How Braces Are Made

If you are thinking about getting braces or already have them, you are probably curious about what braces are actually made of and how they work.  The three most popular ways to straighten teeth are traditional (metal) braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign.  Each of these are made differently and work in different ways to straighten teeth.

Traditional Braces

These are made of titanium or high quality stainless steel and are composed of three parts:

  • Brackets (either traditional or passive self-ligation systems)- the brackets are metal and are placed directly on the teeth using special glue.  Traditional brackets have a place for the elastic tie to be wrapped around them.  Passive self-ligation systems are brackets that use “sliding door” technology, allowing the wire to move as needed instead of being tied with an elastic tie.
  • Archwire – the archwire is also made of metal and is a thin wire connecting the brackets together.  The wire puts pressure on the teeth, which gradually guides them into the desired position.
  • Elastic ties – these elastic ties are wrapped around the traditional brackets to keep the wire in place.  They come in a variety of colors that you can choose from and are changed each time you have an orthodontic appointment.

Ceramic or Clear Braces

These brackets are made from non-porous alumina compounds, rather than metal.  They are either clear or a color that closely matches your tooth color and are bonded (glued) to the teeth.  They still utilize a metal archwire and elastic ties, but the archwire is “frosted” with white to blend in more closely with the color of your teeth and brackets. The elastic ties would normally be clear.

These braces work in the same way as traditional braces, although some orthodontists warn that they can take a bit longer than metal braces.  Ceramic braces require a little more care to keep clean.


These are clear, plastic aligner trays that are produced for each individual based off of an impression(model) of the patient’s mouth.  The orthodontist will take photos and an impression to send to Invisalign.  Aligner trays have to be changed frequently; every seven days on average.

Now that you know all the ways to straighten teeth and how they are made, contact us at Hage Orthodontics to set up a consultation where we can help you decide which method is best for you!



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