Dental Braces (cont.)

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What are the different types of braces?

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There are various types of braces available today. Choosing the right type depends on various considerations such as esthetics, cost, and allergy concerns.

Metal wired braces: These are the most common and traditional type of braces. They are typically made out of stainless steel. Metal brackets are fixed (bonded) onto the teeth and secure a wire with elastic ties made out of rubber. As an alternative to using elastic ties, "self-ligating" brackets are used to clip onto the wire.

Ceramic wired braces: Also called "clear braces," these provide a cosmetic alternative to the metal wired braces. The brackets are ceramic to match the shade of teeth and clear elastic ties are used. Self-ligating ceramic brackets are also available. The downside to ceramic braces is that they are more prone to breakage compared to the metal braces.

Lingual braces: These are braces that are placed on the lingual surface (backside) of the teeth and are not easily visible. This is mainly for cosmetic purposes and usually lengthens the time for treatment.

Other metal braces: Gold-plated stainless steel or titanium brackets are usually used for those with nickel allergies.

Clear aligners: These type of braces are made of a clear plastic that is custom-made without the use of brackets or wires on the teeth. This can also be considered "clear braces" and presents a very comfortable option for treatment. However, there are limitations to this method. Clear aligners can only tilt and rotate teeth in their position. Conversely, the use of brackets with traditional braces enables the whole bodily movement of a tooth (and its root) into the desired position.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2014

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