Different Kinds of Braces

Different Kinds Of Braces
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Braces have been popular orthodontic treatments for many years to straighten and align teeth and improve bite alignment and overall oral health. But, it’s not just one kind of brace any longer, there are now several kinds available.

In this article, we will explore the different kinds of braces available, including traditional metal braces, clear braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces, and clear aligners. Each type of brace has its advantages and disadvantages. We will look more closely at each type so you can make an informed decision when choosing a type of braces that is right for you.

Metal Braces

Metal braces have long been the traditional method for correcting most alignment problems with teeth. They consist of brackets attached to each tooth and an archwire running through them, which is periodically tightened with an orthodontic tool by a professional.

While they do require more maintenance than other types, metal braces are considered the most secure and durable option due to their sturdiness and strength. However, this durability can also create disadvantages: metal braces are often uncomfortable and hinder speech while they are being worn. Additionally, metal braces must be kept clean to avoid negative side effects, such as discoloration of teeth and cavities between brackets.

The cost of metal braces depends on several factors, including the complexity of treatment, and the length of time you will be wearing them. On average, metal braces cost anywhere from about $3,000 to $7,000. for the entire course of treatment.

The length of treatment depends on the complexity of each patient’s case and includes factors such as the patient’s age, overall health, and severity of the misalignment. In most cases, braces are worn anywhere between 12 and 24 months, however, depending on the severity of the issue some patients may have them for as little as 6 or as much as 36 months.

See our article: Options to Straighten Teeth.

Clear Braces

Clear braces work similarly to traditional braces, but whereas traditional braces use metal brackets and wires mounted on teeth, clear braces consist of transparent ceramic or plastic pieces that blend with a person’s natural enamel.

While clear braces have many advantages, including being less noticeable and requiring fewer adjustment visits, they also have some potential drawbacks. For example, clear brackets can be more brittle than traditional metal brackets and may require extra care when cleaning to reduce the risk of staining or discoloration.

Additionally, clear braces typically cost more than traditional metal braces. The cost can range from roughly $4,000 to $8,000 depending on how much work needs to be done and materials needed, the time frame for treatment, and the orthodontist’s expertise.

The average length of a clear braces treatment is 18 to 24 months, with individual cases ranging from 6 to 36 months depending on the severity of the condition and the goals for each patient’s case.

See our article: Types of Clear Braces.

Lingual Braces

With lingual braces, all the components used in clear or regular metal braces are affixed to the back of your teeth, rather than the front-facing side, making them virtually unnoticeable to others.

Aside from offering more discretion lingual braces are more comfortable due to having a more personalized design than metal braces. However, sometimes patients find it difficult to get used to speaking with them and it can take several weeks before a comfortable speech pattern is achieved. Lingual braces are also harder to clean and maintenance is more time-consuming.

Lingual braces generally have a longer treatment time. Depending on the severity of your issue, treatment time can range anywhere from 12 to 36 months. The upfront cost of opting for these hidden braces may vary based on the specific case and location but usually runs between $8,000 and $10,000.

See our article: How to Straighten Teeth Without Braces or Invisalign?

Self-Ligating Braces

These braces use special clips rather than elastic bands, known as ligatures, to secure the brackets onto the teeth, allowing them to move more freely, leading to faster and more efficient tooth movement.

During treatment, the clips can be easily adjusted by an orthodontist if needed and these types of braces do not require extra components such as the small rubber bands that traditional braces need. As a result, less pressure is placed on the teeth and gums, mitigating discomfort often associated with other types of braces during treatment.

Furthermore, they require fewer visits to the orthodontist and provide improved overall oral hygiene by making it easier to clean around the brackets. However, they do tend to cost more than conventional braces.

On average, you can expect treatment to last anywhere from eighteen months to three years. This timeline can also be determined by factors like compliance with your orthodontist’s instructions and when brushing and flossing correctly to avoid any delays.

The cost of self-ligating braces is similar to traditional metal braces costing around $2,000 to $7,000.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a fairly new and advanced orthodontic solution for people concerned about the appearance of their teeth. Rather than relying on metal brackets and wires, these aligners use clear plastic molds that fit onto the natural line of your teeth.

Stable, comfortable, and discreetly invisible under most situations, these aligners gradually shift your teeth into place over months. The progressive changes from one set to another ensure precision in terms of straightening the teeth while providing a multitude of benefits to the patient such as minimal discomfort, lower risk of tooth decay, avoidance of other oral health issues associated with traditional braces, and a shorter overall treatment time.

See our article: Braces by Mail.

Aligners are removable so everyday brushing and flossing can be done before putting them back on, making it easier to properly care for your teeth throughout the treatment process. However, clear aligners require commitment and consistency, if a patient forgets to wear them, wears them too infrequently, or doesn’t remove them when eating or drinking, their progress will likely be slower or may even experience regression in their results.

Clear aligners can produce noticeable results in as little as 4-6 months for mild teeth straightening conditions.

The cost of clear aligners varies from brand to brand but it is possible to get high-quality aligners for under $1000 that offer no down payment for monthly payment plans, such as ALIGNERCO.

Which One is the Best?

It can be difficult to decide which type of braces is best for your individual needs. Each option offers its advantages and disadvantages, so the best choice depends on a variety of factors such as budget, lifestyle needs, and severity of misalignment.

Traditional metal braces remain a popular choice among patients due to their effectiveness in helping more severe cases. However, clear aligners offer the most natural look, are the most affordable option, are the most convenient when it comes to brushing and flossing, and are best suited for mild to moderate cases.

Here are some of the best at-home aligner brands with customer reviews:

Byte – The top pick which has a lifetime guarantee and comes with both a free teeth whitening kit and HyperBite.



An affordable option with refundable impression kits, free HyperByte, and a Byte for Life guarantee.

Check out Byte Aligners

NewSmile – A budget option but has superior aesthetics. This product comes with a free teeth whitening kit and retainer.



Affordable at-home treatment with positive reviews offering superior look and comfort.

Check out NewSmile Aligners

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Different Types of Braces?

Yes, there are different types of braces. The main types are metal, clear, self-ligating, lingual, and aligners.

Each one is designed to meet the needs of individuals who require orthodontic care for various reasons, ranging from aesthetic improvement to proper alignment.

How Many Types of Braces are There?

There are eight different types of braces – Metal, Ceramic (clear), lingual, self-ligating, veneers, incognito, retainers, and aligners.

The best option for each patient will differ depending on the personal situation of each.

Which Kind of Braces is the Best?

Determining which types of braces are the best for each individual depends on several factors such as their budget, lifestyle, and desired outcome.

Clear aligners are often a very good option as they allow patients to remove them when eating or brushing their teeth. Clear braces, while more visible than clear aligners, are often smoother and more comfortable than traditional metal braces.

Which Braces are the Most Comfortable?

Clear aligners are generally the most comfortable option when it comes to braces. They use innovative technology which gently realigns teeth with minimal pain and discomfort.

Which Braces Work the Fastest?

Clear aligners offer the quickest treatment for mild to mid malocclusions and can resolve issues within a few months, whereas metal braces can take years to complete treatment to a satisfactory level. However, metal braces are the most effective solution for severe teeth misalignment.


Ke, Y. et al. A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. BMC Oral Health. 2019. doi: 10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/

Lombardo, G., Vena, F., Negri, P., Pagano, S., Barilotti, C., Paglia, L., Colombo, S., Orso, M., Cianetti, S., Worldwide prevalence of malocclusion in the different stages of dentition: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2020 Jun;21(2):115-122. DOI: 10.23804/ejpd.2020.21.02.05. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32567942/

Alajmi S., Shaban A, Al-Azemi R. Comparison of short-term oral impacts experienced by patients treated with Invisalign or conventional fixed orthodontic appliances. Medical Principles and Practice. 2019. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31842018/

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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