Ceramic braces share a lot of similarities with metal braces, but they differ when it comes to the brackets being used. Instead of metallic brackets and wires, these braces have tooth-colored features, being made from ceramic. Clear brackets might be used as well, depending on the patient and his/her needs. These braces are preferred by many people, as they are less noticeable than the metal ones. However, there are certain disadvantages to be considered as well, and it does not hurt to be properly informed. If you are looking to discover more information on the topic, do not hesitate to keep on reading.
Ceramic braces are usually made of polycrystalline alumina, which can either be clear or tooth-colored. Depending on each individual case, the brackets can be made from ceramic as well, or less often from stainless steel or other materials.
Ceramic braces are known for their expensive rates. You can expect to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 for such braces. Standard dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of ceramic braces, you might have to pay a separate orthodontic plan. Certain plans might cover such braces, provided you are suffering from severe malocclusion or other dental issues that influence normal oral functions. Of course, you can expect the costs to differ for children and adults, as well as individual particularities.
Cons of ceramic braces
Ceramic braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces, so not every patient might be able to afford them. As always, it is for the best to check your dental insurance plan, in order to determine if partial coverage is a possibility. The orthodontist might point out that ceramic braces can lead to gum sensitivity. This is because these are larger than the metal brackets, making it harder for one to brush around the brackets. If plaque accumulates in that area, one might suffer from swollen or receding gums.
Given the material from which they are made, it should come as no surprise that ceramic braces are less durable than those made of metal. According to recent studies, ceramic braces are more likely to break. Unfortunately, the tooth enamel might also be damaged when the braces are removed. The ceramic braces might move teeth at a slower pace, with frequent interruptions due to their fragility. Usually, the straightening process occurs over a larger period of time, but this is not valid for all patients. Last, but not least, the elastic bands holding the wires to the bracket might stain, requiring replacement.
Ceramic braces are less noticeable than metal braces, as the material used can either be clear or tooth-colored. This is an important matter for those who are feeling self-conscious but need braces anyway. Studies have shown that ceramic braces are more effective than clear aligners, requiring between one year and a half and three years to provide the desired results. Moreover, they work on severe misalignment or malocclusion, which is another significant advantage to consider.
From a different point of view, it is worth mentioning that patients have the freedom to choose the preferred color. Ceramic braces are available in a wide range of colors, as opposed to metal braces, which are only metallic. It is worth mentioning that ceramic braces do not interfere with imaging tests, as opposed to the metallic ones.
For people who suffer from metal allergies, the ceramic braces represent a suitable option. In addition, one should remember that such braces can be used for both serious and cosmetic alignment problems. In comparison with invisible aligners, ceramic braces are more durable and take less time to work. They can treat serious alignment issues as well.
How does the procedure work?
The orthodontist will call you for an initial consultation, where he/she will examine the teeth and identify potential dental problems. Should the teeth present cavities or other dental issues be present, these will have to be treated first. Afterwards, the orthodontist will develop a treatment plan, suggesting a time period for which you should wear the ceramic braces.
As an initial step, the orthodontist will put spacers between the back teeth, if these are too close together. This step is meant to create space, so that one can place the elastic bands around the teeth. You will have to keep these spacers for about one week, after which the doctor will remove them and apply the braces to the teeth. After rinsing the teeth, he/she will fix the brackets, using a special glue and a blue light to set it.
Once the brackets are put into place, archwire will be threaded through the brackets. The orthodontist will make sure that the wire stays in place, attaching the elastic bands to the brackets. As a final step, the specialist will trim the wires, making sure that the ends do not bother the gums or the inside part of the cheek. Last, but not least, you might be given pain-relieving medication, which will help you ease the soreness experienced. You will also receive advice on how to look after your teeth while wearing the ceramic braces.
The orthodontist can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for ceramic braces or not. As a general rule, the ceramic braces are recommended for adults, who have all their adult teeth. Given that there is no further tooth movement involved, the ceramic braces will correct any misalignment, with a reduced chance of brackets breaking. Of course, these braces are a good choice for those who are self-conscious, fearing what others might say. They are either clear or tooth-colored, so less noticeable than traditional metal braces. If you do not like to draw attention to yourself, you should definitely consider these.
Your orthodontist will teach you how to take care of the ceramic braces. The most important thing to remember is that these are less durable than those made of metal. In consequence, you should avoid eating foods with a crunchy or hard texture. Chewy foods should be avoided as well, especially candy or caramels, as these can easily get stuck to the braces, causing a lot of damage. Fruits and vegetables should be cut into small pieces, while sugary foods should be absent from the daily diet altogether. Otherwise, plaque might accumulate under and around the brackets, leading to additional dental issues.
Your daily diet should mostly include soft foods, as these will not cause any damage on the ceramic braces. As the orthodontist might point out, it is for the best to avoid foods such as hard candy and cookies, crackers, pretzels, ice, gum, nuts, popcorn, etc. Do not bite into hard foods with the front teeth and cut anything you are eating into smaller pieces. Among the most recommended foods, you might find yoghurt, soft fruits, pasta, mashed potatoes, cheese. The diet is essential to your oral health but also for the success of your orthodontic treatment.
While wearing ceramic braces, it is essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene. You will have to brush and floss as advised, in order to keep the braces in a good state, but also to reduce the risk of tooth decay and other dental issues. The orthodontist might give you a special brush to clean the braces, with recommendations on how to floss while wearing them. Do not forget about the follow-up appointments, as these are necessary to adjust the braces. It might be a difficult period for you, but you have to think of the main benefit, a healthy, straight smile.
Do not forget to brush your teeth at least two times per day, preferably after every meal. The goal is to remove food debris from the brackets and wires. You might also want to use mouthwash, not only for its antibacterial properties, but also to remove large food particles. Opt for gentle brushing, as this method will keep the teeth clean, without damaging the ceramic braces. When flossing, do your best to cover all the surfaces of the teeth. Once again, you can ask your dentist for tips on how to floss. Remember, practice makes perfect, including when it comes to such issues.
Unfortunately, while wearing ceramic braces, there is a significant risk of plaque accumulating around the brackets and wires. As a result, you might be more exposed to dental issues, including permanent staining, bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth decay. The dentist might ask you to come in for a professional cleaning procedure, using special tools to remove the plaque from hard-to-reach places. During the appointment, the specialist will check for signs of damage, such as chips or cracks in the ceramic material. Replacement is rarely necessary, especially if you follow the tips regarding oral hygiene.
Ceramic braces are meant to straighten your teeth and correct any misalignment. Nonetheless, you might have to deal with a lot of challenges while wearing them, especially when it comes to eating and speaking. Plaque can also be an issue, with oral hygiene habits making the difference. You will need to brush and floss regularly, as instructed by the dentist, so as to keep the risk of decalcification, periodontitis, and gingivitis down to a minimum. The moment you have noticed dental issues, be sure to call your dentist and schedule an appointment. You might need additional dental treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Frequently asked questions
How long does the treatment take?
Depending on each individual situation, the ceramic braces might have to be worn between one year and a half and three years. Of course, the length of treatment depends on each individual case. The more severe one's misalignment is, the longer the respective person will have to wear the ceramic braces.
If the ceramic brackets break under pressure, the orthodontist might need to replace the brackets, with a slower adjustment time. It is worth mentioning that ceramic braces are not as durable as metal braces, being less likely to withstand the pressure of biting and chewing. Moreover, if you are playing contact sports or become involved in activities that require a lot of movement in the oral area, you might consider metal braces. These are known for their resistance, with a lower risk of chipping or cracking.
Is staining an issue?
Ceramic brackets do not stain, but the elastic bands that hold them attached to the wire might suffer such changes. There are certain measures you can take in order to prevent staining. For instance, it is recommended to brush and floss after every meal, so as to remove food debris that might lead to stains. While wearing ceramic braces, you should avoid food and beverages that can cause discoloration, including wine, coffee, tea, soda, and various condiments. You should also consider quitting smoking, as nicotine can stain both the teeth and braces. Refrain from using whitening toothpaste and see your orthodontist if you have noticed stained ceramic brackets.
Ceramic braces are highly customizable, which makes them an appealing option for young adults. The brackets are usually white in color, but the arch wires can have different shades, including silver or white. As for the elastic bands, these are available in a wide range of colors, with the rainbow pattern being often preferred by creative types.
Ceramic braces can straighten your teeth and correct different degrees of misalignment. They are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional metal braces and serve the same purpose, but they are less durable. The orthodontist will explain the procedure in detail, providing specific instructions on how to care of your braces and what foods are best to avoid. You will have to visit the dentist for several appointments, where the ceramic braces will be adjusted as necessary. As such treatments are either not covered or covered only partially by insurance, it might be a good idea to check the financial aspects with your provider. You might have to purchase a separate orthodontic plan.
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