Braces have the strength to completely alter the appearance of your smile and the location of your teeth without invasive procedures and very little pain. So what are braces made of? How can they so effortlessly straighten your smile?

Braces Are Made of Stainless Steel

Braces are made of a stainless steel alloy. This is a combination of elements like nickel, chromium, and aluminum, among others. Together these metals make braces incredibly strong and resistant to corrosion and rust.

Both the brackets and archwire use this alloy. The brackets, placed on the surface of the teeth, gently apply force while the archwire helps shift teeth into place. Because they are placed directly on the teeth, braces are extremely predictable.

Strong, successful, and long-lasting? They should be! After all, the alloy that braces are made of was developed by NASA. These metals change shape based on your body temperature but retain a memory that allows them to always shift back. Even “invisible” braces, which utilize clear ceramic brackets, were first invented by NASA.

It should be comforting to know that some of the brightest minds in science played a role in inventing the braces you wear now!

Invisalign Is Made of Plastic

Technically, it’s a special kind of thermoplastic. Invisalign aligners are made using SmartTrack®. This patented plastic material applies gentle pressure to teeth to help them move over time. Aligners are worn over the teeth and custom-made to fit more comfortably for each unique patient. They are extremely predictable, but only if worn consistently. We encourage our patients to wear their Invisalign for about 20 to 22 hours per day.

During your free consultation, our orthodontists will take a series of digital scans of your teeth. These scans will be used to create your first set of aligners. Thermoplastic is soft when heated up, but hard when cooled down. This flexibility is the reason why Invisalign aligners can be molded to fit your unique smile. You’ll require a new set of aligners roughly every two weeks.

Braces vs Invisalign: Which Option is Best?

This is a hard question to answer! Braces and Invisalign are different in many ways. Braces use a metal alloy, while Invisalign uses a special thermoplastic. Braces are affixed to your teeth, while Invisalign aligners are removable and worn over your teeth. However, both options are backed by science and medically proven to straighten your smile.

What ultimately determines your best option is your unique needs. Some more complex cases may require traditional braces. Someone may prefer removable Invisalign because it is clear, someone else may worry about losing or forgetting to wear the removable aligners.

We encourage you to request a free consultation with our team. We’ll walk you through the different options and help you decide which is best for your health, lifestyle, and, most importantly, smile. We have orthodontists in Reading and Allentown. Contact us today!