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Braces 101: What Are the Different Types of Braces?

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No one truly looks forward to having braces inserted; regardless of the different types of braces available. What’s to love about metal being glued onto your teeth, having the food you can eat restricted, and then never receiving a true answer about when they’re going to be taken off?

A few decades ago, there weren’t even different types of braces to choose from. Instead, there was only one type and in many cases, they were accompanied by the ever-flattering headgear. Not only did you look like Jaws from the James Bond movies, but now you could look like a true alien. Wow, what a great deal!

different types of braces metal braces

Going to the dentist is already hard enough, and now there is going to be a second person poking around in your kid’s mouth.

Even though braces are a pain and your children won’t let you forget how you’re torturing them, they are truly worth it in the end. It’s incredible to see how these metal fixtures could turn crooked teeth into a Hollywood smile.

Nowadays, there are plenty of different braces options besides classic metal ones. We’re going to run through the different types of braces here for a general overview.

Metal Braces

These good old metal braces are also called traditional braces and for good reason. When someone mentions the word braces, you’re likely to have the metal ones immediately pop into your mind.

They’ve been around for years and are the tried and true types. In terms of your wallet, they are by far the cheapest of all braces options but come at the cost of being the ugliest and most noticeable. But hey, at least you get to choose the colors!

There have been some advancements on the braces, such as heat-activated archwires. These use your body heat to help move teeth more quickly, meaning they can be taken off soon.

Lingual Braces

The first of our different types of braces is lingual braces. These are the cooler cousins to your traditional metal braces. Lingual braces are exactly the same as your metal ones but instead of going on the outside of your teeth, they go on the inside and are hidden from view.

With lingual braces, you are not showing off your new metal mouth to the world but it comes at a cost, both to your checkbook and your personal situation.

Lingual braces are going to cost a bit more, about $1000 more on average, and not everyone is eligible for them. Those with severe gaps or severe cases of tooth realignment may not be able to receive lingual braces.

In addition, they are much more uncomfortable and harder to adjust when coming in for appointments. But if having metal brackets on the outside is a faux pas for your or your kids, then this is an option.

Ceramic Braces

Just like your pottery class, you can use your skills to straighten teeth. Ceramic braces are not much different than metal braces, except they are the same color as teeth or completely clear. Some choose to call these braces “camouflage” braces, and for good reason.

Some orthodontists even use teeth-colored wires for the entire blending experience. You won’t lose any functionality either when it comes to ceramic braces as they move teeth just as well as metal brackets.

Compared to other different types of braces, ceramic braces are a bit more costly than metal braces but other than that, there aren’t any major downsides.


We’ve arrived at the newest braces trend: Invisalign. When it comes to different types of braces, these are truly unique. Invisalign is a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that are put in used and replaced once every two weeks.

They are essentially invisible and users have almost no restrictions on what they can or cannot eat. It’s almost like you’re not even using braces!

That isn’t to say they don’t come with a downside. Invisalign is incredibly expensive and is only available for adults and teenagers who have had all their teeth come in. Losing them is tough as well and treatment tends to be longer than regular braces.

Which of These Different Types of Braces is Right for You?

When it comes to determining which type of braces is the right decision for you, speak to your orthodontist. If you don’t have an orthodontist, make sure you start searching for one right away. In a big city like Houston, finding someone who can advise you on braces is important.

Look for someone with experience in your particular situation, whether you are getting them for yourself or your children. They can help you decide which of the different types of braces are best, and get you on your way to having a gorgeous smile!

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