As you consider orthodontic work for yourself or your child, you have a few options available to achieve straighter teeth. Many factors will go into your choice, including your budget, the appearance you prefer, durability and more.
One of the most popular orthodontic appliances for straighter teeth is braces. As you research braces, you’ll find that you have two main choices — metal and ceramic. When it comes to ceramic braces vs metal braces, is one better than the other? And which is right for you?
What Are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic braces, or clear ceramic braces, consist of polycrystalline alumina brackets. The brackets are tooth-colored or clear, making them a subtle and discreet option. The wire that connects the brackets can also be tooth-colored, further decreasing the visibility of ceramic braces.
Many older teens and professional adults choose ceramic braces because they are less noticeable than metal braces while still achieving the same tooth-straightening results. Note that ceramic braces are more noticeable than clear aligners, but are often more affordable.
Ceramic vs Metal Braces — Key Differences
Although ceramic and metal braces achieve the same results, they have several key differences that are important to know. Here are some of the main variations between these two popular braces options.
The most obvious difference between ceramic and metal braces is the material they’re made out of. While ceramic braces use polycrystalline alumina brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth, metal braces use medical-grade stainless steel that is more noticeable. Note that both types of braces use rubber bands to shift your teeth into the desired position. The difference comes down to the bracket material and which you would prefer.
Ceramic braces use lighter-colored archwires than metal braces, with available colors including silver, white and other pale tones that match the ceramic brackets. The archwires of metal braces have a darker appearance, which is more visible against the tooth’s natural color. Many people who want their braces to be less noticeable prefer the more discreet wire color of ceramic braces.
Metal braces have superior durability over ceramic braces. Stainless steel is much harder than the polycrystalline alumina of ceramic braces. This means that ceramic braces have a greater chance of fracture or breaking off compared to metal braces. You must take care of your braces regardless of the material, but those with ceramic braces should take extra care.
Due to the lighter color of ceramic braces, they do have a higher chance of staining. People wearing ceramic braces should avoid dark drinks and foods, including tea, coffee, ketchup and red wine, as these can all stain ceramic brackets. The stainless steel brackets of metal braces resist staining.
Having ceramic braces on the upper and lower teeth can lead to wearing down the enamel on the back of the upper teeth. This is especially true for patients with overbites. Some orthodontists may recommend metal braces on the bottom teeth to reduce enamel wear.
Ceramic braces are generally more expensive than metal braces. The higher cost of ceramic braces is due to the material being more expensive to source than the stainless steel of metal braces.
Ceramic braces can cost several thousand more dollars than metal braces, but this also depends on the orthodontist from which you’re getting your braces. Talk to your orthodontist about how much both types of braces would cost, and make sure the price includes the braces along with in-office visits and follow-up care.
Metal Braces vs Ceramic Braces — Pros and Cons
Ceramic and metal braces are both good choices to help you achieve your orthodontic goals. You can determine which is right for your specific needs by balancing their positive and negative characteristics. Here are some of the pros and cons of metal braces and ceramic braces to help you determine which could be the best choice for you.
Pros and Cons of Metal Braces
Metal braces offer many positives that have made them one of the most popular and common types of braces, including:
- High durability
- Resistance to staining
- Affordable cost
- Less enamel wear
- The option for colorful rubber bands
The cons of metal braces include:
- Highly noticeable
- The potential for irritating the inside of the mouth
- Decalcification around the brackets due to improper oral hygiene
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces have their share of positives to keep in mind:
- Discreet, tooth-colored materials
- Same effectiveness as metal braces
- Lower cost than clear aligners while still being discreet
- Smoother brackets for more comfort
The cons of ceramic braces include:
- Less durable than metal braces
- More expensive than metal braces
- A higher risk of staining
- The potential for enamel wear when wearing ceramic braces on bottom teeth
Should You Get Ceramic or Metal Braces?
At the end of the day, you have the freedom to decide which type of braces is right for you. Ceramic braces are a good choice for adults or older teens who want a more discreet appearance. You’ll get the same results as metal braces without the highly visible appearance often attributed to younger teens wearing braces. At the same time, remember that ceramic braces can stain and break more easily, which can limit the foods you eat. Ceramic braces are also typically more expensive than metal braces, so consider your budget when deciding.
Metal braces are a good choice for younger teens or anyone on a budget who doesn’t mind if their braces are more visible. Teens often enjoy choosing different colors for their rubber bands to embrace their metal braces and show off their personality. Metal braces have great durability, giving you more peace of mind. Their resistance to staining also keeps them looking cleaner, which is ideal if you enjoy foods that contain darker colors that might stain ceramic braces.
Talk to your orthodontist to determine whether ceramic or metal braces are best for you.
Do You Need Braces?
If you or your child needs braces, your next step is to choose the right type of braces for your needs. At Alizadeh & Schreiner Orthodontics, we’re here to help you reach your orthodontic goals and achieve a more confident smile. From the first visit to follow-up care, our team is dedicated to serving the Chesterfield, Missouri area with high-quality orthodontic treatment in a caring, fun and friendly environment. Contact us today to request an appointment.