Braces: Different types, how they work, and what to expect.



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braces in richardson tx
By: Dr. Nathan Coughlin

Have you ever wanted to straighten your teeth but didn’t understand the process or costs. Have you noticed your teeth shifting and your smile getting more crooked?

We want to show you how affordable and straightforward braces can be. We will guide you through the types, costs, and what to expect with braces at our Richardson, TX location.

What are braces (teeth braces)?

Braces for teeth are a field of dentistry concerned with moving your teeth and jaw into proper alignment. Orthodontic specialists are dentists who have undergone extra training to be as proficient as possible while utilizing braces. 

Orthodontics can correct multiple issues, including underbites, overbites, crowding, and spacing.

You may not notice these problems on your own until a dentist or friend points them out to you. This is a great time to get a consult with your orthodontist to evaluate your options.

Types of Braces

There are many types of braces, and they have come a long way in the past 100 years. Each type of bracket has its pros and cons, so let’s evaluate them below.

1. Metal Braces

These are the typical braces you have likely seen already. They are metal-based and utilize stainless steel and nickel-titanium wires to move your teeth. 

You can choose the colors of the elastomeric ties that go around your teeth.

Pros: Durable, been around the longest, you can modify the colors

Cons: Most noticeable, it may be difficult to clean around the brackets.

2. Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces, but there is one significant difference: the color. Clear braces are clear or tooth-colored, and they blend in nicely.

Pros: They are more esthetic

Cons: Less durable than metal braces and cost more.

3. Invisalign (Clear Aligner Therapy)

Clear aligner therapy has become more and more popular as it allows you to move your teeth without noticeable wires. There are multiple limitations, but Invisalign can be an excellent alternative for many patients.

Pros: Nearly invisible tooth movement option

Cons: Difficult to change out trays, most expensive option.

When should you get braces?

Ideally, everybody should get an orthodontic consult at the age of 7. The consultation allows your orthodontist to check for growth abnormalities, excessive crowding, excessive spacing, etc.

An orthodontist can modify the patient’s growth habits when growing but not when they become an adult. 

Many jaw malformities can be treated when the patient is growing. If patients do not seek orthodontic treatment early, they may need orthognathic surgery as adults to treat severe bite issues.

How do dental braces straighten teeth?

Braces straighten teeth in a variety of ways. They utilize brackets, bands, wires, rubber bands, and ligature ties to align your teeth and jaw.


These are the metal or ceramic brackets that are bonded to your teeth. When you eat hard, sticky, or chewy things, these brackets may break or get debonded from your teeth, causing longer treatment times.


Your orthodontist may sometimes use these on back teeth. They are the metal rings that are stronger than brackets.


Orthodontic wires are the workhorse of braces. They are mainly made out of stainless steel or nickel-titanium. The wires, along with the ligature ties, grab onto the brackets and move your teeth. The dental wires are what is doing the tooth movement.

Rubber Bands

Orthodontic rubber bands are used to correct bite issues. Rubber bands are used to correct open bites, overbites, overjet, asymmetric bites, etc. 

Typically rubber bands are worn all day and frequently changed as they lose their elasticity over time.

Ligature Ties

Ligatures ties, aka elastomeric ties, are the colored rubber bands used to bring the wire into the brackets. Without these, the wire would not be secured on your teeth. Ligature colors can be changed at each visit.

Getting Braces in Richardson, TX: What to expect

You will come in for an initial consultation where we will assess your orthodontic needs. We will address your concerns and determine your treatment time, treatment costs, and any other orthodontic needs you may have. 

Once all your concerns have been addressed, you can start orthodontic treatment.


Every orthodontic patient is different, but on average, you will see the orthodontist every six weeks for treatment duration. 

We will tighten the wires at each orthodontic appointment, evaluate for rubber bands, and discuss your progression.


Once you have completed orthodontic treatment, you will be given retainers. These retainers are to be worn for life. You may wear them less and less as time goes on, but you will still need to wear them periodically throughout your life. 

Braces Costs

The braces’ pricing varies greatly depending on treatment time, the complexity of treatment, dental insurance, and type of appliances. 

Traditional Metal Braces: $3000-$5500

Clear Ceramic Braces: $3500-$6000

Invisalign Clear Aligners: $4100-$6500

Does Insurance Cover Orthodontics?

Every dental insurance is different, and you should consult your HR department regarding your specific plan.

If you have orthodontic coverage on your dental insurance, make sure to look at the age limit, maximum lifetime coverage, and if you have a waiting period.

Many adults have orthodontic coverage that they do not know about, but some insurances do not cover patients over 23.

Dental Braces Overview

Orthodontic treatment can transform your life. I had braces as an adult, and it has changed everything I do. 

If you have any orthodontic-related questions, please do not hesitate to come in for your orthodontic consultation at our Richardson, TX, location.

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