How many different types of braces are there?

What a great question, if you are thinking of straightening crooked teeth there are a variety of different types of brace to choose from, each brace system will have aspects of affordability, clinical suitability and lifestyle choices.

There are primarily 2 different types of brace:

  • Fixed braces.
  • Removable braces.

Fixed braces can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Conventional metal, train track braces.
  • Modern ceramic braces with clear brackets and white wires.
  • Lingual orthodontics with braces on the tongue side of your teeth.

Removable braces can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Inman aligner for rapid orthodontic treatment of the cosmetic front teeth.
  • Clear, invisible or see-through braces such as Invisalign.

Is a retainer the same as braces?

No. After wearing either type of fixed or removable braces you may be required to wear a retainer. A retainer does exactly what the name suggests and retains your teeth in their new position and does not apply any pressure to move your teeth. This is very often in the form of a fixed lower retainer on the tongue side of your lower teeth as well as a removable clear retainer which you wear on your top teeth at night.

Which is the cheapest type of brace?

The Inman aligner is normally the lowest cost type of orthodontic treatment starting from £1500. This is because this type of braces usually only moves the front six teeth into a more cosmetic alignment. Types of movement are limited and if extreme changes are required then a more complex orthodontic system may be preferred. The Inman aligner can also be more visible which sometimes means they are not the preferred option.

Inman aligner Southend

Which type of brace moves teeth the fastest?

The Inman aligner can often achieve results in as little as 8 to 16 weeks. This is because the aligner uses a revolutionary approach to rotating teeth with specially designed springs. You will normally need to have weekly appointments for the first month and then monthly checkups until the treatment is complete.

What is the most invisible type of brace?

The only braces which are truly invisible from the front are lingual orthodontics which are placed on the town side of your teeth. These cannot be seen from the front at all when you smile and are therefore totally invisible. They are not however suitable for everyone and can only be used if there is enough room behind your teeth to fit the braces.

Before lingual orthodontics
After lingual orthodontics

Clear orthodontic aligners, such as Invisalign are also see through and transparent. Whilst not being completely invisible they are virtually imperceptible from a normal talking distance, if you were wearing Invisalign braces most people would never notice.

Almost invisible braces

When would a dentist use ceramic braces?

Orthodontic teeth straightening can often be best accomplished using fixed orthodontics. This gives the dentist the best options to customise the braces to move the teeth in exactly the right way. Many patients nowadays don’t like the look of metal train track braces and so if this level of tooth movement is required then ceramic braces may be an option.

How far should I travel to see a dentist for braces?

Having straight teeth is an investment for the rest of your life so it’s worth finding the best dentist and travelling to see them. Appointments are usually not especially frequent once the braces are fitted and most good dental practices will offer a variety of appointment times making them convenient.

As an example, our dentist in Southend has patients which travel from Rochford (4.2 miles) , Benfleet (7.7 miles), Hadleigh (5.7 miles) and the wider Essex areas to see him. Many dentists are also listed in the dentistry information website in the dentist near me section.

Published by

Adam Carstairs

Adam always knew he wanted to go into dentistry from an early age. Originally from Essex, after qualifying from Guy's Hospital in 1998 he came back to work in the Southend area. He has worked alongside Neale Fraser for over 15 years. Adam has worked in private practice at Royal Mews Dental Practice since 2010 and is keen to provide a relaxing and caring environment for his patients with the help and support of the team around him.