What are the Different Types of Braces and How do I Choose the Right Kind?

By January 9, 2019 Blog

Your smile is as unique as you are. In fact, just like fingerprints, no two people have the same set of teeth. That’s why you won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach at Houston Orthodontic Specialists. We create personalized treatment plans and offer a wide variety of options for braces and Invisalign in Houston and Bellaire. We want you to be able to choose the treatment that will bring about the best results while also fitting your lifestyle, so you feel confident and comfortable during the process. So, what are the different types of braces and how do you pick the best one for you? Here’s what’s on the menu at our practice and some key things to consider about each type to help you decide:

  • Conventional Metal Braces – When you think of braces, you probably immediately think of the conventional metal ones. They’ve been around the longest of all of the types of braces and they’re still the most widely used worldwide. Today’s metal braces are nothing like the bulky ones of the past and are a lot more low profile. Made of stainless steel, this type of braces relies on brackets and archwires to move the teeth. Small elastics are also used to secure the wires to the brackets.  

Conventional metal braces might be right for you if you like the idea of showing off your braces and you want to wear colorful elastics to match your personality, the holidays, your school colors or even your mood. Of the different types of metal braces, these are often the most popular with our younger patients.

  • Conventional Clear Braces – Just like metal braces, conventional clear braces rely on brackets and wires to shift the teeth and elastics to hold the wires in place. The key difference is that the brackets are clear and they blend in with your smile, making them less noticeable than their metal counterparts. Years ago, they were considered one of the types of braces for adults because they required more care since they stained and were susceptible to breakage. That’s not the case anymore. The modern clear braces we use at Houston Orthodontic Specialists, resist staining and are very durable, allowing us to treat patients of all ages with them.

Conventional clear braces could be your perfect choice for orthodontic treatment if you want the straightening power of braces but would prefer a less visible treatment option. Some adults and teens feel self-conscious about having stainless steel brackets, which is where opting for clear braces can be beneficial. If you’re interested in an aesthetic option but don’t want to have to keep track of aligners, clear braces may be the ideal alternative. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and stay put throughout your treatment.

  • Self-Ligating Braces – For self-ligating braces we offer metal and clear Damon™ braces and metal and clear Carriere® SLX™ braces. Both the SLX bracket system and the Damon braces system have streamlined brackets with little doors that hold the thin, shape-memory archwires in place. They don’t require tiny elastics or ties, technically known as ligatures, to secure the wires. The teeth are able to move more freely and naturally into place, which can translate to faster results. Since Carriere SLX and Damon braces are tie-less, they don’t need to be tightened and they’re easier to clean because you have one less component that can trap plaque and food debris. Additionally, self-ligating braces create less pressure and friction and the brackets have smoother edges, making treatment more comfortable.

Self-ligating braces, such as Carriere and Damon braces, might be the best teeth-straightening solution for you if you want braces but you’re interested in getting results more quickly and comfortably. The brackets are small and smooth, so many patients are fine with the metal version but for discreet treatment, you may prefer clear self-ligating braces.

  • Lingual Braces – Lingual braces are another of the different types of braces that use brackets and wires to give you your dream smile. However, lingual braces are placed behind your teeth on the tongue side (lingual side), so they’re completely hidden from view. You can’t see them at all when you smile and they’re even less visible than Invisalign. The braces components are customized to your mouth and the braces are smaller than the ones that are bonded to the front of the teeth. Orthodontists have to undergo specialized training in order to offer lingual braces, which is why you can’t find them at every practice. Our Bellaire and Houston orthodontists are trained in lingual braces and we can use them to effectively shift your teeth into place without anyone knowing you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Lingual braces could be your ideal treatment option if you’re image conscious. They are one of the best types of braces for adults or teens who want to keep their treatment under wraps. When considering Invisalign vs. braces, if you lose things easily or think you’d forget to wear aligners for the prescribed amount of time, then add a point in favor of braces. They’re adhered to your teeth and will stay there until we take them off.  

  • Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen – Okay, so technically Invisalign and Invisalign Teen aren’t types of braces at all since they’re hardware-free ways to straighten the teeth. With Invisalign, your orthodontist designs a series of custom, clear, plastic aligners that slip over the teeth. You change the aligners according to our schedule and as you make your way through the series, your teeth move bit by bit into the desired position. Since the aligners are removable and you’ll take them out to eat and brush and floss, there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is a breeze. Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are comfortable, convenient and, best of all, virtually invisible. As Diamond Invisalign Providers, we’re among the top practices in the country for Invisalign experience and we’re able to treat even complex cases with clear aligners.

You should consider Invisalign if you want an aesthetic treatment option that most people won’t notice you’re wearing. If you worry about giving up certain foods or you don’t love the idea of cleaning around brackets and wires, you could be well suited to clear aligners. Many of our patients who play sports or an instrument choose Invisalign or Invisalign Teen because there’s no hardware to get in the way.

If you’re interested in braces or Invisalign in Houston or Bellaire, book a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today! We’ll take complimentary diagnostic records, perform an exam and chat with you about your goals and lifestyle. Then, we’ll let you know which orthodontic treatment option will bring out the best in your smile.

 

Dr. Tabakman

Author Dr. Tabakman

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