Orthodontics

Ceramic Braces vs. Traditional Metal Braces- Which One is Better?

ceramic braces

Everyone loves straight teeth, but not all people feel comfortable with traditional metal braces. Ceramic braces are a popular alternative because they are effective but less noticeable.

In this guide, we have gathered all the information you need to make up your mind about which type of braces are most suitable for you.

Ceramic braces—what are they?

Ceramic braces use clear or tooth-colored brackets made of polycrystalline alumina. To gradually straighten teeth, fixed ceramic brackets are glued to the front surfaces of each tooth and connected with an archwire—a thin metal wire runs through each bracket.

During orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to visit your orthodontist every 6 to 10 weeks for adjustments to keep your teeth directed in the desired position. The total treatment time usually lasts 18–24 months; however, this highly depends on your dental condition.

You may feel a little sore for a day or two after tightening the braces, but it should be minimal.

Ceramic brackets are ideal for adults and teens that want a slightly more discreet braces experience.

what are ceramic braces

Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

As you know, there are a few different kinds of braces, and self-ligating braces are one of those options that do not need ligature ties to hold the wire in place.

Self-ligating braces, like metal braces, consist of metal brackets and wires that do not need the help of ligature ties or “o” ties to hold the wire in place. Instead, they are designed with a small door on the bracket that can open and close to hold the wire in place.

To better understand, let’s look at traditional metal braces.

Fixed metal braces generally consist of 3 parts: metal brackets, archwire, and ligature ties (also known as “o” ties or the colors that go on your braces).

Your orthodontist cements metal brackets and runs an arch wire through them with the help of ligature ties. The wire is an adjustable and flexible part of your braces, moving your teeth into the desired position by putting adequate pressure on them. Ligature ties are placed around the metal brackets to hold the wire in place while aligning your teeth.

In self-ligating braces, the doors on the metal brackets hold the wire securely in place without the use of ligature ties.

The function and mechanism of self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces, like traditional metal braces, need your orthodontist to attach brackets to the surface of your teeth. The process of getting your braces on is slightly shorter than with regular braces since they do not need ligature ties to secure the wire.

Another benefit of self-ligating braces is that they reduce appointment times because opening and closing the brackets (thanks to the clip mechanism) is as easy as shutting the door.

Ceramic braces vs. traditional metal braces

The main distinction between metal and ceramic braces is the esthetic. Ceramic brackets are tooth-colored which makes them less visible, especially from a distance. They can be a great option for a less noticeable orthodontic experience.

Now, you may ask yourself: “Why have ceramic brackets not entirely replaced metal ones?”

Please consider some factors:

  • Ceramic brackets are more expensive for the office and the patient.
  • Foods and drinks like coffee can stain light colored ligature ties.
  • Cermamic brackets are more fragile than metal brackets.
Ceramic braces Metal braces
cost More expensive More cost effective
Uses It can be a good option for the treatment of both cosmetic and severe alignment problems It can be a good option for the treatment of both cosmetic and severe alignment problems
Durability Less durable More durable
Appearance Less visible More visible
Duration and results

*dependent on your individual case*

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Ceramic braces vs. invisible aligners (Invisalign)

  Ceramic braces Invisible aligners (Invisalign)
cost More expensive More cost effective
Uses It can be a good option to treat severe alignment problems It can be a good choice for the treatment of milder alignment problems
Durability more durable Less durable
Appearance A bit more visible Less visible
Duration and results

*Dependent on your individual case*

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Benefits and drawbacks of ceramic braces

Here is a quick review of the pros and cons of ceramic brackets, particularly compared to traditional metal braces.

The advantages:

  • Ceramic braces are clear so, they are less visible than traditional metal braces.
  • They are ideal for most cases whereas, clear aligners (Invisalign) may not work for some severe or complicated cases.
  • You can pick from an array of colors to put on your ceramic brackets.

The disadvantages:

  • Ceramic braces cost more than metal braces.
  • Ceramic brackets are larger in size than metal brackets which may make it difficult to clean around them.
  • Ceramic brackets are less durable than metal ones.
  • May take slightly longer for your lips/mouth to get used to them due to the bracket size.
  • Ceramic brackets are more fragile than metal brackets so you must be even more careful with hard/crunchy foods.

metal ceramic braces

The opinion of Dr. Mir about metal ceramic braces

Ceramic brackets are more expensive than metal ones due to their material makeup. Moreover, wearers must restrict what they eat and drink to avoid stained ceramic braces.

If ceramic brackets are desired, we advise ceramic brackets on their top arch and metal braces on their bottom arch. As ceramic braces can break very easily on the bottom arch.

Remember, if you want to avoid stained ceramic braces, you will need special attention while cleaning them. Dr. Mir in York Orthodontics will show you how to get rid of bacteria and food debris in tricky places.

Who would benefit from ceramic braces?

Ceramic brackets are recommended for adults who have stopped growing and want subtle braces. Depending on the case, braces can straighten your teeth quicker than Invisalign.

Because they are less visible, they are ideal for people who attend college or work a full-time job and do not like to draw attention to their mouths.

Although ceramic brackets are visible closeup, many wearers report feeling less self-conscious when they wear them.

Can ceramic braces get stained?

Brackets are typically stain-resistant; however, certain foods and beverages can stain the ligature ties around the brackets.

An interdental brush can help you remove the stain. Remember, after each meal (except water), you should brush, floss, and rinse your teeth.

Your orthodontist will recommend the best tools for cleaning between and around your braces.

You must also avoid or limit your consumption of foods and beverages that can stain ligatures, like:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee and tea
  • Brightly colored candies
  • Curries
  • Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Dark-colored sodas like cola
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces
  • Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar

Moreover, you should avoid smoking and chewy, crunchy, hard foods.

If your ligatures become discolored, you can call the office to request to have them changed or wait until your next appointment. Due to that, you should keep up with your appointment schedule because the longer you wait between visits, the more likely staining will occur.

If you select self-ligating braces, you will not have to worry about ligatures. You only need to clean them as advised by your orthodontist to maintain optimal gum health.

Teeth whitening

If you have a plan for teeth whitening, you must wait until after your braces get removed because the whitening agent won’t reach the bracket-bonded areas, and you’ll have a white tooth with a darker spot.

Similarly, refrain from using whitening toothpaste and/or mouthwash while you have braces on.

 Some advice from Dr. Mir for having a beautiful mouth

  • Rinse your mouth at least two-three times per day. If you do not have mouthwash, rinse your mouth with water to dislodge any food debris caught in your braces.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice per day. If food debris is stuck in braces for too long, it will increase the chance of cavities and degrade your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for your braces, and every three months, change your toothbrush.
  • Floss every day. A floss threader or super-floss works perfectly for braces. In addition to flossing, you may want to consider a Waterpik. This device sprays a jet stream of water making it an easier alternative to flossing while in braces. Keep in mind, traditional flossing is the best way to clean in between the teeth.
  • Avoid eating certain foods. Hard foods may cause the brackets to break. You should avoid foods like taffy, nuts, popcorn, gum, caramel, etc. Also, you should cut up foods like apples or carrots before consuming them. Moreover, if you choose clear or light-colored ligature ties, you should avoid foods like red wine, coffee, red-colored soda, curry, pasta sauce, mustard, etc. Remember, the ligature ties will change at every visit, so eat foods that may stain the ligature closer to your appointment.

beautiful smile

  • Whenever you play a sport, use a mouth guard. If you participate in activities like snowboarding, hockey, basketball etc., you must wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and brackets from being broken or even knocked out.
  • Avoid smoking. Whether you have braces or not, smoking can cause many oral health problems. In addition to bad breath, smoking can discolor your teeth, tongue, and lips; weaken your senses of taste and smell; slow your recovery after oral surgery; promote gum disease and tooth loss and increase your risk of oral cancer. It would be wise to concentrate on quitting smoking before getting braces.
  • Avoid oral piercings. Any form of piercing inside or around your mouth can cause long-term problems. Oral piercings can cause mouth swelling and infection; it can damage or crack a tooth if bitten too hard; it can cause you to choke if something breaks it and can cause gum recession. A combination of braces and oral piercings can be a recipe for disaster and sleep-related accidents. If you have oral piercings before getting braces, your orthodontist may ask you to take them out.

Takeaway

Ceramic brackets can be a terrific option if you want to keep your braces inconspicuous. They are a bit less durable and more expensive than metal braces, and they may need more maintenance than metal brackets.

Here, at York Orthodontics, we will guide you in choosing the right braces for you by presenting you with all the options based on your specific case and individual concerns.