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The Different Types of Braces and How to Pick the Best Kind?

By September 20, 2021August 2nd, 2022Orthodontics
Girl with Braces

The Different Types of Braces and How to Pick the Best Kind

Dental braces have been around for quite a while. In fact, early variations of the metal braces that are still used today were created in the 19th century. The reason they’ve stuck around for so long is they’re extremely effective at straightening the teeth and aligning the bite

However, there have been some serious innovations in orthodontics, so braces are smaller, sleeker and way more comfortable than they used to be. They’re also available in ceramic materials that blend in with the smile and there are low-profile, self-ligating brackets that don’t require elastics.

Today, we’ll cover:
  • The different types of braces we offer at our Papillion orthodontic office
  • Self-ligating vs. traditional braces
  • Which braces work faster?
  • How long until you see results from braces?
  • Tips for choosing the right braces for your smile.  

Different Types of Braces at Hawley Orthodontics

There are a variety of different types of braces, including traditional metal braces, traditional clear braces and self-ligating braces. 

At Hawley Orthodontics, in addition to Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen, we offer two main types of braces: self-ligating ceramic braces and self-ligating metal braces. We want our patients to get the best results as quickly and comfortably as possible, which is why we only use self-ligating brackets. 

Self-Ligating Braces vs. Traditional Braces

Both traditional braces and self-ligating braces consist of brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and we run an archwire through them that acts as a track to guide the teeth into place.

The difference is that traditional braces rely on ligatures (tiny elastics or metal ties) to attach the archwire to the bracket. Self-ligating braces don’t use ligatures and, instead, the brackets each have a door that holds the lightweight, memory wires in position. The wire moves on its own along with the teeth.

Self-ligating brackets are lower profile than conventional brackets and they reduce the amount of friction, so they’re more comfortable and they look great, regardless of whether you choose metal or ceramic. Since we don’t need to put on ligatures or change elastics, you’ll spend less time in our chair and appointments will be a bit shorter. 

Additionally, self-ligating braces are more hygienic and easier to clean, as ligatures trap food and plaque. We do allow our patients to wear elastics if they want a pop of color but they’re not necessary, so if your child isn’t good at brushing and the elastics pose a problem, we can always forgo them at the next visit.  

Some practices keep traditional braces on the menu as a cheaper option. However, we don’t believe in upcharges and the braces price (and fee for Invisalign) is the same, regardless of the treatment you choose at our practice. Considering we’re not basing a patient’s treatment options on how much they can pay, we go with what’s most efficient and effective and for us, that’s self-ligating braces.

Schedule your free orthodontic consultation with Dr. Hawley to see how self-ligating braces will work for you by calling us at (402) 592-3200 or sending us an email at [email protected]. With our one flat rate, choosing braces that suit your smile will really come down to personal preference.

Which Braces Work Faster?

Patients often ask, which braces work faster? The truth is, your teeth don’t know what type of appliance is exerting force and they’ll move into place whether you use traditional metal braces, self-ligating braces or clear aligners. 

That said, the combination of self-ligating brackets and memory wires we offer at our practice helps the teeth take a more direct path to their final positions. Dr. Hawley doesn’t have to make tweaks or deal with unwanted tooth movements, so your treatment may be slightly faster with our braces system than it would be with traditional braces. 

How Long Until You See Results From Braces?

How long it takes until you see results from braces varies depending on how your body responds to treatment and the severity of your case. Some patients notice a subtle difference within four to six weeks, while others don’t see much change until around three months. This will be consistent whether you choose metal or clear self-ligating braces. 

Choosing the Right Braces for Your Smile

Self-Ligating Metal Braces

Metal braces are still the most common among the different types of braces. The self-ligating metal brackets and high-tech wires Dr. Hawley uses for his Papillion, NE braces patients are very streamlined. They’re not big or bulky and they don’t create the stereotypical mouth full of metal depicted in pop culture

The brackets are made of stainless steel and the wires are crafted from titanium. Some of our patients, particularly younger ones, prefer metal braces vs. clear braces because they like showing them off and orthodontic treatment can be like a rite of passage marking the transition from childhood to those teenage years.

When all of their friends are wearing metal hardware, they want to as well. However, even older patients sometimes like how braces look. As we said earlier, self-ligating braces don’t need elastics, but for those who enjoy customizing their braces with colorful bands, we’re always more than happy to put them on.

So, are self-ligating metal braces for you?

The Metal Braces Checklist

Check all that apply:

  1. I want straighter teeth and an aligned bite.
  2. I’d prefer a comfortable, effective, efficient treatment option.
  3. Silver is definitely my color.
  4. I like the idea of showing off the fact that I’m wearing braces.
  5. I’d love to add a little shimmer to my smile.
  6. All of my friends are wearing metal braces and I feel left out.

If you checked off three or more points, you might have found the perfect type of braces for you!

Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

Self-ligating ceramic braces, often called clear braces, also consist of brackets and wires and are put on the same way as metal braces. However, the brackets are made from a translucent, durable ceramic material, so they blend with the color of your teeth and are much less noticeable. They’re really popular with our teen and adult braces patients who want an esthetic option, especially since we don’t charge extra for them here

In the past, a disadvantage of clear braces was that they weren’t as strong and broke more easily. Another concern was that the ceramic was porous and prone to staining and the elastics got discolored quickly.

Thanks to advances in materials, clear braces are now a lot stronger and they resist stains, so these aren’t issues anymore. Plus, we use self-ligating ones with no elastics to speak of. They’re practical and attractive. Are clear braces right for you?

The Clear Braces Checklist

Check all that apply:

  1. I want to straighten my teeth and align my bite.
  2. I’m interested in more comfortable, quick, effective treatment.
  3. I don’t want people to notice I’m wearing braces.
  4. Metallics aren’t my thing.
  5. I’d like to keep my orthodontic treatment low profile.
  6. I’m a professional and feel like metal braces would be distracting.

If you checked off three or more points, clear braces might be your best bet!

Now that you have a better idea of the different types of braces we offer and perhaps the kind you might be leaning towards, give us a shout at (402) 592-3200 or [email protected] to schedule your free exam with our Papillion, NE orthodontist, Dr. Hawley. We can usually get your treatment started on the same day as your exam. 

If Invisalign seems more your speed, we also happen to be the largest Invisalign provider in the Omaha area. With one cost for clear braces, metal braces, and Invisalign, you can base your choice on which one best reflects your personality and needs. Your smile, your style!