The Different Types Of Braces

For many years, traditional braces were the only option for anyone hoping to straighten their smile. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a number of advancements in orthodontic techniques and technology. These have led to an exciting range of treatment options for patients to choose from, including metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign clear aligners. Here at Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer patients all of these innovative treatments from our Charlottesville and Crozet offices! 

With these methods, our expert team can successfully treat a wide range of orthodontic issues, including:

  • crowded teeth
  • gaps between teeth
  • protruding teeth
  • overbite
  • underbite
  • crossbite
  • impacted teeth
  • and more!

Braces are the most common treatment option, with a proven track record of helping patients achieve a healthier smile. Today’s braces are more comfortable and effective than ever before, and can work for patients of all ages. If you’ve been exploring the idea of braces, you may be wondering what you can expect from the treatment process. Let’s take a closer look at the types of braces we offer, how they differ, and how we can use this orthodontic favorite to give you a confident smile you love!  

Braces 101

Traditional braces of all kinds are very good at correcting a range of orthodontic issues, from simple to complex. As a fixed appliance, they can sometimes work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might, which has the potential to shorten your treatment time. This will vary from case to case, however. While there’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long a patient will need to be in braces, the average tends to be anywhere from 18-36 months. Signs of improvement can often be seen in just a short period of time, though, which can be very encouraging for new patients!

Maintaining braces can come with a learning curve, but with a little patience and practice, it becomes second nature. A good dental hygiene routine is essential for patients in braces, and while brushing and flossing around them can be time-consuming, there are several accessories designed to make this easier. Water piks help rinse any hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks can assist with flossing. We recommend that all our patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and floss every night before bed to keep the teeth and gums healthy and clean.

Crunchy and sticky foods can damage brackets and wires, so braces patients will need to avoid these throughout the treatment process. Although this can be frustrating, it won’t last forever! All of these minor inconveniences will be more than worth it once your braces come off and we reveal your beautiful new smile! 

Follow-up visits are an important part of every treatment plan. Patients in braces can expect follow-up visits with us in one of our offices every 4-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, Dr. Hamer or Dr. Glassick will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and they may choose to replace the wire as well. These check-ups tend to be fairly quick, so you can get back to school, work, or home as soon as possible! 

There can be some slight residual soreness after each adjustment, but it should only be temporary. These visits are a very important part of the overall treatment plan and help us ensure the best results in the least amount of time. 

Metal braces

Metal braces are one of the most recognizable symbols of orthodontics, and also the most common type of treatment. Thanks to a mix of stainless steel, nickel, and other high-quality metals, the brackets are very durable and long-lasting.

Modern metal braces are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be, and they’re also customizable, thanks to a variety of fun colored bands to choose from! These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Since they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments do, metal braces also tend to be a slightly more affordable option. The overall strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of traditional braces keep them the top treatment for orthodontics, year after year.

Ceramic braces

Sometimes referred to as clear braces, tooth-colored braces, or esthetic braces, ceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do, with the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are about the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile for a more subtle straightening option.

Although ceramic braces are tough, the material they are made from can be prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can tolerate more pressure than ceramic ones, they may be a better option for those who have severe corrections that need to be made.

Ceramic brackets are often slightly more costly than metal brackets, as well. Since they can be more expensive and are more prone to breakage, we believe ceramic braces are generally better suited to adults and older teens. That said, ceramic braces can be an excellent option for many patients. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly discreet and efficient way to straighten smiles!

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

While they’re technically an alternative to braces, we think Invisalign deserves a mention here, too. This unique system is made up of a series of clear, removable aligners that are customized to fit comfortably over the patient’s teeth. 

Like traditional braces, the aligners use gentle pressure to gradually move the teeth into the desired positions. To achieve this, patients must wear their aligners 20-22 hours per day throughout the course of treatment. They will also be responsible for replacing each aligner with the next in the system every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. 

Invisalign offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than regular braces do. There are no food restrictions since aligners are removed when eating or drinking, and it’s easy to maintain a good hygiene routine since you don’t have to work around wires and brackets. You simply remove the aligner, then brush and floss the way you normally would!

The Different Types Of Braces

Find the best braces for you at Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics

Your smile is one in a million, and we’ll treat it that way! We know what works for one patient may not be the best choice for another. That’s why our doctors create a personalized treatment plan for every patient based on their unique needs, preferences, and goals. With many years of combined experience, you can be certain that Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick will only recommend the treatment method that works best for your smile. Want to learn more about how our braces can improve your oral health and transform your smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!