General orthodontic knowledge

Different Types of Orthodontic Brackets

different types of orthodontic brackets

Orthodontic brackets are considered among the main tools used in an orthodontic treatment. With the passage of time, these brackets move the teeth and place them in the right positions.

The orthodontic brackets mainly consist of orthodontic archwires and braces, which are placed on the teeth in the binding process, to exert pressure on them. Brackets usually have one or two tracks through which the orthodontic archwires are passed to be placed in the right positions determined by an orthodontist.

Effect Mechanism of Orthodontic Brackets

Here we explain the working mechanism of orthodontic brackets briefly as well as teeth movements.

Evidently, teeth are placed on gums. Under the gum tissue, there is a ligament called the periodontal ligament that surrounds the roots of teeth and hold the teeth in place. In fact, the periodontal ligament connects the teeth to the jaw bones.

In the orthodontic treatment process, the periodontal ligament is pressured in one direction and is tensioned in the opposite direction by orthodontic brackets. As a result of these actions and reactions, a tooth is loosened in its place and is then fixed on the position to which it tends.

a girl with fixed metal orthodontics

Fixed metal orthodontics

An Introduction to Orthodontic Brackets

In orthodontics, brackets are utilized to improve the connectivity of orthodontic archwires to teeth. Moreover, braces are used as the tools to transmit force to teeth and move them to a position of interest. A brace consists of an archwire (or arch wire) and a bracket. The brackets are connected to teeth through specific composites. An orthodontic bracket is responsible for taking care of the archwire and transmitting the wire force to teeth.

There are various types of braces, and different patients select different orthodontic types.

Brackets are classified as different categories in terms of their constituent materials, connection methods, and placement on teeth.

Metal Orthodontic Bracket

The metal bracket is the most common and most widely used type of orthodontic brackets. This bracket is made of stainless steel. It is considered the best option for most of dental deformities due to its specific features such as high resistance and minimum abrasion.

The metal bracket is recyclable and can be re-sterilized for use, so it is less expensive and more cost-effective than the other types of orthodontic brackets.

The only problem with this kind of bracket is its visibility and dissatisfaction with its effect on patients’ appearances.

a woman with a metal orthodontic bracket

Metal orthodontic bracket

Lingual Brackets

This type of orthodontic bracket is placed inside the inner walls of teeth toward the mouth hole and the tongue. The most important advantage of this bracket is aesthetics, for the lingual bracket is placed behind teeth, so it is not visible when a patient talks or laughs.

The lingual orthodontic bracket is more expensive than the common metal bracket. It is also much more difficult to implement than the other types of brackets. Its periodic adjustments require longer periods of time.

The lingual bracket is not also considered very efficient in the severe irregularity of teeth.

a woman with lingual orthodontic bracket

Lingual orthodontic bracket

Self-Opening Bracket or Damon Bracket

The self-opening bracket or the Damon orthodontic bracket is considered an advanced type of brackets. No rubber bands or O-rings are used in this type of bracket. So braces do not draw much attention in this type of bracket, which is popular due to maintaining aesthetics. In addition, these brackets require shorter periods of treatment in most cases than the other types of brackets.

In the Damon orthodontic bracket, pressure is exerted on the orthodontic archwire through a short spring, and the teeth are moved at a relatively low speed. This type of bracket does not need further adjustments or more pressure, so fewer sessions are required to visit an orthodontist in this case.

Since O-ring rubber bands are not used in this type of orthodontic bracket, it is easier to clean the teeth and maintain oral hygiene.

damon orthodontic bracket and metal orthodontic bracket

Damon orthodontic bracket and metal orthodontic bracket

Ceramic Orthodontic Bracket

The ceramic orthodontic bracket is made from aluminum oxide, a material which resists effectively against pressure, but the ceramic bracket is not very resistant to fracture. In fact, the ceramic orthodontic bracket may break during different stages of treatment.

Compared with metal brackets, this type of bracket is popular with specific patients due to having certain apparent features, drawing no attention, and requiring a short period of treatment.

Furthermore, the ceramic bracket is more expensive than the metal bracket. It also requires higher levels of oral hygiene due to its bright color.

a person with ceramic orthodontic bracket

Ceramic orthodontic bracket

Plastic Orthodontic Bracket

The plastic bracket is utilized when a patient is unwilling to use the metal bracket and wants his/her teeth seem natural during the orthodontic treatment. In fact, the plastic bracket is classified as a type of the fixed orthodontic brackets. It is usually white or colorless. The only disadvantage is that its color changes as a result of eating food.

Different types of colorful orthodontics are implemented with the fixed plastic brackets.

a woman with plastic orthodontic bracket

Plastic orthodontic bracket

To select the best type of brackets, you should consult with an orthodontist to make the right decision based on specific criteria such as aesthetics and smile design correction as well as medical criteria such as dental deformities (e.g., irregularity of teeth), type of bite disorder, cost of orthodontics, and other parameters. For instance, the fixed orthodontics is considered the best option for severe maxillofacial deformities. It is also a cost-effective treatment approach.

The costs of different types of orthodontic brackets depend on the types of materials and maintenance expenses. For instance, ceramic and plastic brackets are more expensive than the other types with respect to materials and maintenance. In particular, they require more sessions of repair and adjustment than the fixed orthodontics.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist
About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a full-time professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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