Types of Braces

We Offer Different Orthodontic Appliance Options

types of braces

At RockCenter Orthodontics in the Upper East Side, we offer different types of braces, but they all function the same way. When an orthodontic appliance applies pressure to our teeth, they don’t simply move. There’s an intense cellular process happening in our jaws in response to that pressure. In front of the tooth, specialized cells called osteoclasts break down bone cells that are in the way, while osteoblasts build new bone cells behind the tooth to keep it fitting snugly in its socket. The bone is actually reshaping itself!


This is a major reason why it’s so important to go to an orthodontist for dental crowding, crookedness, or bad bites. It takes all those years of education and training we receive to be able to understand the best ways to encourage teeth to shift to their proper position. Someone with less experience might attempt an approach that doesn’t produce the best results or puts the teeth at risk.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Common Appliances Used With Wire Braces

Sometimes, we need one or two other appliances in addition to the braces themselves in order to have the correct bite and palate shape as well as straight teeth, and sometimes we need these appliances to get our teeth ready for braces in the first place.


In order to put braces on, you might need spacers between your back teeth for a while. Spacers are small elastic rings that move your molars apart just enough to fit bands onto them to anchor your braces. This process can take from 3-10 days. Not all patients with wire braces will need spacers first.


Palatal expanders correct narrow palates by bracing against the teeth and the roof of the mouth and exerting gradual pressure outwards to encourage the palate to widen to the proper shape. These are important appliances for correcting crossbites and crowding. Palatal expanders often go in before braces to make room for the teeth to go where they’re supposed to go.


A holding arch may be used when a child loses baby teeth too early. It holds the permanent front teeth and molars in place so they don’t shift and crowd the teeth that haven’t had a chance to grow in yet. A holding arch for the upper jaw is sometimes called the “Nance button,” and lower jaw holding arches are called “lower lingual holding arches.”


Bite plates are acrylic, retainer-like appliances that correct “deep” bites. A deep bite occurs when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth so much that the lower incisors touch the gum tissue behind the upper incisors, leading to many complications. A bite plate creates a barrier between the lower incisors and the upper gum tissue and helps shift the teeth to decrease the overlap.


For patients who prefer lower-profile orthodontic treatment, there are Invisalign clear aligners. Instead of brackets and wires, you receive a series of aligner trays that shift your teeth into their proper position one step at a time. Aside from being nearly invisible, one of the best things about Invisalign is that the trays are removable, which makes eating and keeping your teeth clean during your orthodontic treatment much easier, and there’s no banned foods list!

With All Types of Braces, Retention Matters

The bone-reshaping process takes time, and our teeth still remember their old position after the braces come off. This is why it’s so important to wear retainers. They help the teeth and jaws get used to the new position, and they also prevent separate shifting that happens to most people’s teeth as they get older.

Get the Best Braces for You With RockCenter Orthodontics!

If you need orthodontic treatment, schedule an initial consultation with us by calling our Upper East Side office at (212) 265-3577 or by sending us an email. Make sure to check the map for directions before you head our way, and you can also learn more about us by checking our business page. Here at RockCenter Orthodontics, we’re excited to help you achieve the smile of your dreams through orthodontic treatment!

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