Ceramic braces at Antalya Dental Hospital, Turkey

Ceramic braces: What Are They, Benefits and Cost

Clear, fast, and with greater comfort.

Ceramic braces are quite popular with teens and older patients because they offer a more aesthetic option for straightening teeth. With clear ceramic braces, people may not even realize you’re doing orthodontic treatment.

Clear ceramic braces usually have smaller brackets compared to traditional metal braces. These tooth-colored brackets are bonded to the front of the teeth and the archwires are threaded into the slots in the brackets. These archwires are colored to match your teeth which further reduces the visibility of your braces.

Ceramic Braces: How Do They Compare?

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces, but they use clear or tooth-colored brackets rather than gray or metallic silver brackets and wires.

Many people opt for ceramic braces because they’re less noticeable on your teeth than metal braces. This can be a huge advantage if you’re considering braces and don’t want to feel self-conscious about wearing them.

But ceramic braces also come with some downsides.

Read on to learn how ceramic braces stack up against metal braces in terms of effectiveness, cost, and what they’re like to wear on a day-to-day basis.

Pros and cons of ceramic braces

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of ceramic braces, especially compared to traditional metal braces.

Pros

  • They’re less visible than metal braces. The ceramic material used in these braces can be either clear or tooth-colored.
  • They move teeth faster than clear aligners (Invisalign). Ceramic braces take about 18 to 36 months to straighten your teeth. Popular clear-alignment methods, such as Invisalign, can takea year or longer to work, even if your teeth don’t require much correction. Also, clear-alignment methods don’t work for severe cases of misalignment or malocclusion (a crooked bite).
  • You can choose your colors. Metal braces only come in one color: gray (or shiny metallic silver, if it’s available). Ceramic braces are available in nearly any color imaginable.
  • They don’t interfere with imaging tests. Metal braces can disrupt signals in imaging tests. Ceramic braces produce much less signal interferenceTrusted Source.

Cons

  • They’re more expensive than metal braces. Ceramic braces can cost at least $1,000 to $2,000 more than metal braces.
  • They may cause gum sensitivity. Ceramic brackets are larger than metal brackets. This can make it harder to clean around your brackets, leading to swollen gums or receding gums if your toothbrush doesn’t reach the enamel and gumline.
  • They’re slightly less durable than metal. Ceramic braces are more than twice as likely to break offTrusted Source or fracture. The process of removing the glue (debonding) has also been known to cause damage to your tooth surface (enamel).
  • They move teeth slower than metal. Because they’re more fragile, having to repair broken brackets or make incremental adjustments at each appointment can delay the straightening process.
  • They may stain. The elastic ties holding the wire to the brackets can stain easily and remain stained until they’re replaced.

Who’s a good candidate for ceramic braces?

Ceramic braces are recommended if all of your adult teeth have come in and you’ve mostly stopped growing. This ensures a quick correction and a lower chance of brackets breaking due to the strain of tooth movement.

Ceramic braces are a good choice if you want your braces to be subtle. Because they’re usually tooth-colored or white, they’re less noticeable. This makes them ideal for straightening your teeth if you work a full-time job or attend college and don’t want to draw attention to them.

Cost of ceramic braces compared to metal and clear aligners

On average, from the time you get them on to the time they’re removed, ceramic braces cost about $4,000 to $8,000. This compares to about $3,000 to $6,000 for metal braces or $3,000 to $8,000 for clear, removable aligners like Invisalign.

Like other braces, ceramic braces aren’t typically covered by healthcare or dental insurance plans. You’ll likely have to purchase a separate orthodontic plan. These plans vary widely by state for children and adults.

As an adult, even if your dental plan covers orthodontic care, braces may not be covered if you’re getting them for cosmetic reasons and not for the correction of a severe malocclusion or other dental condition that inhibits normal oral functioning.

Length of treatment compared to metal and clear aligners

Ceramic braces take about a year and a half to three years to straighten teeth, in comparison to less than a year up to three years for metal braces.

Ceramic braces aren’t as durable, so as your teeth move, brackets need to be replaced more often to keep them from breaking under pressure. This leads to slower adjustment time.

Because ceramic brackets break more easily, the straightening process might take longer because of delays in straightening between visits to the orthodontist to fix broken brackets.

How durable are they?

Ceramic braces are much less durable than metal braces simply because metal is sturdier than ceramic. A 2016 studyTrusted Source found that ceramic braces are more than twice as likely to break than metal braces, even from normal contact from biting down.

If you play contact sports or are involved in an extracurricular activity that requires a lot of mouth movements — think singing, debate, or public speaking — you may want to consider more durable metal braces that won’t chip or crack easily.

Do ceramic braces stain?

Ceramic brackets don’t stain easily, but the elastic ties used to hold them to the wire can. Here are some tips to avoid staining your ceramic bracket ties:

  • Brush and floss after every meal. This helps remove food residue that might cause staining.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that leave stains or discoloration. Tomatoes, wine, coffee, tea, soda, or condiments like ketchup and mustard are known offenders for staining bracket ties and teeth.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can leave yellowish stains on your teeth and all components of your braces.
  • Don’t use whitening toothpaste. Whitening agents can cause your exposed tooth surface to become whiter than the tooth underneath.
  • See your orthodontist regularly. Your orthodontist can replace stained ceramic brackets or ties as needed.

What colors can you choose from?

The color of each component of your ceramic braces can be changed throughout the course of your treatment. The components include:

  • Brackets. Brackets stick to your teeth and are usually available in white.
  • Archwires. These wires curve around your teeth, connecting all the brackets and applying pressure to your teeth to straighten them. They’re often available in silver, white, or frosted to blend in with light-colored brackets.
  • Elastic bands. Elastic bands attach to hooks on the brackets. They keep the archwire in place and help to adjust the position of the teeth and jaw. You can get these bands in almost any color imaginable. You can choose colors that blend in with your skin shade, or get creative and select a rainbow pattern all across your smile.

Takeaway

Ceramic braces can be a great choice if you want to keep your braces low-key.

But they’re a little less durable and may take much longer to correct your bite. They can also be more expensive and stain more easily.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist before you opt for either metal or ceramic braces — one might be more effective for your teeth, even if it’s not your first choice.

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Our FAQs are the most commonly-asked questions put to our Dental Helpline over the last year. If you have a question for us, you can ask our Dental Helpline by telephone or email. Alternatively, please take a look at our library of oral health information, which contains a wide range of oral health advice in an easy-to-understand Q&A format.

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These can be used in most areas of the mouth. An inlay is small and placed within the biting surface of the tooth. An onlay can cover a larger area of the tooth. Gold is the most long-lasting and hard-wearing filling material and will last for many years. An advantage of gold is that it does not tarnish and has great strength.

One of the differences between gold and other filling materials is that the gold filling is made in a laboratory. Your dental team will usually take an impression of the prepared cavity and send it to the laboratory for the technician to make the inlay or onlay. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be placed in the cavity. After the gold inlay or onlay has been made, your dentist will fix it in place with dental cement. This type of filling is more expensive.

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A mouthwash of medium-hot water with a teaspoonful of salt will help to reduce gum soreness and inflammation (check that it is not too hot before using it). Swish the salt water around the tooth, trying to get into the areas your toothbrush cannot reach. Do this several times a day.

An antibacterial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine can also reduce the inflammation. Pain-relieving tablets such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can also be useful in the short term, but talk to your dental team if the pain continues. The tablets should always be swallowed and not placed on the area.

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The aim of the treatment is to remove all the infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.

Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.

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