Metal braces, made of stainless steel or titanium, are known as "traditional braces" because the first orthodontic braces were made of metal. They still continue to be the most commonly-used type of braces today. Luckily, today's braces are smaller, flatter and more comfortable than braces of the past.
Metal braces have three parts to them. The brackets are cemented directly to the surface of the teeth. An arch wire is placed in the brackets, linking them together. It is the arch wire that is adjusted to apply pressure to the teeth. Elastic ties are what hold the arch wire in the brackets. Fresh ones are placed each time a patient comes in for the arch wire to be adjusted. The elastic ties usually come in a variety of colors.
Braces are skillfully tightened and adjusted in order to shift teeth into a straightened position. Rubber bands or other appliances are used in conjunction with braces for a thorough adjustment of the entire mouth.
Not keen on the idea of how metal braces look? Advances in technology allow orthodontists to offer clear or tooth-colored braces made of ceramic. Made from hard ceramic material these braces won't stain or discolor! Due to their cosmetic appeal, they are most popular with teens & adults. It's a much less noticeable alternative to the classic "metal mouth!"
Clear braces function just as traditional metal braces do. They also include brackets, arch wires and elastic ties. The ties are generally clear or white. Clear braces are not to be confused with popular clear aligner systems like Invisalign. Those systems fit into the mouth like a mouth guard, slipping over the teeth, and they are removable. Clear braces are cemented into the mouth like metal braces are.
Please let us know if you have any questions. We're happy to discuss whether metal or clear braces would be an ideal choice for your case.