Dr. Jesse Teng

Which Orthodontic Treatment is Right for Me?

With all of the advancements in orthodontic technology, it can be intimidating to talk to your orthodontist about what types of braces and/or appliances you need for treatment. Check out this guide to see what kind of treatment might be right for you!

Disclaimer: This is only a general guide to common orthodontic treatments, not a formal diagnostic tool. Consult your orthodontist before proceeding with any orthodontic treatment.


While some complex cases may require adjunctive treatment, such as surgery, most cases can be treated with conventional braces.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are likely the best treatment if you:

  • Desire fixed appliances instead of removable appliances
  • Need your braces to be durable
  • Don’t mind (or even enjoy) having visible braces
  • Don’t mind dietary restrictions

In many cases, traditional braces are a reliable and economical option. They aren’t removable, so you have to pay better attention to brushing and flossing and won’t be able to eat some foods (click here for some foods you can eat!). You can get colorful bands on them for a fun smile!

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are very similar to traditional braces, and, like traditional braces, may be the best option if you:

  • Desire fixed appliances instead of removable appliances
  • Need your braces to be durable
  • Don’t mind (or even enjoy) having visible braces
  • Don’t mind dietary restrictions

Compared to traditional braces, you might:

  • Have less time in the chair
  • Have fewer appointments
  • Pay a little more
  • Have less discomfort
  • Keep your teeth clean more easily

Self-ligating braces can be smaller than traditional braces and don’t require the colorful bands. This places less friction on the tooth and requires fewer adjustments.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are clear and blend in with your teeth. These may be your best option if you:

  • Have a less complicated case
  • Want your braces to be less visible
  • Don’t mind dietary restrictions

Compared to traditional and self-ligated braces, these braces can be:

  • Less durable
  • More expensive
  • Less visible

These braces are intended for people with aesthetic concerns, typically teenagers and adults. They can be more prone to breakage, however. The ligatures (small bands) can also be stained by certain foods. Because they can’t be removed, they can’t be lost or forgotten like Invisalign aligners, so you don’t have to remember to put them back in.


Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that straightens your teeth like braces. They may be the best option if you:

  • Can stick to a schedule and take care of your aligners
  • Want orthodontic treatment to be invisible
  • Don’t want dietary restrictions
  • Are willing to pay more money

The aligners are invisible and removable, so you can’t see them and can remove them to eat whatever you want. However, many patients end up forgetting to wear their aligners, and this means their cases stall or, worse, revert back to the original state.


You might need to wear appliances with your braces. Here’s a quick guide to what they do. For more information, see our page on appliances.

Elastics (Rubber Bands):

Improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth.


Eliminates excessive overbites and improves the fit of teeth.


Fixes overbites and underbites

Palatal Expander:

Expands the upper jaw


Complete the final tooth movements


Keep your teeth in place after treatment

Separators (Spacers):

Push teeth apart so that orthodontic bands can be placed

Interested in orthodontic treatment?

For an AAO board-certified orthodontist in El Paso, TX, call us at (915) 581-5476 or request a free consultation.

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