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Types of Braces: The Ultimate Guide

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

Braces with cumbersome metal brackets and wires used to be the standard treatment for anyone who wanted a straighter smile or corrected bite. However, not only are metal braces far more streamlined now, but there are five types of braces that patients can choose from. Use this the ultimate guide to the types of braces to determine which option may be right for you!

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the traditional form of braces. With this option, brackets are fastened to the front of patients’ teeth and connected by an archwire. This wire exerts gradual pressure that, over time, can correct crookedness, gaps, and other alignment issues, including bite problems.

At subsequent appointments, orthodontists can adjust the wire to keep the patient’s teeth on schedule. These appointments are usually scheduled once every month or two months. Thankfully, these braces are no longer nearly as bulky as they used to be, incorporating an elastic tie that connects the wire and makes them more easily adjustable.

Who Should Get Them?

Metal braces provide the most affordable treatment option for anyone that needs braces. They can also correct issues faster than other methods, further reducing the total cost. The worst part about them is the fact that they are the most physically obvious and cumbersome. They are not typically the most comfortable option.

Self-ligating Braces

These are perhaps the least-known type of braces. Self-ligating braces look similar to traditional metal braces. However, they use self-ligating clips instead of elastic bands. This makes them easier to adjust. They use an archwire to gradually move teeth to the correct position just like conventional braces do.

Who Should Get Them?

Squirmy patients, such as young children or those with sensitivity to pain, could take advantage of the fact that self-ligating braces can be adjusted more quickly and easily. This results in shorter adjustment appointments and less discomfort.

Ceramic Braces

Although they are the same shape and size as conventional metal braces, ceramic braces consist of ceramic, clear brackets that hide their appearance. Some have adopted clear wires as well that further blend ceramic braces into the teeth. Otherwise, they are very similar to traditional braces.

Who Should Get Them?

People who have careers that make getting obvious braces more of a hassle, such as those in a customer service profession, may want to opt for a less visually obstructive option. Unfortunately, ceramic braces are more expensive than metal ones and stain more easily, so patients need to prepare for a little extra upkeep. However, ceramic braces move teeth as quickly as metal braces, which reduces treatment time compared to Invisalign.


Clear plastic retainers, also called Invisalign, are quickly becoming the most popular choice for new patients when it comes to braces. The major selling point for Invisalign is that they are clear and nearly invisible (with the right care). They also pop in and out so you can eat in comfort, clean them, and put them back on.

Who Should Get Them?

Invisalign is nearly invisible in your mouth, so those who are particular about their appearance may prefer this option. However, they are usually more expensive than conventional braces. In addition, not everyone can wear them, as they can fix some alignment issues but not all bite problems. Speak with your orthodontist about the options that are best for you.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces can be worn instead of braces or after treatment to permanently hold teeth in place rather than relying on temporary plastic retainers. They fasten to the backside of teeth instead of the front, making them invisible but also a little uncomfortable. It takes a while to get used to your tongue interacting with them.

Who Should Get Them?

 Lingual braces can feel strange, so those with sensitive tongues or who are easily distracted by foreign objects in their mouth may not prefer them. They provide invisibility, however, and can fix some (not all) of the problems conventional braces can. However, they are typically the most expensive option of them all, which is important to consider before starting this treatment.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re debating which type of braces you should get, you need professional advice on your treatment options. For orthodontic care in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic options can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatments are right for you. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible care in your area.

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