A Complete Guide for Orthodontic Appliances and Their Benefits

orthodontic appliances

Orthodontics brings many benefits. As patients, we feel thrilled to have a beautiful smile. But orthodontic treatment has a more significant impact on dental hygiene, oral health, and overall healthiness. 

Straight teeth are easier to clean and reduce the possibility of plaque formation that leads to tooth decay. As a result, teeth are less prone to developing cavities and gingivitis, which might result in costly dental treatments.

Additionally, a better bite contributes to improving the functionality of the entire gastric system. In some cases, orthodontic treatment can also reduce sleep apnea, and it helps harmonize the facial structure of some patients. 

But how does orthodontic treatment work? In summarizing, an orthodontist applies physical strain to teeth producing a controlled movement of dental pieces using orthodontic appliances. 

So, orthodontic appliances are a key element for the success of most orthodontic treatments. This article addresses the orthodontic devices used by orthodontics to help patients get a beautiful and healthy smile.   

Metal Braces

Traditional braces have stainless steel as the main component. They are often referred to as traditional as they are the most common type of braces used for decades. 

Metal braces are robust and proven effective in solving complex malocclusion cases. The orthodontic mechanism includes a set of brackets cemented on each tooth and U-shaped wires clipped to the brackets that gently exert strain to move teeth.  

Despite its high effectiveness, metal braces had slowly given space for less notorious cosmetic appliances. Also, traditional metal braces make oral hygiene a tedious task for patients requiring extra attention to detail in brushing and flossing.

How Much Are Metal Braces?

The average cost of traditional metal braces is $3,500, including insurance coverage.

Ceramic Braces

Clear ceramic braces present a variation in the components used on traditional braces. The brackets cemented on teeth incorporate a translucent ceramic material mimicking the teeth’ color. 

Clear ceramic braces are a great option to treat severe malocclusions while favoring aesthetics. However, despite their functionality, they are less durable than stainless steel braces and more expensive. 

However, few people could deny that less noticeable clear ceramic braces outweigh their increased costs compared to metal braces. Also, thanks to technological developments, brackets are smaller in size.  

How Much Are Clear Ceramic Braces?

Ceramic Braces have an average cost of $6,000.

Self-Ligating Braces

At first sight, self-ligating braces are similar to metal braces. However, as part of the treatment with traditional braces, an orthodontist uses ligatures which are elastic bands attached to the brackets, to exert extra strain and hold the wires in position.

Self-ligating braces use a different mechanism. The brackets have a tiny system that resembles a sliding door or a clip that, when closed, holds the wire. Self-ligating braces decrease the possibility of food sticking or staying trapped in ligatures, improving oral hygiene.

The main difference between traditional and self-ligating braces is their mechanics. Traditional metal brace ligatures tightly press the archwires against the bracket’s inner walls. On the other hand, self-ligating braces clips allow some teeth movement reducing the friction and discomfort in patients.

Ligatures (rubber bands) tightly press the archwire against the bracket’s inner wall. Self-ligating braces have either clips or sliding doors, allowing teeth to move more freely, and causing less friction.

The possibility of teeth freely moving help reduce the discomfort of patients, and their mechanical advancements include fewer adjustment visits to the orthodontist. Also, depending on the case, an orthodontist might recommend active self-ligating (ASLB) or passive self-ligating (PSLB) braces. Here we include the main differences.

Active Self-Ligating Braces

For active self-ligating braces, the mechanism includes a set of brackets with a clip-type door that holds the wire in position. The clips lock the archwire tight, producing strain, and efficiently moving teeth into the desired place. 

Passive Self-Ligating Braces

The passive self-ligating system incorporates a sliding door in the bracket, allowing a more flexible tooth movement and a less prominent archwire. The main mechanical difference between active and passive self-ligating braces refers to traction. 

Traction is the force transmitted across an interface between two bodies resulting in motion. More flexible traction enhances comfort during the displacement of the teeth.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are metal braces but barely noticeable. But ¿How do they do that? The brackets are cemented in the back of teeth, making them invisible at first sight. This ingenious mechanism is an esthetically sound and effective option.

However, Lingual braces’ drawback is they are harder to clean than conventional front cemented braces. In addition, food residues and debris might stay unseeable, making oral hygiene a complicated task.  

Clear Aligners

Invisible clear aligners are slowly gaining an outstanding share of the orthodontic systems market. Clear aligners consist of several sets of transparent plastic trays patients wear every two weeks before switching to a new pair of appliances.

There are several benefits associated with clear aligners. Similarly, along with the massive benefits clear aligners present, there are also some drawbacks associated with these orthodontic alignment systems.

Enhanced Oral Hygiene

Patients can remove their appliances before eating during meals and can brush and floss normally, eliminating the possibility of unwanted residues getting trapped between brackets and wires.

Esthetically Sound Option

Clear aligners are almost invisible.

Enhanced Comfort

Technology improvements in material composites paired with a gentle, almost snugly traction reduces discomfort while delivering outstanding results.

Increased Effectiveness

Clear alignment systems deliver fast and reliable results for moderate to average malocclusion cases with shorter spans than conventional brackets. Some treatments can speed up to 6 months in comparison with traditional brackets.

Clear Aligners Are Not Intended To Treat Severe Malocclusions

Clear alignment systems, in general, are the perfect solution to treat moderate to average malocclusion cases effectively; however, there are complex cases that require the use of conventional braces. 

Increased Costs

Several brands in the market offer clear alignment devices, and their prices vary according to the services provided. However, the leading brand in this segment, Invisalign, can have a higher cost depending on factors including malocclusion severity, treatment time, and practice facility location. 

How Much Is Invisalign?

Invisalign’s average cost is around $5,700.


After completing orthodontic treatment with braces, orthodontists recommend patients use retainers to prevent treatment regression and hold the newly positioned teeth straight. There are two types of retainers recommended according to each patient’s needs:

Removable Retainers

A removable retainer is a plastic retainer with a palatal shape and a wire guard that holds the positioned teeth in place. Orthodontists recommend using these apparatuses at all times after completion of treatment to reduce the possibility of teeth reverting to their former position.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are pretty different from removable retainers. This type of orthodontic appliance is permanent and consists of a sturdy metal wire bonded to the back of teeth. 

Other Orthodontic Appliances

Some orthodontic appliances serve to treat complex malocclusions as complementary measures for braces or clear aligners, or, in some cases, they are part of a staged process. Here we include a short list of other orthodontic appliances with a brief explanation of their intended use:   


Mouthguards serve to protect the mouth from injuries that might occur during an activity like a contact sport.

Tongue Cribs

A tongue crib is a wire device that resembles a crib supported with two rings attached to the back of the mouth. A tongue crib prevents the tongue from pushing towards the front teeth, which could produce unwanted displacement of teeth to the front.

Metal Bands

A metal band is a metal ring that covers the perimeter of a tooth like a band that goes around the tooth. Orthodontists cement these bands with a composite that contains fluoride and helps prevent decalcification of a molar during orthodontic treatment.


A headgear is a device connected to teeth and extends externally to the head. Headgears help bring the lower jaw to the front in patients with overbites or, conversely, the lower jaw to the back in patients with underbites.

Temporary Anchorage Devices

Also known as TADs, these are complementary devices for treatments, including braces. TADs are anchors made of titanium that help obtain faster and more comfortable orthodontic treatment results. In some cases, TADs are the perfect alternative to headgear. 

Palate Expanders

A palatal expander is a device that exerts controlled strain to expand the size of the maxillary to make it fit with the mandible or to make space for impacted teeth before using braces to align these teeth. 

Contact orthodontics in Yulee at Onshore Orthodontics By Calling

Orthodontics is a specialized area related to biomechanics, enhancing the functionality and motion of a biological system assisted with mechanics. Consequently, orthodontists use an extensive array of devices to obtain outstanding results. Onshore Orthodontics strives to serve our patients with the most reliable information about the device required to produce effective results and beautiful smiles.  Call us at 9048494500.