Orthodontic treatment has drastically changed in the last decade. Many types of appliances are now available to fix jaw and dental problems. Clear plastic aligners are also part of most common types of braces that orthodontists offer.

Dr. Rooz Khosravi | Board Certified Orthodontist

Different types of braces

When it comes to braces, there are two main types: fixed braces and removable braces (clear aligners). The main difference in these two category is that clear aligners should be worn for 20-22 hours a day to move teeth.

Metal braces

Dentistry came along so far. The conventional metal braces is not the only option yet majority of patients still love this kind of braces. Oral hygiene and flossing with this type of braces need a little bit of practice to master.

Digital technology also improved the traditional metal braces. Digital metal braces are similar to the tradition option with improvements in how orthodontists precisely place the brackets on the teeth and use custom programmed archwires.

Metal braces come with colors. Elastic ties that hold an archwire in metal braces come in various colors.

Metal Braces

Who is a good candidate for metal braces?

  • patients that are interested in colored braces
  • esthetic is not the main concern
  • patients with very complex treatment and not interested in lingual braces

What are the common brands of metal braces?

Ceramic braces

Ceramic brackets also known as clear braces were the first attempt to create cosmetic orthodontic options. Tooth-colored elastic bands hold the wire in these brackets.

The wires for clear braces are metal so this esthetic option is really a partial cosmetic choice.

Because of the physical properties of ceramic material most of ceramic braces actually have a larger profile compared to metal braces. Some patients are not comfortable with this treatment option. Also, the tooth-colored elastic bands can stain and turn the brackets all yellow.

Digital Custom Braces

Who is a good candidate for ceramic braces?

  • Patients that are looking for a partially cosmetic orthodontic appliances.
  • Patients that like to mix and match metal braces with clear braces.

What are the common brands of ceramic braces?

Self ligating braces

One type of metal or ceramic braces is self-ligating braces. These braces are easier to clean. Claims suggest that self-ligating brackets offers shorter treatment time and less friction of archwires yet this was scientifically rejected.

Digital braces can be combined with self-ligating braces which offer a great option for orthodontic treatment with fewer appointments.

Who is a good candidate for self-ligating braces?

  • Patients that don’t want colored braces
  • Patients that are looking for fewer appointments and virtual appointments (tele-orthodontics)
  • Patients that like to maintain a great oral hygiene during their treatment.

What are the common brands of self-ligating braces?

  • Damon Smile
  • Speed Braces
  • In-Ovation

Esthetic orthodontic options

Adults and some teens mostly look for a cosmetic options when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Lingual braces and clear aligner plastics (Invisalign) are the invisible options of braces.


Clear aligner treatment also known as Invisalign braces is an esthetic orthodontic treatment. Invisalign treatment is basically an orthodontic treatment rendered by aligners or plastic trays. Aligner treatment time depends on complexity of dental problems. For example, correcting deep overbite with Invisalign takes slightly longer than lingual braces.

Invisalign treatment or aligner therapy is a good option for the right patient of all ages.

Invisalign Bellevue
Clear Aligner | Invisalign

Who is a good candidate for clear aligners?

  • Patients that are committed to wear their aligner plastics 20-22 hours per day
  • Patients that like to remove their appliances when they can
  • Patients that are not interested in braces
  • Patients that are interested in an esthetic option but can’t afford lingual braces

What are the common brands of clear aligners?

  • Invisalign
  • Spark Aligners
  • Suresmile Aligners
  • 3M Clarity
  • ClearCorrect
Invisalign alternative
PORTH Clear Aligner

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are the ultimate esthetic option of orthodontic treatment. These braces are placed in the back of your teeth and discreetly move your teeth. There are many differences between lingual braces vs Invisalign. The main differences is compliance and cost of lingual braces.

Braces behind the teeth
Lingual Braces with rubber bands

Who is a good candidate for clear aligners?

  • Patients that are not interested in challenges associated with Invisalign (wearing the aligners or losing the aligners)
  • Patients that are looking for truly invisible orthodontic treatment

What are the common brands of lingual braces?

  • SureSmile by OraMetrix
  • Incognito by 3M
  • Harmony
Lingual Brackets
Lingual Custom Brackets

Common questions on types of braces:

Which type of braces are best?

The best type of braces for you is the one that matches your life style. Certain orthodontic treatment plan works better with Invisalign and lingual braces.

What are the 3 options for braces?

Metal braces, lingual braces and clear braces are the three choices. Invisalign or clear aligners are the alternative to braces.

What is the most popular type of braces?

Traditional braces are the most popular type of braces. Digital braces are slowly replacing this type of braces.

Which type of braces work faster?

Custom digital braces are the fastest option of braces. These braces have treatment plans in their archwires and the position of the brackets.

What type of braces are stainless steel?

Most brackets are made of stainless steel and nickel.

What is the best type of braces for children?

Kids often get partial braces. The best type of braces for children are metal brackets. Kids that play sports need a mouth guard to protect their teeth.

What are the two types of metal braces?

Traditional metal braces and self-ligating braces are the two types of metal braces.

What is the difference between braces and retainers?

Braces help moving teeth. After orthodontic treatment, patients wear retainer to hold their teeth. Retainers come with various types, they are either fixed or removable retainers.