Dreaming of a beautiful, well aligned smile without people knowing that you are undergoing treatment for braces is completely achievable thanks to lingual braces and invisalign . Not only your smile but also your confidence will improve in the next 18 months that is generally the average treatment time ! Orthodontics involves different types of techniques and brackets which we would be discussing in brief here . TYPES OF BRACES: It mainly depends on the following factors: Case diagnosis and preference of the working dentist along with the treatment time needed The aesthetic requirement of the patient mainly if the patient is ok with the braces being visible or not. The total expenditure and cost involved Secondary factors such as whether extractions are needed or not, any jaw surgeries needed and extra oral appliances such as head gear if required . METAL BRACES: This includes the use of metal brackets wch are actually made of stainless steel and are bonded onto the front surface of the tooth .This kind of treatment is the most economical form and conventional though newer techniques are being applied to it . It involves the use of wires, springs, and elastics wherein elastics too can be coloured especially for teenagers for a better appearance. CERAMIC BRACES (TOOTH COLORED BRACES): As the name suggests , these are perfectly matching the tooth colour and are individually bonded to the front tooth surface. They are mainly fabricated of composite and except the wires , even the brackets are not seen from far . Small rubber bands also known as tooth coloured ligatures are used to hold the metal wire onto position of the brackets . ADVANTAGES: The biggest advantage is that these braces are not seen in from a distance and their colour blends in perfectly fine. They have a good strength and are comparable to metal braces. DISADVANTAGES: The major disadvantage is the cost of ceramic braces along with the size which is infact more bigger than the metal brackets thereby giving it a bulky look . These braces cannot be used in patients with a certain bite thereby restricting its use. These brackets are ligated to the tooth with help of small rubber bands which do stain over a period of time . However the introduction of self ligating brackets has really helped to overcome the staining problem INVISALIGN: These are invisible, custom made, computer generated and fabricated aligners, which are changed every 2 weeks to cause movement of teeth. It involves the use of the latest advances in 3 D computer generated technology by which these aligners are manufactured .Your orthodontist is the best person to evaluate whether your case can be treated by invisalign or not in order to avoid any failures. These aligners have to be worn throughout the day except when you eat, brush or floss your teeth. ADVANTAGES: They are invisible and don’t stain at all. They are easy to clean as compared to conventional braces A new set of aligners are given every 2 weeks hence the total treatment time of the patient can be assessed before hand. They do not irritate the soft tissues like other braces. DISADVANTAGES: Not everyone is a candidate for invisalign. They give good results mainly for non-extraction cases where minimal correction is required. Pain is associated with invisalign due to tooth movement. They cost the same as regular or even lingual braces and the treatment time may also be the same. They cost the same as regular or even lingual braces and the treatment time may also be the same. In a few cases, they need to be followed up with your conventional braces depending upon the amount of correction required. LINGUAL BRACES: Lingual braces have brackets placed virtually on the inner side of the tooth (lingually) and hence are practically invisible. No one except the patient knows that they are wearing braces. They are indicated for all types of bite correction, however the treatment time may vary depending on the severity. They are especially useful for teens and adult professional who can avoid the embarrassment of metal brackets in the mouth, but are indicated for all age groups. Your orthodontist needs to have special training in order to do lingual braces. PROCEDURE: The Orthodontist takes an impression of your teeth in the first appointment which ids then sent to a laboratory. The laboratory using computer-generated technology makes metal brackets, which are customized to your tooth size. These metal brackets are then bonded to the inner surface of the tooth and arch wires are placed. In terms of maintenance routine monthly follow-ups for changing of wires is required along with your dentist updating you with the treatment plan. In certain cases, lingual braces for the upper arch and ceramic braces (tooth colored) in the lower arch can be used. ADVANTAGES: They are invisible thereby increasing the self confidence of the patient. DISADVANTAGES: They tend to hurt the tongue making it difficult to talk in the initial days. They are more expensive than metal or ceramic braces. The treatment time required for lingual braces is slightly more than the regular braces. They cannot be used for certain cases where there is a severe alteration of bite. PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN WHILE WEARING LINGUAL BRACES: During the initial days, these brackets will hurt the tongue. Hence the person should practice talking with these. Avoid extremely hard foods as they can break the wires or the bracket may come out. Dental wax can be placed on the bracket to avoid irritation to the soft tissues. Avoid stringy foods as they can get caught between the wires. Maintain good oral hygiene.