Many adult orthodontic patients have concerns about the visibility of their braces. While the most invisible orthodontic option is typically clear aligner therapy, commonly known as Invisalign, this treatment method cannot effectively address every alignment issue. If a patient’s situation falls outside of the capabilities that clear aligners have, but they do not want to wear traditional metal braces, a third option may be available to them. Ceramic braces help bridge the gap between traditional metal braces and clear aligners. Ceramic is the perfect material for clear braces because it is strong, durable, and invisible. These braces are less commonly known as many other orthodontic treatments, so we have put together the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about ceramic braces.
What are ceramic braces?
Ceramic braces are structurally very similar to traditional metal braces, as both types consist of brackets and archwires that work to move the teeth into place. However, while metal braces are made of steel, clear braces brackets are made out of transparent ceramic material that is much closer to the color of teeth than metal braces are. The wires and rubber bands involved in ceramic braces can also be made of clear or tooth colored materials for maximum invisibility.
Why choose ceramic braces?
The biggest appeal of ceramic braces is their discrete appearance. These clear braces can address many of the issues that clear aligners cannot, while also offering a less obvious appearance than traditional metal braces. The orthodontist can use clear ceramic braces to treat structural problems like open bites, overbites, cross bites, etc. Although the texture of ceramic braces may be noticeable on the patient’s teeth, they are much less visible from far away or in photographs than metal braces would be. In some situations, ceramic braces can also work faster than Invisalign can.
What are the potential downsides of ceramic braces?
Ceramic braces are an effective orthodontic treatment method. However, just like every orthodontic option, there are some things to be cautious about. Because they are not made out of steel, ceramic braces are much more fragile than traditional metal braces. This means that you will need to be much more careful about what you eat during your orthodontic treatment. You’ll want to avoid biting and tearing actions by cutting your food into small, bite sized pieces. This applies to foods like pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and other foods that you would normally eat with your hands that require a tearing motion. You should also be especially cautious of chewy and crunchy foods that may cause damage to your braces.
Because ceramic braces match your teeth, they need extra maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. When the clear braces get stained, they look like stained teeth. To avoid discoloring your clear braces, we recommend brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding highly pigmented foods and drinks.
In addition, ceramic braces do generally cost a little bit more in the long run than traditional braces do. This is because their fragility often means that the teeth are adjusted at a slower pace than metal braces. It is also more likely that they will be damaged throughout your treatment process, which may lead to more orthodontic visits. However, every orthodontic and insurance situation is different. If the cost difference is a major concern of yours, talk to your orthodontist about your specific situation and options.
How do I know if ceramic braces are right for me?
Ceramic braces cannot address some issues, like severe overcrowding, as well as traditional metal braces can. If this is the case, your orthodontist will advise against ceramic braces for your specific treatment plan. It is important to trust your orthodontist’s evaluation of the situation, as they are a highly trained professional who will prioritize your health, safety, and success. At your orthodontic consultation, your doctor will discuss all of your options with you, and help you make the best decision for your own journey to the perfect smile!
How do I maintain my ceramic braces?
Every type of orthodontic equipment and every orthodontic treatment place requires dietary precautions and increased oral hygiene diligence. This is especially true for ceramic braces because they are clear or lightly colored, so any food particles or stains are much more visible than they would be for patients with metal braces. Because of this, patients with ceramic braces must be extremely vigilant about their oral hygiene.
Just as with metal braces, we recommend that patients brush and floss their teeth after every meal. If you have ceramic braces, you will want to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating in order to minimize staining caused by food particles that have been left in your braces for too long. You may also want to clean your braces after small snacks too, even if all you have time for is a quick rinse. Anything you can do to reduce the risk of your braces becoming discolored is worth the time and effort.
The ligatures are the clear rubber bands on your ceramic braces, and they are the part of your braces that are the most easily stained. Luckily, your clear ligatures will be changed at each orthodontic adjustment appointment. If you notice your ligatures becoming discolored too long before your appointments, talk to your orthodontist about your dietary habits and oral hygiene routine to see if there are any more precautions you can take.
Are all clear braces made of ceramic?
While clear braces most commonly refer to ceramic braces, the term could also be referencing a clear aligner therapy or clear self-ligating appliance. As we mentioned before, clear aligner therapy is the method of straightening teeth by using a numerous sets of clear aligners. Clear self-ligating appliances are similar to metal braces, but they self-adjust to align the teeth with less supervision from the orthodontist. Common braces of self-ligating appliances include Damon Braces, Speed Braces, and In-ovation.
What you choose for your orthodontic treatment depends on your needs and the doctor’s recommendations. If having clear braces is a priority to you, let your orthodontist know and he or she can work on a solution that suits your needs. There are plenty of options for clear braces nowadays.
If you have any more questions about ceramic braces, please feel free to ask your orthodontist. If you are ready to schedule your free consultation to learn about whether or not ceramic braces are right for you, schedule an appointment with our office today!