During the planning phase of orthodontic treatment, the first consideration is which type of braces the patient will receive. There are several types of braces for prospective orthodontic patients to choose from. Before selecting which type of braces to get, patients should be sure that they understand each type and the considerations of each. An orthodontic consultation will allow orthodontists to examine the patient’s dental condition, explain the different types of braces, and advise which options would be best.

Types of Braces

The main types of braces include:

  • Metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Invisible braces like Invisalign


Metal Braces

Metal braces are often referred to as “traditional” braces, as they are the most common type and have been around the longest. Metal braces consist of metal brackets that are adhered to the front of the teeth. Metal wires are fastened to the brackets and across the row of teeth to allow orthodontists to tighten and create pressure, which in turn causes the teeth to shift. In many cases, metal braces are the most affordable and “tried and true” braces option.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are almost identical to metal braces in terms of parts and function. However, the main difference is that the brackets are made from a ceramic material instead of metal. The ceramic is clear or tooth-colored, which creates a less noticeable appearance. This makes ceramic braces a more favorable option for patients like adults, who wish to have a more discreet braces experience.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are another type of braces that are more favorable for those who wish to be discreet. Lingual braces also feature a wire-and-bracket system. However, the brackets are adhered to the back of the teeth instead of the front, as with traditional metal and ceramic braces. This allows for teeth straightening without any visibility to others. Before getting lingual braces, patients should be aware that this type of braces requires more time for maintenance. It may be more difficult to fully brush and floss in a manner that ensures that all food particles and plaque buildup are removed each day.


Invisalign is perhaps the most popular choice for adults and others who wish to have a minimal appearance of braces. Invisalign is different from other forms of braces in that it does not feature wires or brackets. Instead, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic mouth pieces that are replaced roughly every two weeks to accommodate and facilitate the shifting of the teeth. The trays are removable, so patients can take them out before eating and replace them after the meal and after brushing and flossing.

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