Orthodontic Services: Know Your Options

Orthodontic Services: Know Your Options

June 22, 2018

When you think of teeth straightening procedures, you probably immediately think of metal braces. However, there are several other orthodontic services now available to accommodate a large population with different needs. If you are considering getting orthodontic services, it’s important to know all of your options to best benefit your oral and overall health.

Metal Braces

This traditional option remains popular as it is very effective. Metal braces consist of a system of metal brackets cemented to the teeth and connected with metal wires. The orthodontist changes the position of the teeth by tightening the wires on a regular basis. Metal braces:

  • Can only be taken off by the orthodontist at the end of treatment
  • Come with certain food and drink restrictions
  • May have to be worn for three or more years, depending on the severity of the case and how well the treatment goes
  • Can treat most bite and alignment issues


Consisting of a system of clear aligners that are custom-fit to the teeth, this method has become a popular alternative to metal braces because they look better. Invisalign works by applying gradual pressure via the aligners, which are changed out every two weeks to change the position of the teeth. The aligners:

  • Are easily removed, making eating and cleaning easier than with traditional braces
  • Can handle both simple and complicated alignment issues
  • Are nearly invisible

Lingual Braces

Unlike traditional braces, which are attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back, making them practically invisible. Lingual braces:

  • Are not recommended to treat deep overbites as the overbite could put too much pressure on the brackets, potentially causing them to fall off
  • Can be more difficult to clean properly as they are on the back of the teeth and harder to reach
  • Can cause difficulty speaking because of their positioning and the way they fit in the mouth; can also cause sores on the tongue

Ceramic Braces

These braces work in the same way as traditional metal braces, but consist of ceramic brackets instead of metal. They are less visible than metal braces because the brackets are tooth-colored, but the ceramics can stain, so there are still restrictions on food and drink.


Retainers are part of basically all orthodontic treatments. Regardless of which type is used, once the braces are removed, the teeth will want to shift back into their previous positions. Retainers (top, bottom, or both) are necessary to hold the teeth in their new places and will have to be worn for at least six months following treatment. Some patients may wear them long-term as well.

Though they are most commonly seen in tweens and teens, orthodontic services can be used by adults as well. They can be used by patients of any age as long as the teeth and gums are in good condition and are judged to be able to withstand the pressure of supporting the braces. If you are considering improving the appearance of your smile by straightening your teeth, book an appointment with your dentist for a consultation to find the best treatment for you.