What are the different types of braces?
From traditional metal braces to clear plastic aligners, there is a range of options available in the market. Types of braces can be broadly categorised into fixed braces and removable braces. In this section, we break down the options available at NTUC Health Denticare, along with other popular options in Singapore.
Fixed braces are bonded to the teeth and worn at all times – during eating, brushing of the teeth, and during sleep. Fixed braces include traditional braces, self-ligating braces and lingual braces:
There are two kinds of traditional braces: metal braces and ceramic braces. Traditional metal braces use metal brackets, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. A metal arch wire runs through the metal brackets and is secured in place using elastic ties. During every visit, the orthodontist will adjust the tension on each bracket to gradually bring your teeth into alignment.
Elastic ties (shown here with metal braces) come in a variety of colours you can choose from.
Ceramic braces work the same way, except that the ceramic brackets used to hold the arch wires match the colour of your teeth. Clear elastic ties (and sometimes tooth-coloured arch wires) are used as well.
For both traditional metal and ceramic braces, the duration of the orthodontic treatment lasts between 18 to 24 months on average.
While some people choose ceramic braces over metal braces because they are deemed to be less obvious, ceramic braces are more susceptible to stains caused by the food and drinks you consume. They are also usually more expensive than traditional metal braces.
Self-ligating braces in polycarbonate (upper teeth) and metal (lower teeth).
Self-ligating braces are tie-less braces which do not require tightening and are gentle to the teeth and tissues. The Damon braces we offer at NTUC Health Denticare are self-ligating braces, with a passive slide mechanism to maintain archwires within the bracket, allowing them to move more freely and reduce friction. Without the need for elastic ties, the Damon system also helps to improve oral hygiene since food often gets trapped between the elastic ties and brackets of traditional braces.
Our Damon braces are available in two materials: stainless steel and ceramic.
Lingual braces are discreetly attached to the back of the teeth.
Lingual braces are a far less common choice of braces treatment. They work just like traditional metal braces, but with the metal brackets attached behind the teeth. While they keep your braces out of view, lingual braces are perhaps the most expensive orthodontic treatment option available. This is mostly due to its customised brackets and the difficulty that comes with installing, adjusting and cleaning the braces.
Do note that lingual braces are currently not available at our clinics.
Removable braces are, as the name suggests, types of braces that are not bonded to the teeth and can be removed during cleaning or eating.
Clear aligners are removable during meal times
Clear plastic aligners (sometimes known as invisible braces) are one of the options available in the market. The orthodontic treatment involves wearing removable custom-made clear aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. They are replaced every two weeks, and each new set is slightly different from the last, gradually shifting your teeth over time.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign braces, are a discreet option for the self-conscious as they are almost unnoticeable. They also make eating, brushing and flossing easier since they can be removed during cleaning. However, invisible braces can cost significantly more than traditional and self-ligating braces and require more frequent visits to the orthodontist.
Removable plates are a hard plastic device that uses wires and springs to push teeth into the desired position to fix minor problems with bite or teeth crowding. They are removable and are more commonly used in children whose permanent teeth are still emerging.
Do note that removable plates or clear plastic aligners like Invisalign are currently not available at our clinics.