Types of Braces
Types of braces
There are a number of different types of braces, from removable plates to Invisalign, and the type we use for each individual patient depends on a number of factors. We strive to use the most effective braces available, whilst taking into account each patient’s lifestyle, aesthetic desires and budget.
These are most commonly used in very young children who do not yet have their permanent teeth, but they can be used for all ages, including adults. Removable plates are used:
- To expand and create space in the jaws in cases of tooth crowding
- To correct crossbites
- To encourage forward growth of the lower jaw when required
Removable plates are usually worn full time except for eating and tooth brushing. They can be made in a variety of colours and designs, from completely clear (invisible) to fluorescent with glitter. Bright colours are especially popular with our younger patients.
These are the most common type of braces we use for children and teenagers. Metal braces are made out of high-grade stainless steel or titanium, and they are the most durable braces available so they are most able to withstand the ‘rough and tumble’ of children and teenagers’ lives. Metal braces come in two types: conventional and self-ligating. Conventional braces are used with elastic bands (‘ligatures’), which are available in a variety of colours, making them very popular with children. Self-ligating braces do not require elastic ligatures and are our choice in non ‘colour-conscious’ patients because they are more hygienic.
Tooth Coloured Braces
These are the most common type of braces we use for adults. Tooth coloured braces are made out of either plastic or ceramic. They function the same way as metal braces but are a lot less visible, so generally all you can see is the wire. However, compared to metal braces they are less durable, more prone to fracture and more expensive! For this reason we often place tooth-coloured braces on a patient’s more visible top teeth, whilst keeping the less visible lower teeth in metal braces. All of the tooth coloured braces we use are self-ligating.
Invisalign Invisalign is a method of straightening teeth that uses a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners which are worn over the teeth and changed by the patient every two weeks. Teeth straighten gradually over a period of months. Invisalign aligners contain no metal brackets or wires and removable, comfortable, and, best of all, invisible. They are also removable for eating and tooth brushing. Unfortunately Invisalign is not suitable for all patients as it cannot provide orthopaedic bone movement or jaw repositioning.
Lingual braces are metal braces placed on the inside or backs of the teeth. They are completely invisible but in our experience they are very uncomfortable for patients who say that they hurt their tongue and affect their speech. For this reason we prefer to use metal braces, tooth-coloured braces, or Invisalign.