The Different Types Of Braces

It’s a good time to get braces! Orthodontic technology has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, and RiverView Orthodontics is proud to offer our patients a wide variety of unique treatment options to our Tuscaloosa and Demopolis patients, including different types of braces. We have an expert team in place to successfully treat a range of orthodontic issues in patients of all ages, including:

  • crowded teeth
  • gaps between the teeth
  • protruding teeth
  • overbites
  • underbites
  • crossbite
  • impacted teeth

We do this using several treatment methods, including traditional braces. Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment and the most easily recognizable as well. Thankfully modern braces have come a long way and are far from the bulky contraptions they once were. Today’s braces are smaller, more aesthetically pleasing, and more efficient than ever! This transformation has resulted in a better orthodontic experience for you and your orthodontist.

If you’ve been considering braces as a way to improve your oral health and achieve a healthier smile, you may be wondering what options are available to you. When you schedule a free consultation with Dr. Mike Upton, he’ll be able to determine which treatment option would be the best fit for you and your unique smile. Let’s take a closer look at what types of braces are available, how they differ, and how this treatment staple can give you a beautiful smile you’ll want to share with the world!

What are traditional braces?

Traditional braces are made up of metal or clear brackets that are attached to the teeth then tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands, or elastics. This treatment method is especially useful for correcting complex tooth issues and can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. This can potentially shorten your treatment time, although this will vary from patient to patient. In general, however, the average treatment time for braces tends to be anywhere from 18-36 months. 

While the maintenance involved with traditional braces can take some getting used to in the early days, it gets easier with time and practice. A good dental hygiene routine is essential for oral health, and it’s even more important for patients in braces since food and bacteria can get stuck in between the wires and teeth. 

Types of braces

Metal braces

Metal braces are made out of stainless steel, nickel, and other high-quality metals, so they are very durable and long-lasting. Modern braces are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be, with smaller brackets and colorful customizable bands to choose from. They have a long track record of delivering excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Metal braces don’t need some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments do, so they also tend to be a slightly more affordable option. The overall strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of traditional braces keep them the top treatment in Tuscaloosa and Demopolis orthodontics, year in and year out.

Ceramic braces

Sometimes referred to as clear braces, tooth-colored braces, or aesthetic braces, ceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do, with the added benefit of tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are about the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with your natural smile for a more discreet straightening option with RiverView Orthodontics.

Although ceramic braces are tough, the material they are made out of is slightly more prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can tolerate more pressure than ceramic ones, Dr. Upton may suggest them for more complex oral issues. 

Since ceramic braces can be more expensive and are more prone to breakage, we believe they are generally better suited to adults and older teens. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly subtle and efficient way to achieve a beautifully aligned smile. 

Invisalign clear aligners

The Invisalign system is made up of clear, removable aligners custom-made to fit comfortably over your teeth. Like traditional braces, these customized aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions. To accomplish this, you’ll wear them 20-22 hours per day throughout treatment, and replace them every 1-2 weeks for the next aligner in the system, as directed by Dr. Upton.

Invisalign offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than regular braces do. There are no food restrictions since aligners are removed when eating or drinking, and it’s easy to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy since you don’t have to work around wires and brackets. You simply remove the aligners, then brush and floss the way you normally would!

Caring for braces

No matter what type of braces you choose, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. If you struggle with brushing and flossing effectively while wearing braces, there are several tools designed to make it easier. Waterpiks help rinse any hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks can assist with flossing. We recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Sticky and crunchy foods can damage the brackets and wires, so RiverView Orthodontics patients wearing braces will need to avoid these kinds of foods during treatment. While it can take some getting used to, it won’t last forever! Any minor frustrations will be more than worth it once your braces come off and get a look at your beautiful new smile.

While in braces, you can expect follow-up visits in our office every 4-8 weeks or so throughout the treatment process. During these appointments, Dr. Upton will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and may replace the wire as well. These check-ups tend to be fairly brief, so you can get back to school or work quickly! There can sometimes be a bit of residual soreness following these adjustments, but it should only be temporary. 

These visits are a very important part of the overall treatment plan. To help us ensure the very best results in the least amount of time, you should always try your best not to miss them!

Find the braces that work for you at RiverView Orthodontics

Here at RiverView Orthodontics, we know that every smile is unique. What works for one patient may not be a good choice for another, and that’s why Dr. Upton creates a customized treatment plan for every patient he sees. He will take your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals into consideration when recommending the course of treatment that would work best for your smile. 

If you’re in Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, or the surrounding communities, we’d love to give you more information on how braces can give you a beautiful, healthy smile. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Upton!