Traditional Metal Braces
These are the most commonly used brackets worldwide. Metal brackets are silver in colour and are made from surgical grade stainless steel or titanium. They are very strong and slightly smaller than ceramic brackets. It is possible to use coloured o-rings (tiny rubberbands that hold the arch wire onto the brackets) on these brackets to 'jazz' them up and you can alter your colours every 6-8 weeks!
Ceramic brackets are made of clear materials and are therefore less visable on your teeth compared to metal braces. The o-rings (tiny rubber bands) that hold the arch wire on to the brackets are often white or clear. People tend to choose ceramic brackets for cosmetic reasons because they “blend in” with their teeth. These brackets are slightly larger and are more brittle than the metal brackets. For this reason they are ususally only only used on the upper front teeth (front six), as they are likely to be damaged by the biting action of the other teeth. Ceramic braces are not recommended for people who need extensive treatment.
Self Ligating Braces
Self Ligating braces use a small gate to hold the archwire into the brace instead of an o-ring or ligature. They are easier to clean than traditional braces and some patients say they are more comfortable. They are available as clear braces on the upper front six teeth.
Invisalign (Clear Aligners)
This treatment involves wearing a series of clear, removable acrylic trays (mouthguards) that straighten your teeth like braces. Small attachments (dots) on the teeth may be used in conjunction with the aligner trays. Patients find brushing and flossing easier as the trays can be removed to eat, drink and brush teeth. However, Invisalign wearers must be strongly disciplined about wearing their aligners for at least 20-22 hours per day in order for treatment to work. Invisalign is a more expensive option than traditional braces.
Considering your Options
Your orthodontist will recommend a treatment plan and type of braces or aligner that best suits your individual situation. Feel free to discuss your options during your consultation appointment. Once your braces come off, you still need to wear retainers. If you don’t, all the progress you’ve made will be wasted as your teeth move out of alignment.