Get to know different types of dental braces, teeth straightening methods

by | Jan 5, 2022

We are all beautiful when we smile. But, we are not all gifted with a perfect set of teeth. Yet, we all want perfect teeth. Humans are drawn to symmetrical features, especially on faces. Straight teeth are one of those symmetries that create human-defined perfect smiles. And, some may despair that they do not have a perfectly-aligned set of teeth to confidently smile or smile as much as they like without insecurity. Dental braces types, teeth straightening techniques are used to correct malocclusions. So, let’s learn all the ways you can achieve that picture-perfect smile.

Metal braces

When we think of braces, we often picture metal braces. They have been around the longest and are the most common type of braces. These are used to fix major to minor orthodontic problems. The braces consist of small brackets made from high-grade medical stainless steel, glued to the front of the teeth and connected by a thin archwire. Elastic bands attached to them provide gentle force to the teeth. As effective as they are, their main disadvantage is the obtrusiveness. They are immediately apparent and have a metal mouth look which may not be convenient for some. Metal braces cost less than other types of braces.

Traditional metal braces work their magic on the most difficult of cases. They are particularly successful in shifting overcrowded teeth, excessively deep overbite & overjet, and abnormal teeth eruption. These can also fix normal crossbites, gaps between teeth, and protruding teeth. They are fixed braces, so you cannot take them out without professional help. It can take from 18 months to 24 months, depending on the severity of the case and age. Severe cases may require 30-36 months. Regular visits to your dentist are required for adjustments and evaluation, anywhere between every 4-8 weeks.

When you wear traditional braces, it is not enough to brush your teeth twice a day. You need to brush every time you eat, even after the lightest snack. Food particles get easily trapped in braces. The longer you let those particles sit trapped in, the greater the risk of developing dental problems.

First, rinse your mouth to loosen food particles and to wash them away. Clean each tooth individually by placing your brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line in small circular movements, bristles pointing towards the gums, applying gentle pressure. Brush the gum line, brackets, and below the gum line. Allocate about 10 seconds for each tooth. Clean the outer and inner tooth surface, tilting the brush as needed to find the right angle for the insides of smaller front teeth. Use small interdental brushes to clean in between and around every bracket while you still have toothpaste in your mouth. Point these brushes in the opposite direction from your gums.

Sticky, chewy, and sugary foods are problematic. Stay away from dried fruit, caramel, corn on the cob, and chewing gum. Hard foods such as whole apples, raw carrots, nuts, French bread, popcorn, crusty rolls, and ice could loosen brackets and damage the wires.  Cut your food into small sizes. Starchy foods cause plaque buildup around brackets. Avoid fizzy drinks, carbonated drinks, fruit juices as much as possible. These are acidic and usually high in sugar, leading to decay and erosion. Don’t sip fizzy drinks, instead use a straw. Water and plain milk are the safest to drink frequently.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces, also called clear braces, are fixed braces that are similar to traditional braces. Instead of metal brackets, they have tooth-coloured or clear brackets made from ceramic, porcelain polycrystalline, or monocrystalline alumina. Sometimes, they also have tooth-coloured wires to blend in with teeth.

They work the same way metal braces work. These, however, can chip and break more easily than metal. Due to their colour and material, they are prone to stains and need extra care. They take the same amount of time as metal braces to work as long as the brackets are made from high-quality material. Regular visits to the dentist for adjustments are necessary. The brackets are a bit bigger in size than metal ones, but their less noticeable quality compensates for that. Ceramic braces are also more comfortable to wear. They can fix overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites, misplaced midline, and spacing. However, severe misalignment or malocclusion is usually corrected with metal braces. Clear braces cost more than metal braces.

You also don’t have to take off these braces if they contain no metal at all when doing imaging tests such as MRI scans.

Pay more attention to cleaning teeth when wearing ceramic braces. They should be cleaned thoroughly to make sure staining doesn’t occur. Limit stain-causing food and drink-intake, such as red wine, coffee, tea, tomato-based sauces and food, balsamic vinegar, berries, and cola drinks. Fizzy and sugary drinks should also be avoided whenever possible.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces or incognito braces are placed behind your teeth. They work the same way traditional braces work. Due to their positioning, they are invisible. These braces are located near the tongue, so they can take some time to get used to and affect speech and eating until you do. They are metal braces made from stainless steel or titanium. Lingual braces are personalised to follow the individual contours of your teeth. These can cost more than traditional braces.

Treatment can take 12-24 months or as little as 6 months for minor cases. Your orthodontist will give you an accurate estimate of how long you need to wear them. These also need regular adjustments every 6-8 weeks. Those with deep overbites might not be good candidates for these braces as bite issues put constant pressure on the brackets that could break them off, damage teeth, or affect teeth movement.

You need to maintain strict oral hygiene like with other braces. Clean your teeth and braces each time you eat to eliminate trapped food residue and plaque buildup. Avoid hard, chewy, acidic, fizzy, and sugary foods and drinks. Use a dentist’s mirror to see the braces better when cleaning teeth.

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces are an alternative to traditional ‘train track’ braces. Usually, traditional braces have elastic bands or metal ties to hold the wire in place. Instead, self-ligating brackets have a clip mechanism that holds the archwire in place. The brackets are designed with a small spring-loaded trap door, which closes over the archwire, locking the wire into place against the brackets. It helps to move teeth naturally as they are straightened.

Self-ligating braces are used as an orthodontic treatment for overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites, overcrowded teeth, and malocclusions. These take the same amount of time to correct misalignments as other forms of braces. The design of the braces requires only fewer visits to the dentist. You will be asked to come for adjustment and inspection anywhere between every 6 to 10 weeks.

These braces also require you to have an immaculate oral hygiene regime and avoid braces-damaging, plaque-accumulating, cavity-forming food. Exclude hard, sticky, chewy, and acidic foods. Choose not to have carbonated drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice, and fizzy drinks.


Also called clear aligners, Invisalign is a modern teeth aligning method that uses transparent and custom-made trays to straighten your teeth without any metal wires or brackets. These are removable and undetectable. These straighten minor to complex teeth misalignment with treatment time ranging between 12-18 months. Some start seeing noticeable results after 6 months. There are multiple trays to wear when one aligner/set of aligners phases out, depending on your Invisalign treatment plan. The medical-grade, flexible plastic aligners are made with patented thermoplastic called SmartTrack. It is laser-trimmed for greater comfort.

You will have check-ups every 6-8 weeks with your Invisalign dentist to evaluate your progress and collect the next set of aligners. When having meals or drinks, you have to remove your aligners. You are only allowed to drink water wearing these. The aligners should be cleaned twice a day and rinsed before putting them back on after eating. You have to also make sure your teeth are clean before wearing them again.

There are no food restrictions as with other braces because you will be removing your Invisalign aligners before eating and drinking. You just need to make sure you wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day throughout your treatment plan.

Straight teeth make up for all the sacrifices you make. You will find yourself smiling more often with renewed confidence. Mouth Dental offers the latest technology in braces and is authorised for Invisalign treatment.