The different types of braces

Starting orthodontic treatment can feel a little intimidating, especially if you’re new to the process. From choosing the right orthodontist to setting up a payment plan, there’s a lot on your mind. That’s why McGrory Orthodontics is here to tell you all about the different types of braces so you feel confident when you visit our office for your free consultation. Let’s get started!

Benefits for all ages

It’s a common misconception that braces are only for teens, but this idea could not be further from the truth. At McGrory Orthodontics, we believe that everyone deserves the confidence of a beautiful smile, no matter what age they are. Our braces treatments are available to kids, teens, and adults alike. 

Whether you’re seven or seventy-two, we’ll do our best to pair you with the right treatment for your unique needs when you visit our office. 

Kids: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children make their first orthodontic appointment by the time they turn seven years old. During this time, we’ll assess their smile to determine if they need early intervention treatment to give them a jump start on a straight smile. Not everyone needs early intervention, but monitoring your child’s growth from an early age will help Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty determine the best time for them to start treatment later in their life. 

Teens: The majority of orthodontic patients start treatment in their teens. During a patient’s teen years, most of their adult teeth have grown in, but their mouths are still adaptable, making this the perfect time for treatment. After Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty assesses their smile and decides they need orthodontic treatment, we’ll move forward. Depending on their orthodontic need, they may choose a fixed or removable appliance to straighten their smile. 

Adults: You may be surprised to learn that as many as one in four of Dr. McGrory and Dr. McCarty’s patients are over eighteen! Some adult patients wore braces years ago and forgot to wear their retainers. Some have wanted to get braces for a while but waited for more modern treatments to become available. No matter your story, it’s never too late to get the smile you deserve. 

Fixed or removable: What’s the difference? 

There are two types of orthodontic appliances available to you: fixed appliances and removable appliances. Each type comes with its pros and cons, and you’ll work with Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty to determine which appliance is best for your smile goals. 

Fixed appliances, like clear and metal braces, are attached to your teeth and cannot be removed until your treatment is complete. Removable appliances like Invisalign’s clear aligner system are worn for 20-22 hours per day and can be removed easily for meals, sports, or brushing your teeth. 

Aside from the obvious differences, Invisalign® removable aligners are best for treating mild to moderate orthodontic problems. Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty usually recommend fixed appliances for more severe and comprehensive issues.

The Different Types of Braces

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces have been around for a long time, and they’re probably the most recognizable symbol of orthodontics. These orthodontic workhouses have a long history of successful treatment and are great at correcting many oral issues. 

In the past, metal braces may have been awkward and obvious, but modern metal braces are much smaller, more discreet, and more comfortable than ever before. Using a system of brackets and wires, our doctors straighten your teeth by adjusting the connective wire over time.  These adjustments typically occur every eight weeks and help shift your teeth in line for the perfect smile. 

Metal braces are great at fixing complex tooth issues. They work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments, potentially shortening treatment time. Treatment time depends on the severity of your condition but typically ranges from 18-30 months. 

They’re a cost-effective option because they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments do. The strength, durability, and affordability of traditional metal braces make them one of our most popular treatment options year after year. 

Clear braces

Clear braces are also called ceramic braces or aesthetic braces, and they work in the same way as metal braces. Designed to provide patients with a more subtle treatment option, clear braces use white brackets that blend in with your teeth for a less noticeable effect. 

Most patients’ biggest concern is staining. The ceramic material doesn’t stain, but the glue beneath the bracket might, so some patients avoid certain foods. However, if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine, you shouldn’t have to worry about staining. 

Many of our patients choose clear braces over traditional metal braces because they provide the best of both worlds. Clear braces are both a durable treatment plan that works for all orthodontic conditions and a more aesthetic option. For older teens or adults, clear braces are an excellent choice to meet all your orthodontic needs. 

Fortunately, at McGrory Orthodontics, you can get clear braces for the same price as metal braces!


Straightening your teeth with Invisalign can be a great option if you want the least noticeable treatment. Using a series of customized clear aligner trays, Invisalign straightens your smile without the bulky brackets and wires of traditional metal or clear braces. 

As our most flexible treatment option, Invisalign allows you to straighten your teeth without changing your diet or oral hygiene routine like you would have to with metal braces. We offer Invisalign for children, teens, and adults alike. 

Invisalign Teen: Made just for teens, these clear aligner trays make it easy to straighten teeth discreetly and effectively. They come with special buttons on the back of the trays that change color when your teen wears them for the appropriate amount of time. This helps our doctors ensure that they’re keeping up with their treatment plan. 

The Different Types of Braces

McGrory Orthodontics: Shaping smiles, shaping lives

The team at McGrory Orthodontics believes that straight smiles are the key to happier individuals. With so many available treatment options, the path to a happy grin is paved with success! If you’re ready to get started on the smile of your dreams, schedule your free consultation with Dr. McGrory in Pearland or Bellaire today! Learn more on our blog.