Young woman holding up clear aligners in one hand and model teeth with braces

Metal braces correct crooked or misaligned teeth by applying pressure to precise spots until teeth move into the proper position. While more noticeable than their clear counterparts, traditional stainless steel braces adjust each tooth across a broader range of movement. Many orthodontists rely on metal braces to bring about dramatic changes in their patient's smiles.

What Are Metal Braces?

Metal braces, traditional braces, and metallic braces all refer to the same option for correcting crooked or misaligned teeth. Standard or regular braces are a combination of brackets, wires, and elastic bands (ligatures) that work together to straighten teeth and correct issues with alignment. Dental braces assist people who are unhappy with their teeth. Braces correct more than the aesthetics of your mouth. For example, they fix overbites, underbites, and misalignments.

Do Metal Braces Work on Adults?

Regular metal braces have been used successfully for decades. Orthodontists can use metallic braces to transform smiles and improve function. The technology involved in orthodontics has improved significantly over the years. It makes it easier than ever for orthodontists to create and implement treatment plans. The design of metal brackets, archwires, and ligatures work in conjunction with one another to provide the desired results.

Adults getting braces are more common than you think. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published the following:

The number of adult patients undergoing orthodontic therapy has constantly been rising in the last two (2) to three (3) decades. 20-25% of orthodontic patients are adults. There is an increasing trend in the number of adult patients due to their increased awareness of the importance of their oral health and their need for a better aesthetic appearance. The main driving factor in adults is to improve their dental and facial appearance.

What's the Cost of Traditional Metal Braces?

According to Healthline, In its 2018 annual survey, the American Dental Association listed the average price of comprehensive orthodontic treatment, which includes braces, as $5,000 to $6,000. Keep in mind prices vary significantly based on your treatment's complexity, provider's rates, and dental insurance benefits. Compared to other braces — self-ligating ceramic braces and Invisalign — traditional or regular braces cost less than the alternatives. Many dentists offer financing options for the cost of braces beyond what your dental insurance will pay. To further offset the price, you may be able to apply FSA/HSA funds to purchase braces.

How Do Metal Braces Fix Your Teeth?

There are three (3) major components to metal teeth braces: brackets, archwires, and ligatures. The brackets are bonded directly to the teeth — they're the anchors that allow the dental orthopedic to push and pull a tooth in various directions. Next, to connect across your dental arch, an archwire feeds through an individual bracket. Both your top and bottom teeth require an archwire. Finally, small elastic bands (ligatures) secure the wire to the reinforcements.

You might wonder what the purpose brackets, archwires, and ligatures serve? Your orthodontist precisely adjusts tooth position with braces. Scheduling regular follow-up appointments with your orthodontist is essential. At each visit, tracking progress, replacing wires as needed, and making adjustments ensure each tooth moves as planned.

What Kind of Metal Is In Braces?

Stainless steel is the most common material in metal braces. This metal is safe to use for metallic braces for children, teens, and adults. Other types of metal braces are available in the rare case of an allergy to one of the components in the metal. The stainless steel used for traditional metal braces is resistant to rust and holds up over time. Steel is strong enough to withstand wire tightening for teeth adjustment.

Do Metal Braces Work Faster Than Other Options?

Metal braces work faster than other teeth-straightening options. Traditional metal gives orthodontists the most control over teeth movement. The use of wires and ligatures to adjust the pressure on specific teeth results is constant and accurate. As a result, you complete treatment quicker and may have a better outcome than alternative orthodontia.

What's the Timeline for Getting Braces?

The first step for getting metal braces is to jump on the internet and search for an orthodontist near you. As you look at options, consider experience, education, and patient reviews. In some cases, dental insurance may cover a portion of orthodontic treatment. Smile Generations recommends doing your homework as you narrow the list down. Once you decide on the dentist, you should schedule an orthodontic consultation. The orthodontist takes images of your teeth, molds and discusses your treatment plan. During your consultation for braces, ask if they can solve the problem. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) wrote a great article on what to expect during your initial consultation.

If metal braces are the right choice for your teeth, you will agree on a payment method and schedule an appointment to get your braces. After braces go on your teeth, plan regularly to return to the dental office — typically four (4) to six (6) weeks for adjustments. You may experience soreness or dull pain when braces are attached or adjusted. However, mild discomfort should go away in a short time as your mouth and teeth adapt.

Most patients wear metal braces for one and a half (1.5) to two (2) years. However, total treatment time depends on the big picture and solving the problem of your crooked teeth. You're making a significant investment of money and time with braces. Don't be afraid to ask questions and express your expectations. Your orthodontist wants you to have a great result, too.

What are the Advantages of Metal Braces?

There are many reasons patients and dental professionals choose metal braces over other types of braces. A few of those reasons include:

  • Strength. Stainless steel metal braces don't damage or break easily.
  • Wide range of tooth movement. Metal braces offer flexibility — pushing and pulling teeth to a greater extent than with clear aligners.
  • Speed. Stainless steel braces often reposition crooked or misaligned teeth in less time than alternative orthodontia.
  • Cost. Metal braces tend to be less costly than self-ligating ceramic braces.
  • Permanence. You don't have to worry about losing your metal braces since there's no way to remove them outside the orthodontist's office. If you are a pediatric or teenage patient, consider this a significant advantage to clear aligners.

Tips for Choosing the Best Orthodontist

    Getting metal braces requires research, time, and financial commitment. You're spending thousands of dollars on fixing your teeth, and it's an investment. Smile Generation believes it's important you like your orthodontist and dental staff (you won't dread going to appointments). The location of your orthodontist from home and work is an overlooked consideration. We recommend typing in the search phrase "Orthodontist Near Me" to get an idea of driving time, distance, and proximity in your immediate area. Remember, you'll be there monthly, and most patients have a busy schedule.

    Price, new patient availability, and insurance are factors when choosing the best orthodontist. Smile Generation provides a search tool, Find a Dentist. You can search by name and location. Many patients express this helps to choose an orthodontist less overwhelming and a great starting point.

Find Out If You're A Candidate for Braces.

Now that you've read through this page, are you considering metal braces? Do you think you're a candidate for orthodontic treatment? If you're asking where you can find a trusted dentist near me, Smile Generation connects you with trusted, experienced, and qualified dentists and pediatric and adult orthodontists. Smile Generation strives to be your trusted resource for all your dental health needs. You may call us at +1 (800) 764-5343 or use our Website's Live Chat feature located in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.

Metal Braces FAQ