If you're thinking about getting braces, you've probably already done some basic reading on the different types available out there. A brief Google search for "types of braces" will give you a ton of results, and it can all make your head spin.
In reality, only some of the braces you see will be offered by your local orthodontist. That's because although orthodontics is a part of the dental profession (orthodontists are dentists but with 2-3 years of extra specialist training), it's private companies that create the actual braces. So as with any private industry, companies compete with each other to market and sell their product.
Many companies manufacture braces, and It's the job of these manufacturers to come up with new and innovative technology to supply marketers and distributors, who then pass them on to orthodontists. Many companies market several types of braces, and some even market certain types as being their own when one of their competitors make them.
Orthodontists are always getting approached with the newest and latest in technology, but it's their job to see through the sales pitch, do the research, and only offer the products that will best serve their patients. For that reason, clinical research is completed on the various types of braces to ensure patients are receiving the best treatment.
So when you're shopping around for an orthodontist you shouldn't be surprised to find different brands being offered. But keep in mind clinical research has yet to show that any one brand is better than the other.
So, now that we know how certain braces make it to your orthodontics office, let's take a look at the common types of braces on the market today, as well as their pros and cons.
First type is known as metal braces, which is the most common type of braces. They are also commonly used because they are economical, and they can move teeth and jaws to their proper position as well as other types of braces. These were once the first and only choice in braces. Today's version are smaller and more comfortable than they used to be. They've all also stood the test of time and they're proven to work quickly and effectively. Some popular brands of metal braces include: Victory Series, Damon, In-Ovation and Ormco Mini's.
Photo 1. Metal braces
The second type is the ceramic braces, which are also known as ceramic brackets. Made of translucent composite material, they are transparent they blend well with the colour of the teeth enamel. This type of braces is ideal for those patients who are conscious with aesthetics because they can hardly be noticed. These braces are often made of transparent or translucent materials and are compatible with the natural color of the patient's teeth. These braces are designed to avoid stain and discoloration, which is beneficial for people who would like to preserve their appearance. Made of clear translucent material, ceramic braces are less visible than metal braces. They work just the same as metal. However, in most cases they work faster and on more people than Invisalign, and you don't have to come in for visits two times a month like you do with Invisalign. Some popular brands of ceramic braces include: Mystique, made by GAC; and Clarity and Transcend, made by 3M Unitek.
Photo 2. Ceramic braces
They are transparent brackets made of a specialized plastic and are custom-made so that it fixes well with the teeth and create a pressure. It is the only kind of braces which has the greatest comfort and ease of use. A relatively recent introduction to the marketplace, these clear aligners were an instant hit because they are pretty much invisible throughout treatment. However, Invisalign has major limitations and can only be used on minor orthodontic problems, so don't be surprised if your orthodontist doesn't offer them to you as an option. So far, there is only one common brand of clear aligner braces, and we're pretty sure you know what it is.
Photo 3. Invisalign braces
Newer to the market, lingual braces are braces that are placed behind the teeth, so in most cases they are even less visible than Invisalign. They are more demanding for the orthodontist to use and tend to be used in treating less complicated cases. They also tend to be mechanically less efficient. They are fixed behind the teeth and hence their popular name is hidden braces. They have adjustment issues like speech problem sometimes.
Photo 4. Lingual braces
These braces are made of pure sapphire, which is monocrystalline in nature. One of the good things about this type of braces is that they almost have the same transparency as water. But the wires used for this type of braces are almost undetectable. Among the most popular type of clear braces is invisalign.
Photo 5. Clear braces.
Damon Brackets Braces are the latest additions to the types of braces available today. They are called as self-litigating teeth fixtures because they do not have ligatures or small bands that are mainly used in the metal ones. It is made in this way so that the arch wires stay in places. The wires slide back and forth within a bracket to have less friction. They are often preferred over metal braces as they take less treatment time. Here, the wire slides inside the bracket. This procedure reduces the friction. It is also highly comfortable to use. They are also touted in order to reduce the overall time of treatment.
Photo 6. Comparison of conventional and Damon brackets
These are usually made of plastic and a stainless steel wire. In this type of treatment, the wire is used in order to hold a patient's teeth in place after the braces are removed.
Photo 7. Orthodontic retainer.
Now armed with a little bit of info on the braces market and the different types and brands of braces, you can go about the research on your ideal braces. Just keep in mind your orthodontic is a trained professional and at the end of the day, we advise you trust them to make the decision on what will work best for your unique orthodontic situation.