Metal Braces – Highland Park, IL

We Can Help You Enjoy A Healthier, Happier Smile

Group of teens with metal braces smiling

Understanding Traditional Metal Braces

Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. Traditional metal braces from our Highland Park, IL orthodontist feature brackets that run along a guide wire. The wire and brackets that form part of the braces are pressed against the patient’s teeth. This supports minor movements that can help in properly aligning and straightening the teeth.

Fortunately, the world of modern orthodontics is not what it was like years ago, many people had to endure painful, cold, sterile metal braces and feared having to go to the orthodontist.

Metal Braces Are Now More Comfortable Than Ever

Metal braces had a reputation for being a bit awkward and obvious, but with the advancement of modern orthodontics, these once annoying components are smaller, less conspicuous, and way more comfortable than ever before.

With sleeker brackets and featherweight wires, the appearance and feel of modern braces work to keep irritation in the patient’s mouth to a minimum and increase the speed at which your teeth change position. It really is a beautiful thing!

The Pros of Metal Braces

Suitable for All Treatment Types

Metal dental braces can correct even the most complicated issues in aligning your teeth.These newly designed braces are not only esthetically pleasing, but functional as well. These are beneficial in closing gaps and correcting crooked teeth fast.

Achieve Near Perfect Results

Braces can achieve more precise results than Invisalign. Metal braces have the ability to apply more force to move teeth into the desired position and with multiple angles of pull, metal braces allow your orthodontist more treatment options. While Invisalign is a great option, it is limited in terms of how much teeth can be moved at a time.

Costs Less

The typical cost of regular braces varies widely depending on the case type, but is usually in the range of $2,500 to $6,000. In turn, the typical cost of Invisalign costs between $3,500 to $8,000.

Multiple Options and Colors to Choose From

Customize that smile! With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Faster Treatment Time

Oh yes time is on your side!

Generally, when closing gaps and aligning teeth the treatment time can be faster with tradional metal braces vs Invisalign.

Speed of treatment can play a big factor for adults as well as kids to get their orthodontic treatment finished as fast as possible.

One thing to note is that the skill and experience of your Orthodontist can also contribute to consistently faster treatment times (Psst, Dr. Cohen is really good at this:)).

Low Profile Design for Ease of Speaking

With a low profile design, you no longer have to alter your mouth speech patterns, which is really benefical for kids when they have to give a speech in school or for an adult giving presentations at the workplace.

The Cons of Metal Braces

Aesthetics of Tradional Braces

A lot of folks don’t like the look of traditional braces. They are worried they will feel self conscious about their appearance in some social settings. This can deeply affect teens in a part of their life when their bodies are going through all sorts of changes. The best solution we found is to identify what makes each patient feel comfortable and put a plan together to make sure they feel good about themselves while getting tremendous results.

Difficulty Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing your teeth can be difficult with braces, especially when you first get started. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, you risk having plaque build up around the braces which can lead to staining and decay.

Our patients are given instructions to follow and are always welcome to ask for a simple in office refresher course on how to correctly brush and floss while your braces are on.

Changes in Diet and Food Preparation

So, this might be the biggest challenge of all. Care needs to be taken with various foods and drinks you consume with braces.

Hard and sticky foods like taffy can cause the arch wire to break or a bracket to pop off your tooth. Not good!

Once this happens, your braces won’t work until the breakage is fixed. This can affect your total treatment time.

Regular Consultations Needed

While we do love seeing you at the orthodontic office, it does become a minor inconvience having to come into the orthodontic office for your regular checkups. The fact is, we need these frequent visits to check on progress you are making and adjust accordingly. Typically, we do a monthly review to see how well your teeth have moved and make changes, so they continue to move your teeth properly.

By contrast, our Invisalign patients visit the orthodontic office less frequently because their aligners have already been made in advanced.

May Lead to Jaw Pain & Headaches

The primary side effect of braces is pain. When Dr. Coehn tightens your braces to make changes, it adds tension to the jaw. This tightening helps align the teeth, but puts added pressure on the mouth and face.

This may trigger pain in your mouth and head. In addition to this, chewing or biting down on hard or rough items like potato chips can cause gum pain and bleeding, as the gums are already irritated.


Hard foods like nuts, candy, and ice cubes or foods that must be bitten into or from a bone or cob can result in the accidental breakage of wires.

Broken wires can do damage to your mouth by scraping and poking the inside of your mouth, causing cuts and bleeding.

Breakages and delays in repair can also prevent progress.

The Costs of Metal Braces in Highland Park

One of the first thoughts most parents have when they come to our Highland Park orthodontic office is that braces are going to cost a lot of money. But that’s not really the case when you consider the long-term benefits and problems that they can help avoid.

Orthodontic procedures, like many other medical procedures, may cost several thousands of dollars because of all the work involved.

The good news is that there are a plethora of payment options available to make braces way more affordable.

Learn more about our affordable payment options by scheduling a Free Exam at our orthodontic office.

Components of Metal Braces


Brackets are typically made from an alloyed mix of stainless steel, nickel, and other metals that are designed to be extremely durable and long-lasting.

Brackets have little hooks over which the wire is threaded to secure the brackets in place.


This is what we typically use to attach brackets to your teeth.

Although some orthodontists may attach the brackets to a metal band that is then crimped around the tooth to hold it in place, it’s much more common these days to attach the bracket directly to the tooth with glue.

In certain cases that require more serious or accelerated treatment schedule, metal bands may be used together with glue to give the braces more leverage and stability.


This thin piece of metal runs from one bracket to another. Over time, Dr. Cohen will change the shape and overall curvature of the wire to help assist the movement of your teeth in the desired direction. And yes, today’s braces are far more comfortable than in the past, thanks to shape-memory NiTi wires.

Using technology developed at NASA, NiTi wires exert a continuous force against the teeth to move them in the right direction.

This eliminates the ongoing need for wire tightening and reduces a patient’s overall time in braces! Pretty cool eh!

Supporting Elastics

For patients who need specific bite correction, elastics are a critical component to its sucess. Typically, the elastics are placed between an upper bracket hook and a lower bracket hook, this enables a pulling of the upper jaw backward to correct an overbite, or the lower jaw backward to correct an underbite.

Also, you may need rubber bands to help bring your front teeth together or to increase the number of teeth you show when you smile. This will all be decided on during your report of finding exam with Dr. Cohen.

Understanding the Cost of Traditional Braces 

One of the first thoughts most patients have when they come to our Highland Park orthodontic office is that braces are going to cost a lot of money. But that’s not really the case when you consider the long-term benefits and problems that they can help avoid. Orthodontic procedures, like many other medical procedures, may cost several thousands of dollars because of all the work involved. The good news is that there are a plethora of payment options available to make braces way more affordable.

Learn more about our affordable payment options by scheduling a Free Exam at our orthodontic office.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Traditional Braces

Some factors that can have a bearing on the cost of traditional braces include:

  • The severity of your dental misalignment. The complexity and severity of your case will affect how long your treatment will take, the type of accessories you require, and the amount of work involved. Naturally, all such factors can have an impact on the cost of your care.
  • Your age. The teeth of older individuals move more slowly than those of children and teens. Therefore, adult orthodontic care may incur slightly higher fees.
  • Compliance with treatment guidelines. You should be careful to follow all of our treatment instructions. Missteps could damage your braces, slow down your progress, and possibly cause you to spend more money.

Professional Braces vs. “DIY” Braces: Which Costs More? 

In recent years, do-it-yourself (DIY) braces have seen a boom in popularity. Videos on social media may show people using items like super glue, fishing lines, earring backs, paper clips, and dental floss to move their teeth.

At a glance, these DIY methods might seem appealing because they cost so much less than professional orthodontic care. However, they are extremely risky. Without the guidance of a professional, you might end up moving your teeth in the wrong direction or seriously damaging them. When you visit an orthodontist to correct the issues caused by DIY hacks, you may end up spending more money than you would have if you had sought professional care from the beginning.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Braces? 

Many dental insurance policies do not include a provision for orthodontic care. However, there are some exceptions, particularly for minor patients. It is worth checking with your family’s insurance company to see how your policy might apply. It is possible that your benefits could cover 50% of your care, up to the amount of your lifetime orthodontic maximum. Our friendly team can guide you through the process of using your policy to your greatest advantage.

Options for Making Braces Affordable

Beyond insurance, there may be a few provisions you could use to make your braces easier to fit into your budget:

  • A FREE initial exam. You can take this important first step on your journey for nothing out of pocket.
  • FSA or HSA. You may be able to use your flexible spending account or healthcare savings account to pay for a portion of your care.
  • Payment plans. Ask our team about your financing options!

Are you eager to learn more about braces and their cost? Get in touch with our team today so we can answer all of your questions.


Traditional Braces FAQs 


Am I Too Old to Get Braces?

Lots of people assume that braces are only for children and teens, but the fact is that people of any age can benefit from what they have to offer. It’s true that adults’ teeth are a little more firmly entrenched in the jaw, which means that it may take a little bit more time for your teeth to get where you’d like them to be. However, it’s still plenty possible for adults to get and benefit from orthodontics.

It’s worth noting, however, that even dental plans that cover braces for children may not do the same for adults. If you’re an adult who wants to straighten your teeth, you should ensure that your orthodontics will be covered.

Can I Chew Gum with Traditional Braces?

We recommend against chewing any kind of gum while wearing your braces. For one, it’s possible that this gum could get stuck in your brackets. This could cause you to bend a wire or pop a bracket, significantly delaying the timeline of treatment.

You might have heard that chewing sugar-free gum could remove food particles and improve your oral health, and while that’s arguably true, it’s not worth risking the integrity of your braces.

Can You Drink Coffee with Traditional Braces?

Coffee isn’t necessarily a problem for your braces, though it’s a good idea to exercise caution when eating or drinking anything that could stain your teeth. If you let discoloration get away from you, it’s possible that you could have light spots on your teeth once your braces come off, like a clean spot after you move furniture.

If you want to keep drinking coffee, try and do so with a straw to avoid the coffee’s contact with the teeth. You can also make it a point to brush after drinking coffee, reducing the impact of the discoloring agent on the teeth.

Why Do My Teeth Feel Loose with Braces?

In order for braces to effectively move the teeth, they need to loosen the ligaments that connect the teeth to the jaw. As a consequence, you might feel a little bit like your teeth are “floating.”

This is all a part of the process, and it’s actually a sign that the braces are working. Moreover, this is completely temporary, and will fade soon after your braces are taken off. Once your jawbone has gotten used to the new positions of your teeth, it reabsorbs and solidifies them in place, so the feeling of looseness fades.

Can I Get Traditional Braces on Just My Top or Bottom Teeth?

Technically, patients can get braces on just their top or bottom teeth. That said, orthodontists rarely ever suggest this option.

You see, braces are made to align both arches. Only shifting one and not the other could do more harm than good. For example, braces that fix crowding only move the straightened teeth forward. Such an adjustment would cause your arches to fit poorly together. You could then develop chewing issues, TMJ disorder, or a teeth-grinding habit.

In the end, an orthodontist will only recommend single-arch work if it’s the best option for you. Still, most patients are better off wearing braces on both arches.

Do Traditional Braces Hurt?

Wearing traditional braces can hurt a bit at first. As you adjust to the brackets and wires, your teeth and gums will likely feel sore. However, this effect is normal. It’s only natural to have some aches when your teeth shift into new positions. More crucially, the discomfort will fade with time. It should only last for a week at most.

Of course, you can take steps to manage the initial pain. One option is to take store-bought pain relievers like ibuprofen. You could also eat soft foods for a few days to reduce irritation. If the braces’ wires poke into your mouth’s tissues, orthodontic wax will also help.

Can I Chew Gum with Traditional Braces?

It isn’t a good idea to chew gum with traditional braces. If you do so, you’ll delay or complicate the alignment process.

The reality is that gum can get stuck in braces. When it does, it may bend the appliance’s wires and shift your teeth in the wrong direction. This latter issue is especially bad if it isn’t caught in time. In that case, you’ll prolong the length of your care.

All that said, sugar-free gum could also help your treatment. Some studies suggest chewing it while you wear braces may reduce gum inflammation. When you chew the substance, you increase blood flow to your gum tissues.

What Happens After You Get Your Braces Off?

Even when you stop wearing braces, you’ll need to be careful. Your teeth will try to shift back to their original positions. (This shifting is quite likely during the first few months after the braces’ removal.)

To preserve your treatment results, you’ll need to wear a retainer. This appliance is often removable but can be permanently fixed at times. Either way, the amount of time it’s worn will vary. You should wear a removable retainer at nearly all times soon after your braces’ removal. (This setup would apply for several days or weeks.) Later, you can settle for wearing the device nightly.