Ceramic Braces: Pros, Cons & Cost
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Table of Contents
- Why Choose Ceramic Braces
- Benefits of Ceramic Braces
- Downsides of Ceramic Braces
- Cost Comparison to Other Orthodontia
- Ceramic Braces Work for Many People
Since more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to adjust misalignments, the dental industry has developed several options for orthodontic devices that are less noticeable but still effective. For example, clear aligners have gained immense popularity since they can be worn for several hours a day and are barely visible. However, clear aligners may not be an effective option for everyone.
Ceramic braces are white or slightly off-white braces that work like traditional metal braces. They are bonded to your teeth and use metal wires, which are tightened slightly over time, to realign your teeth.
Ceramic braces are more aesthetically pleasing for many people. They can be more effective for moderate or severe alignment issues compared to clear aligners.
The Benefits of Ceramic Braces
Ceramic brackets were introduced in the 1980s as a more discrete method of straightening teeth compared to traditional metal braces. They are still one of the best options for improving the alignment of your teeth without being very noticeable. Although ceramic braces still require metal wires, it is possible to use white plastic coatings on the wires to improve the overall appearance of the braces and make them even less noticeable.
Ceramic braces are an excellent option for people who have alignment problems that are more difficult for clear plastic aligners to manage, especially if they want faster dental treatment. These brackets are tougher than plastic aligners, so they put greater pressure on teeth, similar to what metal braces do.
They are also clear, white, or the color of your teeth, so they aren’t as visible as metal braces. If you have moderate or severe misalignment or malocclusion of your teeth, ceramic braces can be a good option for fast, effective, and long-lasting treatment.
The Downsides of Ceramic Braces
Although ceramic braces are a good option for many people, they do have some downsides compared to traditional metal braces or plastic aligners.
First, clear, plastic aligners are nearly invisible, while ceramic braces still require metal wires to straighten teeth, which can be seen. If you are more concerned with visibility than the speed of treatment, you may opt for clear aligners rather than ceramic braces.
Second, ceramic braces can become discolored. While proper oral hygiene is an important part of any orthodontic treatment, many people find that parts of their diet can cause their teeth to become discolored, and this can make their ceramic braces even more discolored.1 Coffee, tea, soy sauce, and foods or drinks with high acid content can all cause enamel and ceramic discoloration. With ceramic braces, it will be hard to lighten or remove stains.
If you are concerned about cost, ceramic braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces. While these two options are similar in their level of effectiveness and speed of treatment, ceramic requires production processes that metal does not, which increases the cost. Ceramic braces may be about the same price as Invisalign, but they are more costly compared to other types of clear plastic aligners, like over-the-counter, at-home options.
Ceramic is also more brittle than metal70212-5/fulltext), so this type of orthodontic device can be harder to apply well to your teeth. It is important for ceramic not to come in direct contact with the enamel of your teeth, as this can cause cracking or wear.
Ceramic braces are also harder to remove than metal braces, which increases the cost of this approach to treatment. Although modern ceramics are very durable, they might still partially fracture or fail, especially during tightening or removal. This may damage your teeth, but it can also make your treatment plan take longer.
Cracks, fractures, and enamel flaking have all been reported by dentists during the process of removing ceramic brackets. They often use special tools to remove ceramic that they would not need to use to remove metal brackets.
Cost Comparison of Ceramic Braces to Other Orthodontia
The typical cost of ceramic braces can vary depending on your dental insurance, where you live, and how long you need treatment. The current estimated cost ranges from $4,000 to $8,000. This is roughly the same cost as the leading, dentist-prescribed clear aligners, provided through Invisalign.
Ceramic braces are also less expensive than lingual braces, which are metal brackets placed on the backside of your teeth rather than outside. However, ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces.
- Ceramic braces: $4,000 to $8,000 for full treatment
- Lingual braces: $8,000 to $10,000 for full treatment
- Invisalign: $4,000 to $7,400 for full treatment
- Traditional metal braces: $3,000 to $7,000 for full treatment
- Over-the-counter, clear aligners: $2,000 to $4,000 for full treatment
While price may be a major part of your decision when looking at orthodontic treatment, it is important to ask your dentist for their help too. Many people can correct malocclusions with clear plastic aligners, for example, although this will take longer than with braces.
Over-the-counter aligners are a good option to take control of your orthodontic treatment, but they do not solve every dental misalignment or health problem.
Ceramic Braces Work for Many People
If you want fast but discrete orthodontic treatment, ceramic braces could be right for you. They are similar in effectiveness and speed to metal braces since they are worn constantly until your dentist removes them. But they are less visible compared to bulky metal braces.
You will need to avoid certain foods like caramel, gum, or popcorn while you have ceramic braces. You may need to use special types of floss to get between the wires to prevent food building up there.
If you have moderate or severe misalignment or malocclusion, ceramic braces work faster and give you longer-lasting results than plastic aligners. However, they are less cost effective than metal braces or most clear aligners.
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Ceramic Brackets and the Need to Develop National Standards70212-5/fulltext). (May 2000). American Journal of Orthodontics and Dental Orthopedics. Date fetched: April 29, 2021.