Dental braces, also known as orthodontic brackets, are common among teenagers and even adults. They can be used to adjust crooked teeth, misaligned upper and lower jaw, and uneven bites, including overbites and underbites. While most dentists can provide braces if requested, a specialist, known as an orthodontist, is usually more qualified to decide which braces are the best in a particular situation. There are many types of braces now available, including ones made of metal, ceramic, and gold, as well as those that go inside the teeth or which are nearly invisible.
Metal dental braces are the oldest type. They've been in use for decades and are made of stainless steel. While they are still expensive, they are still considered the cheapest of all options. Metal braces can stain the surface of the teeth, which is why many people shy away from them in the first place.
Ceramic or clear braces are less visible and look more natural than metal braces, as they blend in with the teeth. They do not stain and are as strong as metal devices, but they also require a longer treatment time and can be a good deal more expensive.
Gold dental braces are the same as traditional metal braces, but they are made of gold-plated steel. There are no advantages to using gold over steel, except from the cosmetic appeal.
Lingual braces are placed on the inside of the teeth. They are the preferred option for people who want their braces to be truly invisible. The biggest drawback is that they can be uncomfortable and result in cuts and sores on the tongue. Speaking can be difficult at first, too.
Invisalign® braces can be a good option for those with relatively minor alignment problems. They are practically invisible, and can be removed for eating and brushing the teeth. These braces are computer-designed and must be changed every two weeks, since they are made of clear plastic and cannot be adjusted. On the downside, they tend to be rather expensive and not every dentist is trained to use them. In fact, orthodontists must be trained by Align Technologies, the company that manufactures them, before they are allowed to use them on patients.