A young girl gets braces put in by an orthodontist, who is examining her mouth and teeth.

Beyond the Smile: Exploring 5 Modern Braces Options

Believe it or not, braces first became famous over 200 years ago. Since then, orthodontics has grown and expanded exponentially. 

Around 3.5 million young adults receive orthodontic care each year. Issues such as underbites, overbites, crooked teeth, and malocclusion can cause chronic oral health problems later in life. This may include gum disease, jaw problems, tooth loss, and tooth decay. Therefore, one of the most common tools for orthodontic care is braces. 

Over time, they have become more and more accessible to the people who need them. Likewise, orthodontists now have more options than ever to help young people properly align teeth and fix bite issues. 

While many kids are happy with what braces can do for their smile, the benefits are much more than just cosmetic. This article will discuss modern options, how much they cost, and how they work. 

Lingual Braces and Other Modern Options

There are five main types of braces available today. They are:

  • Metal
  • Self-ligating
  • Lingual
  • Ceramic
  • Clear aligners

Each has its own history, pros, and cons. The job of an orthodontist is to choose the type for each individual, connect them, adjust them as needed, and eventually remove them. Here is a more detailed look into the five main types of braces available in 2023!


The most popular type over the last 100 years is metal braces. This combination of wires was big, bulky, and uncomfortable for most patients. Over time, the process of connecting them has become more simple and effective. While still more noticeable than other forms, metal braces are now smaller and more comfortable than ever. 

The metal option is most common for younger patients. Once they are connected, they cannot be removed without the help of an orthodontist. This is particularly convenient for parents who don’t want to remind their kids to wear them. 

Moreover, they require a combination of metal wires and colorful elastic ties. Consistent and thorough oral hygiene is essential for kids with a metal option. It is also common for this type to need an adjustment every one to two months.

The benefits of metal braces include: 

  • No changes in speech
  • No super frequent appointments are necessary
  • They’re highly effective, versatile, and efficient
  • They’re more affordable than other options
  • They do not require the patient to take them on and off
  • They have a fun assortment of colors for kids
  • There is no waiting period to start seeing positive effects

Some downsides include: 

  • They’re noticeable 
  • They can cause issues for individuals with bad oral hygiene habits
  • It can be difficult to brush and floss thoroughly


Some people prefer ceramic braces over metal braces. While ceramic braces work similarly to metal braces, there is a distinct aesthetic difference between the two. 

Ceramic braces are made of clear materials that are meant to blend in with a patient’s teeth. They are one of the more discreet and affordable options available today. Those with ceramics are often older patients.

As mentioned above, the benefit of ceramic is its appearance. However, they tend to be larger than metal, which can cause discomfort and inconvenience. There is also the possibility of ceramic getting stained due to poor oral hygiene and eating habits. 


Lingual braces require a more specialized form of orthodontics. Learning how to implement lingual braces is not required in orthodontic training and schooling. So, this makes each orthodontist responsible for their own proficiency. 

To put it simply, lingual braces are braces that are placed behind the teeth. While this is a major win for individuals who don’t want others to see their braces, there are some slight disadvantages. Lingual braces can cause some speech issues (such as a lisp) and some agitation to the tongue. For most patients, these side effects go away after the first few weeks.

While not as common as other forms of braces, lingual braces offer distinct advantages to other types of braces. They are particularly efficient, versatile, and customizable depending on the individual patient’s needs. They are also completely invisible, which makes them perfect for patients of all ages. 

Ultimately, they are the best of both worlds –  they are great aesthetically and help to fix complex orthodontic issues. 


Self-ligating braces are similar to metal and ceramic, with some slight differences. With the self-ligating option, you can utilize metal or ceramic materials, depending on your preferences. They work in a similar way by using wires to move the teeth. Rather than elastic rubber ties, self-ligating braces use clips to keep the wires from moving. 

A major benefit of self-ligating braces is shorter appointment times due to simpler adjustments. This is perfect for individuals who are anxious and uncomfortable in an orthodontic environment. 

Clear Aligners

A common type of clear aligner is Invisalign. Clear aligners offer a variety of benefits, including:

  • They are transparent and clear
  • They are removable, allowing for more thorough oral hygiene 
  • They require shorter and less frequent appointments
  • They may work faster than other types, such as metal

Clear aligners may not be right for everyone. They are ideal for many patients with mild to moderate issues but cannot address more intensified issues. If you have a more significant issue, utilizing both clear aligners and lingual braces may be the right option for you. 

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Previous generations struggled to find affordable orthodontic care. Thankfully, with dental insurance, braces are more affordable than ever. So, how much do they cost exactly? Without dental insurance, the cost can vary greatly:

  • Clear Aligners (Invisalign): $4,000-$7,400
  • Lingual: $8,000-$10,000
  • Ceramic: $4,000-$8,000
  • Metal: $3,000-$7,000
  • Self-ligating: $2,000-$7,000

How Do Braces Work?

You may be wondering, “How do braces work?” They are designed to create consistent pressure on the jaw and teeth in order to change their position over time. In some cases, issues can be corrected in a matter of months. In others, they may be required for several years. 

Braces can correct issues like overcrowding (when the jaw is too small or teeth are too large), overbites, and underbites. They can level and align teeth, so they are side by side and straight. Overall, orthodontic adjustments will help to ensure that they are working as they should. 

Orthodontics Done Right: Contact Art of Smiles Philadelphia Today

Are you seeking an experienced, skilled orthodontics team in the greater Philadelphia area? Look no further than Art of Smiles Philadelphia! Our highly qualified team offers an effective cosmetic approach to orthodontics in children, teens, and adults.

Our duty is to both realign your teeth and educate you on all orthodontic-related information related to your specific situation. Your questions are important to us! Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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