removed.

They’re much less noticeable than traditional metal or ceramic braces, and less intrusive than lingual braces. Because they are removable by the patient, however, aligners can take longer than expected if they’re not worn the recommended 22 hours per day.

Aligners take slightly longer than traditional braces to move the teeth, and they are only able to be used for minor to medium adjustments. These types of braces are available for teenagers and adults only, and are the most expensive option. The aligners may be lost when they are taken out for meals or while brushing the teeth, and they are expensive to replace.

Each of these types of braces has its unique advantages and disadvantages, but with such a variety of choices there is an option for every preference and budget. If you are looking for an orthodontist in Lafayette, LA, contact Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri. With 16 years of experience, you can count on Dr. Maestri to guide you toward a healthier and more beautiful smile.

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