If you’re looking to get metal braces, you’re probably searching for the smallest, most discreet version. Luckily, plenty of orthodontists now offer small braces.
Having used all shapes and sizes of metal braces, including mini and micro brackets, I will happily help you decide which one to choose.
What Are The Smallest Braces?
The smallest braces available are Micro Braces. Forestadent, a German orthodontic brand, claims to have made the world’s smallest braces: Micro Sprint®. But there are other brands of these tiny braces as well.
Let’s look at all the available options to understand the difference better. Conventional metal brackets come in three sizes:
Mini braces are metal brackets that are 20% smaller than traditional braces. They are more comfortable and easy to adjust to and work just as well as standard brackets.
Micro braces are 40% smaller than regular braces and have a very flat profile. Because of their extreme size, they are more challenging to use and are only recommended in select cases.
Small metal braces still work like regular braces. They use the same arch wires and bands, but the brackets are more compact, so they take up less space on teeth.
Orthodontists have worked for decades to create smaller and smaller brackets. To some degree, they’ve succeeded. But there’s a limit to how small we can go to remain effective.
Can You Get Small Braces?
To get small braces, address your orthodontist and ask to see samples of their braces. Not all orthodontists will carry mini or micro braces in their stock, so they might need to order them just for you.
Keep in mind that extremely small braces, like micro braces have their drawbacks. Your orthodontist may not agree to bond this type of bracket and may recommend another brand instead.
What Are Mini Braces
Mini braces are a type of bracket about 20% smaller than traditional braces. In some brands, it’s even 30% smaller than its regular counterpart.
Mini braces are made of high-grade stainless steel and are a one-piece unit, meaning they are strong and don’t risk breaking hooks or wings.
Gone are the days of clunky metal braces. With all the advancements in technology, mini braces are quickly becoming the new standard since they work just as well as the old version.
So, if you’ll be getting metal braces soon, you might be getting the mini braces and not even know it.
Are Mini Braces Better Than Traditional Ones?
Mini braces are not necessarily better than traditional braces, but they do have a few advantages.
Due to their smaller size, mini braces are easier to clean, which can help prevent plaque accumulation and periodontal problems.
Traditional brackets can easily take up the entire tooth’s surface, leaving narrow strips of enamel where plaque can build up and cause cavities.
Mini braces are also more comfortable thanks to their smooth profile. They don’t stick out as much as standard braces, causing less irritation and cheek sores.
Smaller isn’t always better when it comes to teeth straightening, though. The larger the bracket, the easier it is to transmit forces and achieve root movements. This is why going too small can potentially make brackets ineffective.
What Are Micro Braces?
Micro braces are the smallest braces available. With a compact shape and a very flat profile, these braces are up to 40% smaller and barely noticeable.
Micro braces use the same arch wire and techniques as larger braces. This can pose some problems, as the thicker arch wires are harder to place and secure on these tiny brackets.
Orthodontic bands, known as elastic ties, are also harder to place on micro braces. Regular bands are made for larger brackets, and can slip off the micro braces wings.
To solve this problem, some brands like Forestadent created special bands that are smaller and tighter (they only come in silver, though).
Due to their smaller size, micro braces can be a bit more challenging to manage – both for yourself and for your orthodontist.
Micro braces often break more easily since they have a smaller surface to apply glue to. They may also not transmit tooth movement as easily as larger braces, which could potentially make the treatment take slightly longer.
Micro braces are fantastic for smaller teeth, where regular or even mini braces can create hygiene issues and swollen gums. This is perhaps their greatest advantage.
Advantages of Small Braces
Small braces, like mini and micro braces, offer significant benefits over traditional braces for orthodontic treatment. They’re easier to clean, reducing your risk of gum disease and cavities.
The smaller size also makes them less noticeable, boosting your self-esteem during treatment. Here are the most notable advantages of small braces:
|Type of Braces||Size||Benefits|
|Traditional||Largest||The most effective, commonly used|
|Mini||20-30% smaller||Effective, Easier to clean, more comfortable|
|Micro||Smallest (40% smaller)||Great for small teeth, less visible|
Disadvantages of Small Braces
While small braces may be more appealing, it’s important to consider their downsides to make an informed decision. Here are some of the disadvantages of mini and micro braces:
|Type of Braces||Cons|
|Traditional||Highly visible, discomfort, difficulty cleaning|
|Mini||Less adherent, more food restrictions, less precise tooth movement|
|Micro||Least adherent, longer treatment time, least precise tooth movement|
So there you have it: mini and micro braces in a nutshell. Mini braces are quickly replacing bulky traditional brackets, so you might find that your orthodontist offers them, too.
Micro braces are harder to find and are less frequently used because of their limitations. I don’t advise that you choose micro braces strictly for looks.