Types of Braces - Invisalign®, Invisalign Teen®, ClearCorrect, Metal Brackets

Today’s orthodontics can straighten your teeth in less time and without the heavy metal appliances of yesterday’s braces. From “almost invisible” clear braces to simple retainers, there are easy new solutions for young and old smile problems. In other words, it’s never too late to have the smile of your dreams.


Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. Wearing these invisible aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements we plan out for you. You simply pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete and you achieve the confident smile that you’ve always wanted.

Based on your individual treatment plan, a series of custom-made, clear aligners are created specifically for you. These aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable BPA-free plastic that won't irritate your cheeks and gums like traditional metal braces often do. Simply wear them throughout the day, and remove them when you eat or to brush and floss your teeth. As you wear each set of aligners, your teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into place.

Approximately every two weeks, you will begin wearing a new set of aligners, advancing you to the next stage of your treatment. To monitor your progress, you will also have occasional checkups with Bay Area Smiles, usually only every six weeks or so. At every stage, you will be able to see how much closer you are to having the smile that reflects the real you. While every case is unique to each patient, treatment typically takes approximately a year for adults.

Metal brackets

Metal brackets are very strong and can withstand most types of treatment. Most traditional metal braces require an o-shaped elastic (may be clear or colored), called ligatures, to hold the arch wire onto the bracket. Sometimes orthodontists use metal tie wires (little wires that are twisted around the bracket) in place of elastic ligatures.

In the beginning, metal braces were not just brackets, but bands that wrapped around the entire tooth. These days, people wear small metal brackets that are bonded to the front of each tooth. Those old-fashioned bands are usually reserved for molars or teeth with fillings that spill to the outside surface of a tooth. Metal brackets are less expensive than other types of brackets. In addition, at each appointment our patients choose their elastic from a rainbow of colors. Many patients choose school or various holiday colors – whatever your choice, everyone has fun with the colors for their braces.


With recent advances in dental technology, your smile can be straightened without a "mouth full of metal-wire brackets." Cosmetic mini-brackets,which our doctors use, are a new way to straighten your teeth. They are much smaller than traditional braces and the use of mini-brackets requires fewer arch-wires than standard brackets, which increases overall comfort. You will enjoy the smaller, more compact size, which enables mini-brackets to be less noticeable, but not less effective. Cosmetic mini-brackets offer the same strength and results as traditional braces. Our patients choose colors for these brackets, also. The mini-brackets consist of a series of small square attachments cemented to the teeth. With each bracket, it is possible to control each tooth individually. The brackets are highly sophisticated as every tooth has its own bracket design engineered to achieve the correct position and angle of axis.

Clear brackets

Clear braces serve as an alternative to traditional metal braces by minimizing the visibility of braces on the teeth, but they function in a similar manner to metal braces. The only difference is that they use clear or tooth-colored brackets instead of metal ones. They are great for patients who want a more esthetic alternative to metal braces but are not confident that they will wear their clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, as much as they would need to.

Clear braces blend in with the natural color of your teeth. They are made of either lexan, sapphire or ceramic, not metal, which is more comfortable on your lips and the inner lining of your cheeks. Though they are not as clear-tray aligners such as Invisalign, clear braces are more effective in straightening your teeth because they require less compliance.