Getting braces is a process that most people will go through, especially when they are young. Braces do require a lot of attention and check-ups with an orthodontist, and potentially a lot of adjustments, too. While the appointment and adjustment part of braces may not seem so fun, there are ways to make your braces your own and keep them feeling fresh each time you visit your orthodontist. After all, the average patient will keep their braces on from one to three years, so rather than lament your treatment, you might as well enjoy it. In order to know how to modify your braces for your style, you’ll need to know about your options for braces themselves.

Traditionally, braces are made of metal, specifically nickel. They are a series of silver brackets held in place by a bonding agent, metal wires, and rubber bands, or o-rings. For those allergic to nickel, or for those who just want a different look, braces can also come in titanium, gold, or a clear plastic bracket. There is also the option for Invisalign, for those people with slight adjustments needed, or for people who would like to keep their orthodontic correction as invisible as possible by using clear, fitted trays. Invisalign trays do not allow for the type of personalized options that the traditional metal bracket braces do, though. Neither to self-ligating braces, which involve a permanently-installed mechanism that holds the metal archwire in place, rendering the need for rubber bands useless.

So, after you have selected the type of metal (or plastic) bracket braces that you would like, it is time to then select the rubber bands, or o-rings, that will cover the metal square brackets on your teeth to provide your lips and cheeks with comfort. Nowadays, there are a myriad of colors to choose from when it comes to these rubber bands. Your orthodontist should have a color wheel available for you to choose from. This wheel will have everything from black, white, and gray, to all of the colors of the rainbow, and even some glitter and neon options as well.

You can get multiple colors put in to represent a favorite sports team (electric blue and black for Carolina Panthers fans) or red, white, and blue if your braces are set or adjusted on July 4th, for example. If you want to keep it simple, you can match your bands to your metal brackets with silver, clear, or gold. If you usually wear blues or pinks, for example, you can choose bands that suit your typical wardrobe. You can also choose colors that compliment your skin tone. Darker band colors, like royal purples or forest greens, can make teeth look whiter. Lighter colors, like white or yellow, will make teeth look dirty or stained, because those bands get stained more easily than others.

If you are having trouble deciding, you can always find a tool online that shows what certain bands look like on braces, which will help you see the true color (which is usually a tad lighter than on your orthodontist’s color wheel). The most important thing, though, is that you feel comfortable with your fresh, new bands, and that you know that you can always change them out at your next appointment to keep things fun for you throughout your treatment.