The Different Types of Braces

Every option has an equally excellent or better option, or so the saying goes. These days it seems like we live in the times of options galore. Just when you think you know what you want, you find it in a better color or for a better price because, well, options. Think about how many choices you made just to get dressed this morning. Sometimes the decision-making can get overwhelming, and we just need someone to lay it all out for us and help us decide between some of those never-ending options. 

While Dr. Ross Hunter and his skilled team may not be able to help you choose the best shirt to wear with those pants or if you should buy that new purse, when it comes to the different types of braces, they have the experience and knowledge to guide you to the choice that best fit your smile needs. Don’t get yourself all worked up in an online search trying to compare the different types of braces. Our Hunter Family Orthodontics team has broken down each orthodontic treatment option so you can quickly determine the differences. 

The Different Types of Braces

We understand that getting your teeth straightened with orthodontics is a big decision. After all, your smile is your first impression in life. Here at Hunter Family Orthodontics, we respect your reasons for wanting to improve the way you look and feel. We’ll work with you every step to ensure your orthodontic care with us is among the best experiences you’ve ever had. With ever-improving dental technology, we assure you get the latest orthodontic treatments here. Let us help you make the best investment in your smile!

Conventional Metal Braces

Metal or traditional braces have been around for many decades and are the original powerhouses of orthodontic treatment. Thanks to technological advancements in orthodontics, today’s metal braces are smaller, lighter, and much more effective at significant adjustment needs than their bulky predecessors. 

Traditional metal braces work by attaching a metal bracket to the front sides of your teeth and securing those brackets together with an archwire. This archwire is held on by elastic ties that come in various colors for ultimate personalization. Every 4-8 weeks, your orthodontist adjusts the archwire to create slight but precise tooth movement for the desired outcome. 

Clear Braces

Clear braces are an up-and-coming option similar to conventional metal braces. This ingenious option works just like metal braces, except this method swaps the metal brackets for clear or tooth-colored polycrystalline ceramic brackets, making them virtually undetectable. Many of our teen patients have even found that bright-colored elastic ties can create an almost neon effect that really pops!

Metal braces are known for their durability and strength. Ceramic braces are also tough, but they are made from a different, more fragile material that is more likely to chip or crack. Traditional braces are also better at tolerating pressure than newer ceramic ones.

The Different Types of Braces


Clear aligners like Invisalign have gained popularity in the last decade as technology has made them more inconspicuous, efficient, and budget-friendly. Similar to the post-braces retainer trays they evolved from, Invisalign clear aligners fit comfortably over your teeth and make minor adjustments over time for patients needing simple corrections as well as for patients who have mild to moderate dental problems like misaligned teeth, large overbite, no jaw alignment problems, or those who have gaps in their front teeth- an open bite. With this incognito treatment option, your smile is the only thing they’ll see. 

Invisalign for Teens

Here at Hunter Family Orthodontics, we also offer Invisalign for Teens. This adolescent aligner option places an inconspicuous dot on the back of the aligners to help keep your teen accountable for their time wearing them. It also provides extra space for molars that have yet to erupt. 

Lingual Braces

While lingual braces can provide highly-customized treatment, they are one of the least common treatment options here at Hunter Family Orthodontics. This unique option places the metal brackets similar to traditional ones on the tooth’s backside or lingual side. Placing the appliances on the backs of the teeth makes your treatment completely invisible. It is more efficient and versatile that the conventional front-side application, making some exceptional cases easier to treat or reducing the time you need to wear your braces. Lingual braces work in the same way that traditional braces do by applying gentle pressure to your teeth. 

While lingual braces provide advantages that no other type of braces offer, there are some obstacles that can occur with this treatment option. Because they are placed on the tongue-side of the teeth, some patients experience slight changes to their speech and irritation to their tongue. These symptoms usually present shortly after the braces are applied and go away within a couple of weeks as your mouth becomes accustomed to your new appliances. 

Self-Ligating Braces

Another common option for braces offered at Hunter Family Orthodontics is self-ligating braces. This technique uses metal brackets and wire similar to traditional metal braces, but instead of using elastic bands, it uses brackets with unique doors and clips that secure the wire. This design allows the brackets to move along the wire a bit more freely and can cause less irritation and discomfort that is commonly associated with elastic adjustments. 

How Do I Know Which is Best for Me?

We know it can be a tough decision, especially when there is no way for you to know what your tooth and jaw structure look like just from looking in the mirror. We will walk you through a complete oral examination when you come in for your initial consultation. During this tour through your teeth, we will take x-rays and photos to analyze your tooth shape, smile display, and all aesthetic aspects of your lips and mouth. This is done to show you how your smile would benefit from orthodontic treatment and to help us see the functional elements and needs of your teeth and jaws. We want you to know exactly how your face, jaws, and smile would improve from orthodontic treatment and the best way to achieve that goal.

The Different Types of Braces

For an Expert’s Opinion, Choose Hunter Family Orthodontics

Our compassionate team at Hunter Family Orthodontics in The Woodlands, is here to walk you through the plethora of orthodontic options available to get you the smile that matches your personality. Step by step, we will work alongside you and your family through the treatment and logistics options until we reach a perfect result for you or your child.

Whether conventional metal braces, clear braces, or clear aligners like Invisalign, we are dedicated to giving your the best personalized care using the latest in orthodontic technologies and treatments. We’ll treat you and your family like you’re our own! Schedule your FREE consultation to let us help you love your smile!