There is now a wide choice of more discrete brace options for patients of all ages, including:
Ceramic brackets - made in a white or tooth coloured material
Lingual braces - placed out of sight on the back of the teeth
Aligners - removable clear plastic appliances which fit over the teeth and progressively move them to the desired position
Ceramic brackets are tooth coloured or translucent. They are less conspicuous than metal brackets and therefore often favoured by adults. If appearance is at a premium, ceramic brackets may be the first choice for many patients.
These are attached to the lingual surface of the teeth, i.e. the surface towards the tongue. In this position they are virtually invisible. The technique involves special skills and needs considerable experience on the part of the orthodontist to achieve good results. Fees are always much higher than for conventional fixed braces because of the higher material costs, greater surgery time involved and the extra training needed.
These relatively new appliances blend modern technology with the long-standing concept of using clear flexible splints to ease teeth into line. A succession of splints is worn, each splint bringing the teeth a little closer to the desired position. The splints are effectively invisible and are therefore an attractive option from the standpoint of appearance. The cost is much higher than for conventional fixed braces owing to the high laboratory costs in making the aligners.