Comparing Methods of Straightening Teeth

By Aaron Strickland, D.D.S. on May 03, 2018



No matter your age, your smile will always have an impact on your self-esteem and confidence. If you’ve already decided that you would like to pursue straighter teeth, you have several options. Here, we list various methods of straightening teeth and weigh their pros and cons.

Metal Braces

 bracesWhen most people think of orthodontic braces, they imagine traditional metal braces. Metal braces are some of the most common types of braces, often seen on kids, teens, and even adults.

Aside from being effective, metal braces are a great option for anyone on a budget, as they are generally the most affordable orthodontic braces option. Although they are not usually considered the most aesthetically-pleasing type of braces, they are a great option for people who require more extensive treatment.

 With metal brackets and wire, traditional metal braces can be somewhat difficult for the wearer to keep clean and can make flossing cumbersome. The wearer also faces some restrictions to which types of foods are safe to eat, as some foods may damage the braces’ hardware. Despite these restrictions, there have been a number of improvements over the years. In fact, metal braces are becoming much smaller and more comfortable than ever before.

Ceramic Braces

 6month-smiles-e1487366160912Ceramic braces use brackets and wire to straighten teeth, just like metal braces, but are much less visible. The brackets (and sometimes wire, like with Six Month Smiles) used with ceramic braces are clear or tooth-colored, so they are not as obvious as traditional metal brackets. Although ceramic braces are bulkier and more expensive than metal braces, they are not as noticeable when you talk and smile. 

Ceramic braces are often used with patients who have a smaller degree of misalignment and are often used on a short-term basis. Unlike traditional braces, ceramic braces are generally not used to treat bite-related problems. They are typically only used to alleviate cosmetic issues with the front teeth, and thus often require fewer office visits than traditional braces.

Lingual Braces

If you are looking for a teeth-straightening option where the braces won’t be seen at all, lingual braces may be right for you. Lingual braces are more-or-less the same as standard braces (metal or ceramic), but they are placed behind the teeth. Lingual braces are sometimes called “inside braces,” and are a great option for adults.

Because of the hardware placement, lingual braces can take longer to get used to than other options, but once the wearer adjusts to them, the braces are virtually invisible. Like metal and ceramic braces, they can be difficult to clean and floss around, and can affect speech and eating habits. They are typically one of the most expensive types of braces but may be worth the cost to someone who is looking for an option that is nearly invisible.

Clear Aligners

 DSC_0560-v3@2xIn a category all their own, clear aligners work to straighten teeth without the use of brackets or wire. Similar to a custom-fit mouthguard, aligners are a virtually invisible set of plastic trays that fit over the teeth to adjust their position. Trays are worn for two to three weeks at a time before the patient is given a new set of trays which will move teeth slightly straighter than the last set.

 Aligners are worn all the time, except when the wearer is eating and drinking, or brushing and flossing. This makes them somewhat easier to care for than traditional braces. However, it is always possible that they could get lost, and they can be costly to replace.

 Aligners are a great option for adults and teens who need a minimal amount of straightening. Unlike traditional braces, they are typically not used to correct more extensive misalignment or bite problems.

Ready to make a decision?

Whether you’re considering braces, aligners, or another orthodontic or dental treatment, contact us today for a consultation. We’ll work with you to find the best option that fits your wants, needs, and budget.


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