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Orthodontic Options That Don't Use Metal Brackets

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You may want to have your teeth straightened, but you may be concerned that the metal brackets of braces will be too noticeable on your teeth. Many adults have no desire to display a large number of metal brackets each time they smile. Here are a couple of orthodontic options that do not include the placement of metal brackets on the front surface of your teeth:


Invisalign is a type of orthodontic application that includes multiple sets of clear plastic aligners. Each set of aligners is worn for a few weeks before being replaced by the next set in the treatment plan progression.

The aligners are made of transparent, hard plastic that helps shift the teeth into proper alignment.

Since clear plastic aligners are removable, they require a certain amount of discipline in order for the treatment to be effective. The aligners should be left out of the mouth for no more than a couple of hours per day. They are designed to be removed for eating and brushing, but longer spans without the appliance in the mouth can delay treatment progress.

Clear plastic aligners should only be used by people who have a fully developed palate. Thus, they are not prescribed for young children.

Clear Conventional Braces

Clear conventional braces use brackets and an archwire to straighten the teeth. In fact, they are actually designed like conventional metal braces but have brackets made of ceramic instead of metal. Since the ceramic is white like your tooth enamel, it is difficult to notice the braces on the teeth.

Like traditional metal braces, ceramic brackets are bonded to the front surface of the teeth, and an archwire is attached to the brackets using elastic bands. As your orthodontist makes adjustments to the archwire, the teeth are moved into proper position by the resulting alignment force.

Clear Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are also available with clear brackets. However, the design of the brackets is different from that of traditional clear braces. There is a small hole in each bracket through which the archwire can be fed. This eliminates the need for elastic bands during the alignment process. This may seem unimportant, but the elastic bands produce friction that must be overcome by the archwire's alignment force before the teeth can be shifted into position. Thus, conventional braces typically straighten the teeth more slowly and painfully then self-ligating braces do.

To learn more about orthodontic options that are not noticeable when worn, schedule a consultation with an orthodontist in your area or visit