The Different Types of Braces

Orthodontic treatment has come a long way from the bulky headgear you might have seen in the movies. With modern technology helping us out, orthodontists have created smaller, less noticeable treatment options that help you straighten your teeth without too much fuss. Our orthodontic treatment plans are so cutting edge we can straighten smiles for people of all ages and with all conditions. 

At Kottemann Orthodontics, we are proud to provide three leading treatment options: metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign. When you’re looking into the different types of braces, you’re sure to find these at the top of your list, and Kottemann Orthodontics is here to teach you all about braces and explain the differences between our treatment plans. 

Who Benefits From Braces?

Orthodontic treatment is an excellent option for people of any age, condition, or background. At your first consultation, our doctors will assess your unique orthodontic condition and determine whether you’re a good fit for braces.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children attend their first orthodontic appointment at the age of seven, but about one in every five of our patients are adults. Anyone of any age can benefit from braces. Braces are a great way to treat conditions like: 

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Overbites 
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Impacted teeth

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 six to 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 12-36 months. 

They’re also the most 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 our most popular treatment plan year after year. 

The Different Types of Braces

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. 

Fortunately, at Kottemann 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. 

Kottemann Orthodontics specializes in Invisalign. As Invisalign Diamond Plus providers, we do more Invisalign than 99% of orthodontists in Minnesota. 

Fixed Appliances vs. Removable Appliances 

Now that you know more about the different types of braces, it is important to understand the difference between fixed and removable appliances. 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. Our doctors usually recommend fixed appliances for more severe and comprehensive issues. 

The Different Types of Braces

You’ve Got Options at Kottemann Orthodontics

After your first free consultation, Dr. William Kottemann, Dr. Kraig Kottemann, Dr. Scott Kottemann, or Dr. Alisha Holt will discuss which treatment would be right for you based on your unique needs and smile goals. Depending on your case’s severity, age, and goals, we’ll help you find the treatment option that makes you smile. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of braces, don’t hesitate to get started! Schedule your free consultation with the Kottemann Orthodontics team today.