Thinking of opting for clear ceramic braces over traditional metal braces? While you may have your pick, our BC and Alberta orthodontists recommend considering what many see as pros and cons of ceramic braces before making your choice.
What You Should Know About Ceramic Braces
If you're diagnosed with an orthodontic condition, your orthodontist at myORTHODONTIST may recommend braces to correct your issue. While metal braces are still a popular option for many reasons, many patients now consider ceramic braces for their reduced visibility and other factors.
While all braces can help to realign and straighten teeth, we recommend patients carefully weigh their options and learn all they can about orthodontic treatment options available to them before making their choice, as your daily life will be affected by the decision you make. Plus, you'll be wearing your braces for a significant amount of time during your treatment - you want to ensure you're making the right choice for you.
Traditional metal braces are somewhat more visible when you speak, grin or laugh. The brackets in ceramic braces are made of ceramic or porcelain, or plastic in some cases. These are less visually apparent than ceramic braces since they blend in with the colour of your natural teeth, which will typically make them less noticeable.
Ceramic braces are sometimes used on front teeth, while other types of braces are used on teeth that are less visible, depending on your condition and the decisions you and your orthodontist make.
You may also have heard of clear braces - a form of ceramic braces that can help shift the teeth to their new positions using wires and brackets. These clear ceramic braces are distinct from another popular orthodontic treatment, Invisalign clear aligners, which are transparent and can be removed.
Aligners are custom-made orthodontic devices that are similar in appearance to clear ceramic braces.
How Braces Help
Braces are an orthodontic treatment that can be used to straighten teeth and help resolve orthodontic issues for children, teens and adults.
In the past few decades, braces have gone from having thick wires that led to some patients feeling self-conscious during their treatment, to being more streamlined, with a lower profile appearance.
The functional and aesthetic advances in braces and orthodontic technology have resulted in many adults and teens considering orthodontic treatment to straighten and strengthen teeth and correct orthodontic issues including:
- Misshapen teeth
- Gaps between teeth
Braces are made of brackets and bands that are used to realign teeth over the course of one or multiple years, depending on the severity of a patient's condition.
Candidates for Ceramic Braces
Have all of your adult teeth come in? You may be a candidate for ceramic braces if all of your adult teeth have erupted and you've mostly stopped growing. This may result in a reduced treatment time and lower risk of brackets breaking due to strain of tooth movement.
Ceramic braces may also be a good choice for you if you'd like to choose a more visually subtle option that's white or tooth-coloured.
Important Factors to Consider with Clear Ceramic or Metal Braces
Before getting clear ceramic or metal braces, you should consider things like durability, sensitivity, cost, diet, and oral care.
While traditional metal braces are somewhat more visible, they have become less noticeable in recent years with their lower profile appearance, though they still use metal brackets connected by a wire. Ceramic braces have tooth-coloured ceramic brackets that blend in with your teeth, and patients can choose a tooth-coloured arch wire, allowing them to look translucent on a patient's teeth.
With metal braces, younger patients may choose coloured brackets and bands to coordinate with their fashion choices, while ceramic braces may be less noticeable in pictures.
Length of Treatment
Ceramic braces typically take between 12 and 36 months to straighten a patient's teeth, which may be comparable to metal braces depending on your orthodontic condition or malocclusion (bite problem). Ceramic braces typically wouldn't be used to address severe misalignment.
Traditional metal braces are normally the most economical choice for orthodontic treatment since they are usually the most effective. Ceramic braces are usually a little more expensive than traditional braces, and certain insurance policies may not cover the additional expense, so it is advisable to verify with your insurance carrier before proceeding.
While ceramic braces last a long time and are strong, the ceramic material used may also be more brittle than steel. It may chip or break if you participate in sports or are involved in activities that can negatively affect your mouth or jaw, or are more likely to result in injury. Repairs to ceramic braces after injury or damage can also be rather costly.
Some foods can get stuck in the components of metal or ceramic braces, causing the parts to shift out of place and cause damage to brackets or wires. While apples, candy, popcorn and caramel are examples of foods that we recommend avoiding, there are many more foods and snacks that are on the "do not eat" list/
In addition, some foods and beverages such as tomato sauce, cola, coffee or tea and discolor and stain transparent ceramic brackets in clear ceramic braces.
Irritation & Sensitivity
Ceramic brackets are larger than standard metal brackets, which leads to moderate irritation of inner lips for some patients due to the ceramic material. While the difference is typically negligible, it's important to note this if your oral cavity is usually sensitive.
Maintenance & Oral Hygiene Care
While clear ceramic braces may be less visible on the teeth due to their near translucency, food and plaque can easily become lodged in their brackets and wires, causing them to become unsightly - and unusable.
That's why we remind our patients to practice good oral hygiene habits on a regular basis and to always floss after each meal to keep your teeth clean, especially with ceramic braces.