The Different Types of Braces

It can be hard to have a preference for the different types of braces when you don’t know what your options are to begin with. Thankfully, our Westfall Orthodontics team has broken down each orthodontic treatment option so you can quickly determine the differences. 

Are you looking to straighten your smile the fastest way possible, or are aesthetics more important, so you’d prefer something inconspicuous? Maybe you want fast and aesthetic? What about colors that match your personality or school spirit? 

Luckily, we live in a time when you can have your cake and eat it, too. This idea is even carried over in your orthodontic treatment options. While Dr. Chad Westfall and his skilled team may not be able to help you narrow down which class to take or which gym to choose, when it comes to the different types of braces, they have the experience and knowledge to guide you to the choice that best fits your smile needs. Let’s sort out the options now!

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 Westfall Orthodontics, we respect your reasons for wanting to improve your smile. We use state-of-the-art appliances, technologies, and systems to help you. 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 probably the most recognized symbol of orthodontic treatment. These orthodontic workhorses have a long history of successful treatment and are great at correcting many oral issues. 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.

Braces are great at fixing complex tooth issues. They can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. This can potentially shorten your treatment time. 

The Different Types of BracesClear 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 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. While adjustments with ceramic braces have to be slightly smaller, causing your overall treatment time to be slightly longer, they are equally as effective as metal braces in most cases. 


Consider Invisalign to get the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted without 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 anonymous treatment option, your smile is the only thing they’ll see. 

You wear the Invisalign trays for about 22 hours a day, but you can remove them for brushing your teeth and eating. Most patients will complete their Invisalign treatment in about 9-15 months, and depending on your individual needs, you will wear several trays throughout your treatment. In many cases, orthodontic treatment is even covered, or at least mostly covered, by insurance, so getting an incognito smile adjustment could be within reach afterall.

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 FREE 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.

You and the team at Westfall Orthodontics will work together before, during, and after your treatment to ensure you get the result you want: a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Damaged appliances and inconsistent aligner wearing can increase the length of your treatment process. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you take care of your appliances and follow Dr. Westfall’s instructions.

The Different Types of BracesThe choice is clear, or metal, with Westfall Orthodontics!

Our compassionate team at Westfall Orthodontics in Abingdon, Richlands, and Bristol, VA, are here to walk you through the many 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 you the most-personalized care using the latest orthodontic technologies and treatments. You’ll love your smile! Schedule your FREE consultation to let us help make you smile!