The Least Attractive Braces Create The Most Attractive Results

You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that a recent study showed people find metal braces the least attractive of all teeth-straightening appliances. But for orthodontists, it creates a paradox: stainless steel braces are the least aesthetically pleasing, but their results are usually the most aesthetically pleasing.

Researchers at Ohio State University ranked different orthodontic appliances on a numeric scale representing "extremely unattractive" to "extremely attractive." Metal braces scored the lowest, followed by clear or tooth-colored ceramic braces. Ranking highest were lingual braces (which are unseen because they are behind the teeth), with clear tooth trays like Invisalign coming in a close second.

Attractiveness versus effectiveness is not the only discrepancy. Orthodontists also find that the most aesthetically pleasing devices are the least durable and most difficult for dentists to manipulate.

If you are considering one of these options, speak at length with your orthodontist about the benefits and disadvantages of each one as they apply to your lifestyle.

Tell us about your experience with one of these kinds of orthodontic devices by leaving a comment below.

5 Comments
  • Bob Perkins Anonymous
    Posted on

    Jerica- Ohio State is a great university for sure but whether it is "legit" or not regarding their orthodontic assertions are another matter entirely. From my experience there tends to be a reluctance for most orthodontic (and periodontal) programs to evolve (as I define it). Paradigms that date back decades are adhered to even though there is significant science and empirical data to seriously question that paradigm. Being on the "cutting edge" is more important to me and my patients than subscribing to the assertions of a few people on a dental committee. I don't mean to sound controversial but I am reminded that it wasn't long ago that dental schools were teaching the placement of silver mercury fillings as the "standard of care". I wouldn't be surprised if most dental schools still teach in placement of silver mercury fillings. Certainly the general public is not asking for these types of fillings. I am doing a lot of thi

  • Posted on

    Jerica- your right that Ohio St. is "legit", and so may be their research protocol and procedures...however, their conclusions and headline statements don't match my experience. For example, the "most" attractive results can be reached with the "most" attractive braces or aligners. Myself and thousands of others trained in using clear aligners can perfect a smile. Clear aligners are the most attractive and can still lead to an ideal smile and an ideal bite or "the most attractive results". Different skill sets and experience with the materials between dentists is the bigger, more important variable here. Thanks for your question- hope this helps you!

  • Jerica
    Posted on

    Dr. Perkins & Dr. Hadley, I'm definitely confused. Ohio State is legit. Is their study just totally off? How do you explain the results? Thanks in advance for an answer!

  • Posted on

    WOW-I couild not agree more with Dr. Perkins. The beauty of orthodontic treatment allows for several modalities of care based on the patient, his or her life stlye and the goals of treatment. The ability to hit the bulls eye with orthodontic treatment is in the hands of the clinician and has very little, if anything, to do with the color of the wire or an invisible aligner.

  • Bob Perkins Anonymous
    Posted on

    I would strongly disagree with the assertions made by this article. I don't see any connection whatsoever between metal braces and attractive results or, clear braces and less attractive results. I am doing exclusively clear brackets(braces)and tooth colored nickel titanium wires and the results I am getting (in 6 months or less in most cases) are nothig short of outstanding. There is nothing I have done in cosmetic dentistry that has been any more predictable and gratifying (for both the patient and myself) as short term orthodontics. Yes, fear not, you can straighten teeth in a relatively short period of time and look good while you are doing it... Dr. Bob Perkins www.smilesinmalibu.com

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