Understanding Your Orthodontic Options

Working with a professional to get the straight teeth you desire is a very involved process. Before you take the jump, it's a good idea to understand the major available orthodontics options. If you're thinking about what way to go, these four choices are worth exploring.

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal and wire have their virtues as materials for braces. First, they're very cost-effective. Second, this style of orthodontics has been perfected over many decades. Newer innovations in heat-activation in the wires also allow metal braces to adjust your teeth more efficiently. Some people, especially kids, also like the aesthetics of braces, especially using colored bands to make a statement.

Ceramic Braces

At the opposite end of the scale from metal, at least in terms of aesthetics, are ceramic braces. They mimic the color of teeth, reducing the visibility of the braces. One downside is that they generally require more care to keep them from staining.

Lingual Braces

Lingual systems are designed to go on the backside of teeth, on the side where the tongue is, as the name suggests. These often call for more adjustments, but they keep most of the metal out of sight, making them a good choice for self-conscious patients. Not all people are candidates for using lingual models, though.


Rather than using braces at all, employing aligners is an alternative way to deal with teeth straightening. The products are clear and fit over the teeth. That makes them a solid choice for people who are worried about the appearances of their smiles. The major downside is that aligners require a great deal of discipline because they can be removed to eat and drink regularly. Using aligners also requires repeatedly getting new trays to make small adjustments over months or years.

The option is unavailable for younger children, although some teens can use them. Extreme cases are rarely treatable with aligners.


Among the biggest concerns that need to be addressed before dealing with orthodontic needs are underlying potential dental problems. Individuals who have cavities or carries will need to get those situations under control before they even talk about braces or aligners, and the same goes for folks who have gum disease in progress.

You should work closely with both your dentist and orthodontist to ensure the greatest chances of success during the alignment process. If you have insurance, make sure your provider is prepared to pay for your preferred treatment option, too.