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How are metal braces different than other braces?

Jim Woods
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Most patients call Orthodontic appliances "braces". This the common term used for the parts that your orthodontist uses to straighten your teeth. Braces actually consist of Stainless Steel brackets attached to the teeth, with dental adhesive, and wires that attach to the brackets. The interaction between the brackets and the wires create the forces that move the teeth. The wires are held in place with "ties" or ligatures that attach the wires to the brackets. These "ties" can be either made of plastic or metal. The brackets function as "handles" on the teeth. Your Orthodontist can attach wires, elastics, also known as rubber bands, springs, and other force producing items to the brackets.

There are many types of braces, but they all have the same goal. They all allow the orthodontist to place precise pressure on your teeth in order to not only straightens your teeth but to create a proper bite, allowing your teeth to function as designed. Without proper functioning of your teeth, numerous bad things can happen over time.
It is very important to know the qualifications of who is performing your Orthodontic treatment. An Orthodontist has spent 4 years in dental school but has chosen to further his education with an additional 2-3 years of specialty training. He also limits his practice to Orthodontics allowing him to focus only on Orthodontic treatment. Many Family Dentists now try to perform Orthodontics, but they do not have the training an Orthodontist has! Always choose an Orthodontist for your Orthodontic treatment!
Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

"Braces" are just hardware attached to the teeth that allow your orthodontist to apply the pressure that moves them. It doesn't matter if the braces are made of stainless steel, titanium, crystal, porcelain, or plastic, if they can create the required forces, the teeth will move. Some advantages of metal braces are that they are stronger, smaller, and easier for your doctor and his staff to work on. Shorter time in the orthodontist's chair? Something to think about!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.