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Orthodontist • Grass Valley, CA

Orthodontics Blog

The Choices in Braces Today

As a practicing Orthodontist for over 26 years, there have been many changes in the types of braces available to help patient achieve their goals of healthy and beautiful smiles.

When I graduated from my Orthodontic Specialty residency, the only braces that were available for patient were metal ones that used silver ties to hold the wire in place. Within a year of my graduation, clear braces became available as well as braces that had different color ties to hold the wires.  Braces that went behind the teeth also became available around this time. The year was 1986.

Let’s fast forward to 2012.

Today, there are multiple options available for patients when it comes to “braces.”  I will explain the various options in this article and help you make a more educated decision when deciding on what type of braces are best for you and your family.

Traditional Metal Braces

These braces have been the workhorse for Orthodontists for the last century.  They are the most used type of braces.  This type requires the wire to be tied in with a silver wire or colored ties.  Patients get their colors changed each visit and that action along with changing the wires “activates” the teeth and helps them move into the correct position.

Clear Braces

These braces are similar to the metal braces as they are glued to the teeth and require a tie (usually clear) to hold the wire in place.  Clear braces can be made of plastic or ceramic.  The plastic braces will tend to discolor as they pick up the color of food you eat (think Tupperware).  Ceramic clear braces are the most common and will not discolor.  The tie that wraps around the brace is however made of plastic and can discolor.  Fortunately, these are changed every visit!

Self-Ligating Metal or Clear Braces

These are the newest style of braces.  These type of braces do not need a wire tie or color tie to hold the wire in place.  These type of braces have a “door” or hinge that closes around the wire and holds it in place.  All the major manufacturers of braces make these type of braces and have the branded names of Inovation™, Empower™, Damon™, Speed™and Smart Clip™ to name a few.

Lingual Braces

These are braces that go on the back of your teeth facing your tongue.  Many patients like these because you cannot see them.  The disadvantage is that they can be difficult to keep clean and can irritate your tongue. The biggest brand name is known as Incognito™.


™ is the newest addition to the line up of braces.  They are clear, removable aligners that are worn full-time like braces, but can be removed for eating and brushing.  They have the advantage of being removable and virtually invisible.  They are the perfect solution for adults and some teens who are looking for a more cosmetic option and one that allows better oral hygiene.


All the options mentioned in this article have advantages and disadvantages as well as differences in fees and treatment times.

The type of braces that are best for you should be determined by an Orthodontic Specialist.  Only an Orthodontist with advanced training (typically 2-3 years of full-time study after a dental degree) can best prescribe the type of braces that will work best for you.

With so many different choices today, you and your family should have no problem finding a braces option that works best for your goals of a healthy and beautiful smile.

We offer a complimentary consultation including photos and x-ray and invite you to call our office at 916-435-8000 to make an appointment for you and your family to find out what type of “braces” is best for your individual treatment goals.

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