What are ceramic braces?

ceramic bracesCeramic braces are tooth colored braces that are used to straighten teeth. They are preferred by many people, especially adults who often want to avoid metal braces. Ceramic braces are much less noticeable than metal braces. In fact, most people do not notice them unless they are up close to a person. Small ceramic pieces are glued to each tooth, and a wire is placed across the top and bottom teeth. These braces are made of a very strong and durable composite material, and they do not stain unless a person eats or drinks many foods that typically stain teeth.

Advantages of Ceramic Braces

ceramicAppearance: The ceramic braces are much less visible than other kinds of braces. (The ceramic braces do not stain, unlike plastic or composite brackets, but the clear elastic ties that are used to attach the wire to the braces do stain (from smoking, drinking coffee, tea or other dark liquids, tomato sauce, etc.). However, you can always call and come in if the ties stain to have me change them).

Disadvantages of Ceramic Braces

Cost: Ceramic braces can cost up to $1,000 more than normal braces.

Breakage: The nature of ceramic material is that it is brittle, so these braces do have the tendency to chip or break. We recommend against these braces if you are involved in contact sports. If you do experience breakage with these braces, additional visits may be required to replace them.

Wear of opposing teeth: Since the ceramic material is harder than enamel, if any teeth bite against the braces these teeth will be worn where they contact the braces. Unless special precautions are taken (such as the use of a bite plate, waiting to correct the bite enough before putting the braces on), ceramic braces are not indicated in certain types of bite problems (such as deep overbites) or with certain tooth anatomy (very long cusps on opposing teeth).

Difficulty in removal: Ceramic braces used to be extremely difficult and often painful to remove. There also was an increased risk of damage to the tooth with these braces. The latest generation ceramic braces come off much easier than previous ceramic braces, but they can break in a way the manufacturer did not intend and leave a piece stuck to the tooth. In this case the brace needs to be ground off using a handpiece and diamond bur. This doesn’t hurt, but it does make the removal visit longer.

Treatment time: In cases where the teeth are to be moved by sliding the brace along a wire (most cases), it takes longer (sometimes much longer) to treat a case with the ceramic braces.