What Are the Different Types of Braces?
 What Are the Different Types of Braces?

What Are the Different Types of Braces?

When most people think of braces, they imagine the metal braces as seen on awkward TV teens. These are still very much a part of the orthodontic world today, but there are several other types of braces you could have applied as well.

Here at Orthodontist of Santa Barbara, we make it our priority to help you get the care you need for the most comfortable, affordable, and reasonable treatment plan possible. That means, we help you select the right kinds of braces to get for yourself or a child.

The first step in the process is learning what types of braces exist.

Traditional Metal Braces

The most commonly known type of braces are traditional metal braces. These use metal brackets and arch-wires to move your teeth into the proper alignment necessary for the healthiest, happiest smile possible. The braces work over a period of time (typically between 18 and 22 months). Some orthodontists use heat-activated arch-wires with metal braces to help speed up the process, as well.

Advances over time have allowed us to drastically improve metal braces from what they once were. Now, they’re smaller, work faster, they’re more comfortable, and more effective than they used to be. Metal braces are most often used for corrections for children and teens.

The braces are adhered to the teeth with safe adhesives and connected to the wire. The wire is tied into the braces with the elastic bands. Then, adjustments are made every 4 to 8 weeks. You may choose to customize the color of your elastics at each adjustment.

This kind of braces is permanent until final removal when treatment is completed. Many parents choose this style of braces for their kids because of this reason.

Ceramic Porcelain Braces

Ceramic or porcelain braces are, as the name indicates, made of a special ceramic material intended to look more natural in your mouth. The ceramic is designed to match your teeth color as closely as possible, which has earned them the nickname of invisible braces.

They function the same way traditional metal braces do, but they have a much more natural look than metal braces. Arch-wires can also come in natural tooth coloration, so they’re even more discreet. Teens and adults often choose these braces for their aesthetics.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces work very similarly to ceramic and metal braces. They’re also available in both materials. They rely on braces adhered to the teeth, with wires that help to realign teeth into proper form. However, self-ligating braces use clips to hold the wire in place, rather than elastics.

Self-ligating braces tend to have a slightly shorter treatment period than traditional or clear braces because they’re easier to adjust.

These braces are one of the better choices for those who are more sensitive to discomfort, who have fear surrounding dental care, or for folks who have developmental delays.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are another type of braces you may opt for. These are placed behind your teeth, making them virtually invisible. They are created using the latest, state-of-the-art technology and are fully customized to the shape of your teeth and your treatment plan goals.

How Much Do Orthodontic Treatments in Santa Barbara Cost?

Orthodontics of Santa Barbara offers more than one type of orthodontic treatment at our office in Santa Barbara, CA. Therefore, it is difficult to give an exact cost, especially if an individual has dental insurance. On average, braces or Invisalign can be several thousand dollars. However, Orthodontics of Santa Barbara is committed to offering our dental patients cost-effective treatments, so reach out to us today to learn more!

They work the way that the previously mentioned braces do, they’re just situated behind the teeth. They are less visible than the others, however, but some patients find them uncomfortable for the tongue. They also tend to take longer than the other types of braces, so they’re not as popular. They are, however, most commonly chosen by adults who want invisible braces but have more intensive orthodontic care needs than would work with Invisalign.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, most well-known as Invisalign clear aligner trays, are an extremely popular option of braces for both adults and teens. They are the nearly invisible clear tray aligners that are removable, allow for easier brushing and flossing, and require shorter, less frequent visits to the orthodontist. They are the most natural looking option available.

Invisalign aligners tend to provide faster adjustments than other styles of braces in many cases and are great for patients who are capable of upkeeping a high-quality oral care routine. The main drawback is that they do not work for more complex orthodontic alignment cases.

How Do I Choose the Best Braces?

There are several things to consider as you choose the right orthodontic treatment plan for you or your child.


For many, the aesthetics are a big part of the choosing process. The type of braces you choose may suit your lifestyle better than another in many ways, including the aesthetics. They can be important, certainly, but they shouldn’t be the main deciding factor as you choose.


One of the more important details that can impact your choice is your budget. The different types of braces run at different costs, so be sure to ask about pricing on the types of braces you are most interested in and discuss payment plans with us. We aim to work with you to make your goals a reality, including working with the types of braces you would most prefer.

Discipline with Dental Hygiene

Probably the most important aspect of choosing your braces is going to be your discipline with dental hygiene. Folks who aren’t as meticulous will need the easiest to manage types of braces rather than Invisalign clear aligner trays, for example.

Metal braces take the least discipline, which is part of why they’re the more popular choice for kids (or at least their parents). Invisalign trays probably require the most discipline because not only do you need to maintain your standard oral hygiene care, but you also need to faithfully wear the trays about 22 hours per day in order for them to work. Since they’re removable, that takes added layers of discipline.

Get Your Perfect Smile this New Year!

Whatever types of braces you think might work for you, we’re here to help you make that final decision and create the right orthodontic care plan that meets all of your needs. We at Orthodontist of Santa Barbara are here to help!

Call us today at (805) 979-9070 to set your initial consultation appointment and we’ll get you on your way to that perfect smile!


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