There are many different types of braces or brackets used in orthodontics to straighten teeth. Common types of braces are silver, gold braces, or clear braces. There are also self-ligating and lingual braces.
Several orthodontic manufacturing companies produce a variety of braces, each with numerous variations of each type, all of which are available to every orthodontist. Such a broad spectrum of options allows an orthodontist to choose specific types of braces that he or she feels comfortable with and works best with his or her style of treatment.
If you are looking to get braces, know that most orthodontists offer several types of braces to better accommodate certain cases or specific requests of the patient. However there is no right or wrong type of orthodontic braces to use for any given case.
In general, every bracket functions as an attachment site for the orthodontic wire, which provides the dynamic force on each tooth to cause movement. Since the bracket itself is not directly responsible for tooth movement, the numerous bracket designs mainly reflect variations in their size, shape, color, and material make-up.
All orthodontic braces can be made with either a large or small sized wire slot, according to the preference of the orthodontist, and can be pre-shaped to tilt teeth in certain directions to varying degrees. Described below and in the next few pages are characteristics of the braces most commonly used in orthodontic treatment.
Silver metal braces are the most commonly used in orthodontic treatment, and are made of a durable mixture of stainless steel, nickel and various other metals in small amounts. There are hundreds of variations of these braces, but all have the key characteristic of having overhanging edges, or “wings”, around which a metal or elastic tie is used to hold the orthodontic wire in place.
Elastic ties come in several different colors and are responsible for the decorative “braces colors” seen on young patients’ teeth. These types of braces allow the wire to be tied in very tightly to the bracket, allowing excellent control in aligning crooked teeth. Generally, these silver metal braces cost less compared to clear braces or other cosmetic options.
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Dr. Charchut is a Board Certified Orthodontist practicing in both Lansing and St. Johns, Michigan. Read more about Dr. Charchut.