Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics for a more unique and colorful smile. This is very popular with kids who love changing their colors each month!
Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, self-ligating braces do not require the use of elastic ties (the colors that hold the wire in place), meaning fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, or clear brackets. They are the same size as metal braces, but use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace.
Clear (Ceramic) Braces
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.
Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.
Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth and are therefore "invisible" when you smile. Lingual braces are customized to match the shape of your teeth. There are pros and cons to this approach. Dr. Ritter can educate you more on lingual braces if you are interested and she can talk to you about whether you are a good candidate.