Dental braces can align crooked teeth, close gaps, and fix crowding issues. Transforming your smile with dental braces can improve your self-confidence and encourage more frequent smiles. But which types of braces are best? Learn more about the different types of braces and choosing the right option for you.
Four Main Types of Braces
Most dental braces can be divided into four categories: metal, ceramic, lingual, and invisible.
Metal or traditional
These braces are the ones most commonly pictured when “dental braces” are mentioned. Made from metal brackets attached to each tooth and connected with metal wires, these braces slowly guide the teeth into position over months or even years.
Ceramic braces operate in the same way as traditional metal braces but use a tooth-colored bracket instead of a metal bracket. This allows these braces to blend in almost as well as “invisible” braces while still allowing for major orthodontic changes.
Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth instead of in front of them. They are commonly used as part of a larger braces regimen that includes some period of traditional or ceramic braces followed by lingual braces.
Invisible braces consist of a plastic tray that goes around the teeth instead of on top of them. During treatment, a patient may go through a dozen or more trays as their teeth slowly shift into place.
What Braces Are Best?
There’s no one “best” type of braces, as each type is designed to correct a certain set of orthodontic problems. Ultimately, the right types of braces for you will depend on the dental issues you’re hoping to correct, your age, your budget, and the time you have to devote to dental treatment.
Traditional and ceramic braces are good for those with overcrowding, cross-bites, and other orthodontic issues that may take several years to fully treat. Lingual braces are better for those whose teeth are already in the right positions but just need a bit of support to stay in those positions. Finally, invisible braces are good for those who don’t want the appearance of traditional braces or who need subtle corrections to their smile rather than major orthodontia.