Dental braces: Which type makes the right choice for you?

- You don't have to settle for conventional metal braces, there are lots of other unique and aesthetic options to choose from.

Say goodbye to the old-fashioned "tin grin."

There's a whole world of other options.

When it comes to having your teeth straightened, you'll find that you have lots of treatment options to choose from. Many of which can help to make the fact that you're having orthodontic work either less inconvenient, less obvious or more fashionable.

This is our hub page for the different types of braces and options that we cover and your dentist/orthodontist should be able to offer. Start off with the links below to drill down to the information you're looking for.

Kinds of braces. / Systems.
  • Invisible (Invisalign®, ClearCorrect®, Smile Direct Club®, Simpli 5®) - With these systems, the patient wears clear removable aligners that straighten their teeth.
  • Lingual (Incognito®, In-Ovation®, Harmony®, iBraces®) - Lingual braces look a lot like traditional ones, except that they're mounted on the backside of your teeth where they can't be seen. It's like braces in reverse.
  • Ceramic (Clear braces)- Ceramic braces are used for your case just like traditional ones. But instead of being made out of metal, their brackets are made out of white or clear ceramic so they blend in with your teeth better and therefore aren't so obvious.
  • Metal - These are the kind of braces that your parents probably wore but don't be put off by that fact. There are a lot of options and variations available nowadays (including gold braces, fashion brackets, personalized color schemes) that can help to dress them up and make them unique.

(FYI: Don't forget that after your orthodontic work has been completed you'll need to wear retainers. If you don't know much about them, here's an overview and pictures of the different types. Kinds of retainers.)

1) Alternatives to having conventional braces.

A) Invisible braces (Invisalign®)

Picture showing a comparison of the appearance of Invisalign® vs. traditional braces.

A comparison of invisible (i.e. Invisalign®) vs. conventional dental braces.

"Invisible" braces are a relatively new treatment alternative that involves the use of plastic aligners to realign the patient's teeth (instead of wires and brackets like with regular braces).
And just as their name implies, since the aligners are made out of thin clear plastic, it's hard for other people to tell that they're being worn.
As an added benefit, you remove the aligners when you eat or clean your teeth, which helps to make the experience of having braces less of an ordeal.

The dominant brand name associated with invisible braces is Invisalign®. Another prominent one is ClearCorrect®. A recent development in this field is the option of purchasing direct-to-consumer aligners like Smile Direct club.

For more details, use this link to our topic: Invisalign® / Invisible braces. Technique explained.

Picture of lingual dental braces on lower front teeth.

Lingual dental braces.

B) Lingual Braces (Incognito®)

This alternative can be thought of as similar to getting regular braces, with the big difference being that they're mounted on the backside of your teeth where they don't show.

As opposed to invisible braces (like Invisalign®), lingual braces are frequently referred to as being "non-visible." That's because on close inspection a hint of them might be seen by others. But under normal circumstances, most people won't notice them at all.

One brand name associated with this treatment option is Incognito®.

For more details, use this link to our topic: Lingual braces (Incognito®). Technique explained.

2) Options for conventional braces - You can dress them up or blend them in.

Having traditional braces (brackets and wires on the front side of your teeth) doesn't mean you have to put up with having an old-fashioned "tin grin."

Nowadays there are lots of attractive or unique variations you can opt for.

Ceramic dental braces.

Picture of ceramic dental braces.

(Only the bracket is ceramic, not the wire or elastic.)

A) Ceramic / Clear Braces.

This alternative to regular metal braces involves the use of tooth-colored, or clear, ceramic orthodontic brackets, with their primary advantage being that they more closely match the color of your teeth, and therefore blend in better with your smile.
FYI: Ceramic braces still require the use of a metal archwire that runs across your teeth. It may, however, be possible for your dentist to use a "frosted" one.

For more details, use this link to our topic: Ceramic braces. Option explained.

Picture of gold dental braces.

Gold dental braces.

B) Gold Braces

Orthodontic wires and brackets can be plated so they look like their made out of gold.
Some patients feel that gold braces have a softer, warmer appearance than stainless steel. Others like its luster and think it creates a distinctive look for their smile, somewhat reminiscent of fine-quality jewelry.

For more details, use this link: Gold dental braces. Option explained.

You can show off your personality with conventional braces by the color scheme you choose.

Picture of colored elastic bands worn with conventional braces.

C) Colored Orthodontic Bands

Even just regular braces can be spiffed up to give you a customized and more colorful look.
You can do this (it doesn't cost anything) just by picking out your own personal color scheme when you select the elastic bands that are used with your braces.

For more details, use this link: Customizing conventional braces. Possible options explained.

D) Designer Orthodontic Brackets

You can opt for orthodontic brackets that have a unique or fun design, such as hearts, diamonds, flowers or footballs.

For more details, use this link: Fashion orthodontic brackets. Possible options explained.

E) "Mini" Orthodontic Brackets

Your orthodontist may be able to use miniaturized brackets with your case. Because they are smaller, they help to make your braces less noticeable.

As an added benefit, a smaller bracket means that a person's braces won't stick out quite as far off the surface of their teeth. This can make having them more comfortable since they won't rub against your lips and cheeks quite so much.