Dental braces: types and costs

You don't necessarily need fixed metal braces to achieve a beautiful straight smile. We provide an overview of the different kinds of braces, how much they cost and possible alternatives.

Reading time: 12min

Topic: Aligner

Clear braces

Why wear orthodontic braces?

Straight healthy teeth are a symbol of beauty and attractiveness. But not everyone has been blessed with a flawless smile. These people may decide to undergo orthodontic treatment to correct their teeth. Reasons for orthodontic braces can be aesthetic or medical in nature.

Depending on the kind of correction that the patient needs, orthodontic treatment can be carried out with a variety of different braces. But which ones are the best?

Dental braces for adults

Our teeth continue to shift throughout our entire lives. Crooked teeth and certain kinds of malocclusion may only appear once you're older. As an adult, you will be wondering what kind of braces are right for you. Many adults want their treatment to be fast and discreet and therefore seek alternatives to conventional metal brackets.

Transparent and removable braces for adults are the ideal solution for many patients. Clear aligners are very discreet, achieve visible results in short periods of time and are easy to integrate into your daily life.

Interested in Aligners?

Schedule a free appointment online now and get advised by our expert team.

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Types of orthodontic braces: an overview

Malocclusions can be corrected with a wide variety of different braces, for example:

  1. Fixed braces
  1. Removable braces
  • Aligners and night aligners
  • Orthodontic plates
  • Functional orthodontic appliances, often combined with external braces (headgear)

Here we provide an overview of several types of braces, their pros and cons, length of treatment, who they're best suited for and how much they cost.

  Suitable for Length of treatment Costs Target group

mild to moderate malocclusion

3 to 12 months

22 hours per day,

from CHF 3,490 at bestsmile

age 16 and over

Teens Aligner

slight to moderate malocclusions or incorrectly positioned jaws

depends on malocclusion

from CHF 6,490

age 11 and over

Night braces (Night Aligners)

very mild malocclusion

6 to 14 months,

8 to 10 hours per night

from CHF 3,490 at bestsmile

age 16 and over

Grinding guard

nocturnal grinding, grinding one's teeth


CHF 500 at bestsmile

everyone who clenches or grinds their teeth

Metal braces (Brackets)

almost all malocclusions

several months to several years

up to CHF 15,000

  • children
  • adolescents
  • adults
Lingual braces

almost all malocclusions

several months to several years

up to CHF 15,000

  • adolescents
  • adults
External braces*

malocclusions in which the molars need to be kept in place or moved backwards

approx. 8 to 18 months

from CHF 5,000

children who are still growing

Activator / Bionator**
  • recessed lower jaw, also due to bones

  • promotes development of the jaws and oral cavity

approx. 1 to 3 years

from CHF 1,000

children who are still growing

*Usually combined with an activator

**Usually in combination with headgear

Aligners – clear braces

Man wearing clear aligners

Clear braces can correct slight to moderate malocclusions. Transparent braces snap onto the teeth without wires and clips and can be taken out of the mouth at any time. The US company Align Technology (Invisalign) brought about an explosion of popularity for clear aligners. Today there are numerous Invisalign alternatives like the bestsmile Aligner. You can see before and after pictures of our Aligner treatment here:

  • Aligner before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after
  • Veneers before after
    Veneers treatment after

Like other braces, the removable aligners exert pressure on the teeth to move them into the desired position. Depending on the patient's starting point, treatment with bestsmile Aligners takes between 3 and 12 months. The type of malocclusion determines how many aligner trays are needed as well as whether attachments or slicing/stripping are necessary.

Advantages of aligners

  • Barely visible and discreet
  • Can be removed at any time, making it easy to wear during the day
  • Not painful (many patients only experience pressure/tension)
  • Can achieve results in a relatively short period of time

Disadvantages of aligners

  • Can't correct every kind of malocclusion
  • Requires responsibility and cooperation from the patient

Who are aligners well suited for?

Adults and adolescents aged 16 and up

Length of treatment and wear time for aligners

3 to 12 months, 22 hours per day

Clear aligners costs

More about Aligners


Good to know

bestsmile Aligners are made of medical-grade plastic and are BPA free. What does that mean?


BPA makes plastic harder and longer lasting. The material is often criticised because it can damage people's health. bestsmile Aligners are completely biocompatible and are manufactured in accordance with the Swiss Medicinal Products Act.

Night braces

Night braces

There are also special removable braces designed to be worn at night. bestsmile Night Aligners work in a similar fashion to bestsmile Aligners but are only worn for 8 to 10 hours at night. However, night braces are only suitable for correcting very slight bite problems. Schedule your free consultation now to find out from our orthodontists and specialised dentists whether night braces are right for you.

Length of treatment and wear time for Night Aligners

6 to 14 months, 8 to 10 hours per night

More information on Night Aligners

Night guard for teeth grinding

Night guard for teeth grinding

Another type of braces for night-time wear is the night guard for teeth grinding (Night Guard). It doesn't correct any malocclusions but can be the ideal add-on after orthodontic treatment for people suffering from bruxism. Night guards work by protecting the teeth from nocturnal grinding and clenching. Bruxism is connected to a lot of different factors. The night guard for teeth grinding can be part of an overall treatment approach alongside stress reduction, moderate endurance exercise and physiotherapy.

Advantages of the Night Guard

  • Protects teeth and veneers from becoming worn down
  • Relaxes the jaw muscles
  • Can relieve pain in the jaws and masticatory muscles
  • Can be used as a retainer after finishing Aligner treatment

Disadvantages of the Night Guard

  • Can be broken if the grinding is too intense
  • Only addresses the consequences of bruxism, not the causes

Who is the grinding guard suitable for?

Everyone who grinds or clenches their teeth in their sleep

Grinding guard wear time

Every night is recommended

Costs of the Night Guard

  • CHF 500
  • Only available in combination with Aligner or Veneer treatment

More about grinding guards

Fixed braces – brackets

Metal braces (brackets)

Conventional fixed braces with brackets are one of the oldest and most proven methods of correcting crooked teeth. These braces involve gluing metal or ceramic brackets to the front of the teeth and connecting them with wires, elastics and rubber bands. The wires exert pressure on the teeth and thus move them bit by bit into the desired position.

Advantages of dental brackets

  • Very good and precise treatment results
  • Also suitable for very complex malocclusions
  • Can't be forgotten since they are fixed to the teeth

Disadvantages of dental brackets

  • Requires regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist to adjust the wires
  • Can be quite painful
  • Irritates the tongue, cheeks and lips
  • Long treatment times
  • High costs
  • Very noticeable
  • Difficult to clean and to maintain proper oral hygiene, risk of irreversible decalcification spots

Who are conventional braces with brackets suitable for?

Children and adolescents in particular, but also for adults with complex bite problems

Treatment time with brackets

1.5 to 2 years or more, depending on the severity of the malocclusion

Cost of brackets in Switzerland

Depending on the malocclusion and the type of brackets and wires used, it can cost up to CHF 15,000

Herbst appliance combined with fixed braces

Herbst appliances are fixed orthodontic devices used to correct a distal bite. Herbst appliances are metal hinges cemented to the lower canines and the upper molars that help move the lower jaw forward.

Advantages of herbst appliances

  • Can even be used after the growth spurt in adolescents and adults to achieve changes in the bone to correct retruded lower jaws; often seen as an alternative to surgical intervention
  • Good results in a relatively short period of time
  • Fixed appliance that works around the clock

Disadvantages of herbst appliances

  • Makes dental hygiene more difficult
  • Causes difficulties when chewing and eating
  • Certain foods have to be avoided

Who is the herbst appliance suitable for?

Traditionally for adolescents following the growth spurt as an alternative to surgery, also for adults up to age 30

Treatment time for herbst appliances

6 to 8 months

Costs of herbst appliances

Herbst appliances are only available in combination with fixed metal braces (before, after or simultaneously). The costs vary depending on the case and will be added to the total cost of treatment.

Lingual braces

Lingual dental braces

Lingual braces are fixed braces with metal brackets and wires that sit on the back of the teeth. Lingual braces apply the same principle as conventional braces.

Since the brackets are applied to the back of the teeth, they are often "rinsed" by saliva. Nevertheless, many patients find that dental and oral hygiene with lingual braces is difficult.

Advantages of lingual braces

  • Discreet
  • Can correct severe malocclusions
  • Successful treatment with precise results

Disadvantages of lingual braces

  • Pain during the course of treatment
  • High costs
  • Can cause injury/irritation to the tongue
  • Can impair speech
  • Difficult to perform adjustments due to difficult-to-reach position
  • Difficult to care for and clean

Who are lingual braces suitable for?

Adults with complex bite issues who specifically want invisible braces

Treatment time with lingual braces

12 to 14 months on average

Cost of lingual braces

Up to CHF 15,000 depending on the patient's malocclusion

Removable braces

People often refer to removable braces when they mean aligners. Above you can find more information on aligners.

Usually, conventional removable braces consist of a plastic plate with a wire and small springs or screws.

Advantages of removable braces

  • Can be taken out at any time
  • Easy to clean – both the braces and the teeth

Disadvantages of removable braces

  • Not suitable for growing children
  • Requires responsibility and cooperation from the patient (16-hour wear time)
  • Can impair speech and swallowing

Who are removable braces suitable for?

Children and adolescents who are still growing; children who need a placeholder for premature loss of baby teeth

Treatment and wear time with removable braces

2 to 3 years depending on the malocclusion, approx. 16 hours per day

Cost of removable braces

Starting at CHF 1,000, depending on the type of correction needed

There are different types of removable braces that can be used for different types of bite issues and corrections.

Activator / monoblock appliances

A very common type of removable braces used in Switzerland is the activator or monoblock appliance. These devices are classified as functional orthodontic appliances and are only used in children and young people who are still experiencing bone growth.

The name “activator appliance” come from its function. The activator uses only the muscles of the mouth as a source of energy, activating and stimulating them. The goal is the correct development of the jaws, improve the position of the tongue and prevent prognathism.


The bionator is similar to the activator and is an appliance designed to correct jaw malocclusions as well as an underdeveloped jaw. Bionators can often successfully correct the causes of misaligned jaws in children and young people.

Special types of removable braces

  • Vestibular plate

Vestibular plates are special braces that do not act directly on the teeth, but allow for better development of the oral cavity. Vestibular plates are used to prevent children from sucking their thumbs or soothers and can reduce unwanted mouth breathing. The goal is a harmonious and healthy development of the oral cavity. This device is used in a similar way to a soother. However, it is placed in front of the teeth rather than behind or between them and covers them almost entirely. Patients with vestibular plates need to do regular daily exercises.

  • Palatal expander

Palatal expanders are used in orthodontics to treat overly narrow upper jaws and the cross bite malocclusion that often develops as a result. The expander is activated by the child once per week and allows the upper jaw to widen. Once the two bones connecting the upper jaw fuse together, it is only possible to treat this issue with maxillary expansion surgery.

  • Mandibular expander

The mandibular expander is used in orthodontics to treat crowding of the lower jaw. With this orthodontic appliance, individual teeth can be shifted by means of wire springs.

External braces (headgear)

External braces are often used in combination with monoblock appliances or conventional braces. Headgear allows the upper molars to be kept in position or to be moved backwards as needed. It is therefore always necessary to wear headgear when the molars need to be rotated, stabilised or moved.

Advantages of headgear

  • Supports complex repositioning of teeth in combination with other orthodontic treatment methods
  • Can be taken off at any time

Disadvantages of headgear

  • Awkward and uncomfortable
  • Requires responsibility and cooperation from the patient (12-hour wear time)

Who is headgear suitable for?

Mainly children and adolescents, but can also be used in adults

Treatment and wear time for headgear

Around 8 months with a recommended minimum wear time of 12 hours per day (at home and at night)

Costs for headgear in Switzerland

CHF 5,000 to CHF 12,000

There are different types of headgear. The most common are conventional headgear and the Delaire face mask. Treatment with these appliances takes around one year. Both headgear and Delaire face masks need to be worn at least 12 to 16 hours per day. Since much of this wear time is usually at night, headgear is often categorised as a type of night braces.

  • Delaire face mask

The Delaire face mask treats misaligned jaws where the upper jaw is recessed and the lower jaw is too far forward. These appliances, placed outside of the mouth in front of the patient’s face, are considered very unaesthetic and are very visible. In contrast with typical headgear, this device isn't fixed in place with straps but has a wire frame that rests on the chin and forehead.

  • Headgear

For headgear, small tubes are attached to the patient’s back and canine teeth, and the appliance is attached to the patient’s head or neck with straps. These appliances, placed outside of the mouth in front of the patient’s face, are considered very unaesthetic and are very visible. Headgear is attached to the head using straps.

What are the best braces for me?

There are a variety of different braces and treatment methods that could be right for you depending on your orthodontic situation and personal wishes. Not all of the braces presented on this page are appropriate for adults, since jaw growth often places a critical role in your occlusion. The following types of braces are generally suitable for treating adults:

Aligners: an alternative to fixed braces

As many bestsmile customers can tell you in their Aligner reviews, Aligners are the best choice of braces for adults. This modern approach to braces is a good alternative to conventional metal braces with brackets. They are suited for correcting a variety of malocclusions and crooked teeth, and they are very popular thanks to being discreet and nearly invisible.

Interested in Aligner treatment?

Schedule a free consultation appointment near you today. Our orthodontists and expert dentists will be happy to advise you and accompany you along your journey to achieving a beautiful smile.

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Last update: 21.09.2023


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