Straight Talking: What Are the Different Types of Braces and How Much Do They Cost?
The British Orthodontic Society has noted a significant and steady increase in the number of adults pursuing orthodontic treatment in recent years. In 2019, 75% of orthodontists reported an increase in adult patients.
These patients seek straighter teeth and more beautiful smiles. Perhaps you're among them. Perhaps, though, you're not quite sure what types of braces are best.
If that sounds like you, you've come to the right place. In this guide, you'll learn about different braces types so that you can make an informed decision.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces straighten your teeth by applying constant but gradual pressure to shift them into the proper position.
Traditional braces—what most people think of when they hear the word "braces"—use metal wires and brackets. However, different types of braces use different designs and different technologies.
The Different Types of Braces
Different kinds of braces use different designs to achieve a straighter smile. Different systems also incorporate different materials.
Traditional metal braces involve attaching a square metal bracket to the front of your teeth. Archwires run between these brackets. Meanwhile, tiny o-rings connect the brackets to the wires. These connectors can consist of tiny rubber bands or thin wire ligatures. In either case, they increase the pressure on the teeth.
Over time, this pressure gradually moves the teeth into their proper alignment.
Ceramic braces are similar in design and function to traditional metal braces. However, they are much less visible.
With ceramic braces, the brackets are clear or tooth-coloured. Some ceramic brace systems also use tooth-coloured wires to achieve an even more low-profile appearance.
Damon braces depart from the design of traditional braces. Damon braces are self-ligating. This means that they don't require o-rings to connect the archwires to the brackets.
Instead, Damon braces use a patented slide mechanism. This mechanism connects the brackets to the wires while allowing the wire to slide freely.
Lingual braces also represent a significant departure from traditional braces. Like traditional braces, they use metal brackets and wires. However, lingual braces are attached behind the teeth, making them essentially invisible.
Comparing Types of Braces for Teeth
The different types of braces have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the one that's best for you requires weighing their features against your needs.
Ceramic Braces vs. Metal Braces
Ceramic and metal braces function similarly. The biggest difference is their appearance. Ceramic braces are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
The biggest potential drawback of ceramic braces, however, is their cost. Ceramic braces tend to be more expensive than traditional metal braces.
Another consideration with ceramic braces is their potential to stain. Without proper care, ceramic brackets stain easily. If you do choose ceramic, therefore, you'll need to commit to the highest standards of dental hygiene.
Of course, good oral hygiene—with any type of braces and without—requires frequent brushing and flossing. Failing to do so can result in tooth decay and gum disease. If you fail to care for your teeth while wearing ceramic braces, though, you're also wasting the money you invested to conceal your braces.
Which Braces Are Best: Metal or Ceramic?
If you're deciding between metal or ceramic braces, you'll need to weigh the increased cost of ceramic braces against your aesthetic concerns.
As you do, consider that braces are a long-term investment. You can expect to wear them for at least 16-18 months. Some patients require longer treatment times—up to three years.
It's important, therefore, to think ahead to any major life events you might be planning in the near future. If you're looking forward to a wedding or a trip of a lifetime, for example, you might want braces that are less visible in pictures. If so, ceramic braces might be best.
Perhaps, though, you've just come home from a trip of a lifetime and your finances are tight. In that case, you might opt for the more economical metal braces.
Damon Braces vs. Traditional Braces
Damon braces aren't necessarily less visible than traditional braces during treatment. However, they do have the potential to reduce treatment time and achieve more precise corrections.
Damon braces use a patented slide mechanism and memory-shape wires rather than elastic ties. In this way, they reduce friction and let the teeth move more freely. This means faster results, better results, and fewer orthodontist visits. On average, patients who choose the Damon System wear braces for six to 15 months.
Reduced friction also means Damon braces are gentler on the teeth and surrounding tissues. Many patients find Damon braces more comfortable than traditional braces. This might be especially important if you're hesitant to seek treatment for fear of the discomfort it might involve. At Crosby Dental, we cater to nervous patients with the latest technology, like Damon braces, and our caring staff.
Finally, by removing the elastic ties, Damon braces also remove a source of harmful bacteria and improve overall oral health.
Of course, like ceramic braces, the benefits of Damon braces come with a cost. On average, Damon braces cost about 50% more than traditional braces.
Lingual Braces vs. Traditional Braces
As with ceramic braces, the most obvious advantage of lingual braces is their appearance. Placed behind the teeth, lingual braces are essentially invisible.
While lingual braces aren't noticeable, their results are. Like regular braces, lingual braces are highly customized to your teeth. This ensures that they make the most precise corrections.
In fact, if your teeth are severely misaligned, lingual braces may be a better choice than traditional braces. Lingual braces are ideal for more complex cases that involve closing gaps, rotating teeth, or even changing the heights of teeth.
Still, lingual braces have some drawbacks. Like other advanced technologies, these drawbacks include an increased cost.
Because lingual braces come in contact with the tongue, they also have the potential to cause discomfort in this region and temporarily alter a patient's speech.
Finally, their location behind the teeth makes their initial application and ongoing maintenance more time-consuming and challenging.
Getting It Straight: Choosing the Best Braces for You
Every patient is different. That's why having different options for orthodontic treatment is essential. Now that you know your options, you can compare them and evaluate their features against your needs.
Of course, any discussion of types of braces and cost go hand in hand. Fortunately, with Crosby Dental, you can explore braces price ranges and options without adding to that cost. Book a free consultation today!
GDC No: 64847
Peter qualified from Manchester University Dental School in 1989 and after returning to his hometown of Liverpool, he established Crosby Dental. He has a special interest in high-end cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic treatments. Peter offers private treatment only.