What Are the Different Types of Adult Orthodontics?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
Invisible orthodontics like Invisalign have become popular with adults that need orthodontic work.
Invisible orthodontics like Invisalign have become popular with adults that need orthodontic work.

Adult orthodontics — or braces as they are more commonly known — are designed to straighten a person's teeth over time. The styles and efficiency of orthodontics have evolved and significantly improved over the past few centuries, and there are now four main types to choose from. These include invisible orthodontics, metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces. The costs of each option are relatively similar and ultimately depend on the region of the world in which one's orthodontist is located.

Invisible orthodontics is one of the newest and most popular options. This is mainly due to the fact they are undetectable and do not have the aesthetically displeasing appearance of other types. One of the main companies offering invisible orthodontics is Invisalign®.

Throughout the process, a series of different shaped aligners are used to gradually reshape teeth into a straight position. Unlike traditional braces, aligners can be removed at any time to make things like eating, drinking and flossing easier. In addition, there are no wires that need adjusting like normal braces require.

Metal braces are a more traditional type of adult orthodontics, and are normally made of stainless steel. Brackets are placed on the front of each individual tooth and a wire connects each bracket. Over time, the brackets and wire are adjusted by an orthodontist in order to properly align the teeth.

Once the most common option, metal has slightly waned in popularity in recent years. This is most likely due to the appearance that many people find aesthetically unappealing. In addition, certain foods and gum can get stuck on the brackets which causes problems.

Another type of adult orthodontics is ceramic braces. They are similar to metal braces, but aren't quite as visible because they have more of a clear appearance. These are often a good option for people looking for a more subtle look who aren't interested in invisible orthodontics. The drawback to this type is that they can sometimes become stained by certain foods and beverages.

Lingual braces are an additional type of adult orthodontics. They are placed on the back of teeth, which makes them a good option for people concerned with aesthetics and people who play woodwind instruments. Like metal and ceramic styles, lingual braces make use of brackets and wire to shift the shape of teeth over time. One downside is that sometimes they can affect a person's speech for a period of time. As a result, some people will develop a slight lisp for awhile.

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    • Invisible orthodontics like Invisalign have become popular with adults that need orthodontic work.
      By: Christoph Hähnel
      Invisible orthodontics like Invisalign have become popular with adults that need orthodontic work.