Invisalign Braces Invisalign braces are great for people who do not have severe problems. The “braces” consist of strong plastic trays that are fabricated are great for people who do not have severe problems. The “braces” consist of strong plastic trays that are fabricated especially for you. They are indeed invisible. If your bite is not severely off and your teeth are not severely crooked, then Invisalign would be a good choice. You would be able to get your teeth straightened without anyone seeing that you are wearing “braces”! This appeals to many adults, especially people who wore traditional braces as children and then need more treatment later in life. However, if your bite is very bad, if you need extractions or require headgear or other appliances, then Invisalign will not work for you; you will need to wear traditional braces. Your orthodontist only has some control over your Invisalign treatment. The treatment trays are computer-fabricated by Align Technologies, the company that makes Invisalign. Orthodontists and dentists that offer Invisalign receive special training from Align Technologies.
Ceramic and “Tooth Colored” Braces
Ceramic brackets are made of composite materials. They are very strong and generally do not stain. Three popular brands are Clarity and Transcend, made by 3M Unitek; and Mystique, made by GAC. Adults like to choose ceramic because they “blend in” with the teeth and are less noticeable than metal. These are the type of braces actor Tom Cruise had. The ligatures (tiny rubber bands) that hold the arch wire on to the ceramic brackets are often white or clear. This looks great at first, but the ligatures can stain. Unless you eat a lot of curry, smoke, or drink a lot of black coffee, this generally isn’t a problem. Note that the ligatures are changed each time you get an adjustment — usually, monthly. It’s only the ligatures that stain, not the brackets themselves!
Metal, Viazis, and Self-Ligating Braces
Metal brackets can be silver or golden. The golden brackets look a bit more “jewelry-like” and are often a popular choice with young women. Metal brackets are very strong and can withstand most types of treatment. At first they may irritate your gums, but after a few weeks, when your cheeks get “toughened up” they are not a problem anymore. Most traditional metal braces require an elastic o-shaped rubber band, called a ligature to hold the arch wire onto the bracket. Sometimes orthodontists use metal tie wires (little wires which are twisted around the bracket) in place of elastic ligatures. In the “old days”, metal braces were not just brackets, but bands that wrapped around the entire tooth. Nowadays, people wear small metal brackets that are glued to the front of each tooth (a big improvement!) Those old-fashioned bands are usually reserved for molars or teeth with fillings that spill to the outside surface of a tooth. Metal brackets tend to be less expensive than other types of brackets. In addition, you can make them colorful with ligatures that come on a rainbow of colors.