How are metal and ceramic braces different?
When comparing the different orthodontic treatment options currently available, there’s one big question that we’re constantly being asked: how are metal braces and ceramic braces different?
While these two treatment options share many similarities, they also differ on quite a few points including aesthetics, usage and cost. Read on to learn more about these treatment options to figure out which is right for you.
Metal braces are still one of the most common and effective orthodontic treatments on the market. They help to straighten teeth and correct bad bites using a series of stainless steel brackets, thin metal wires and subtle or brightly coloured bands..
Metal braces have been around for about 100 years, but have evolved in that time to be smaller and more effective. The sturdy nature of this fixed orthodontic treatment means that they can perform more complex tooth movements, making them the popular choice in many cases.
As the name suggests, ceramic braces are the same as metal braces except that they’re made out of a tooth-coloured porcelain material instead of stainless steel. When paired with a white archwire and clear brackets, their appearance is virtually invisible. They’re often referred to as clear braces and are a popular choice among appearance-conscious adults.
As ceramic braces share a design with traditional metal braces, they actually function in the same way, although treatment times may be lengthier due to the extra friction in the system. However, they’re able to treat the same type of complex malocclusions and help correct bad bites.
Ceramic braces are particularly popular among adults who are looking for a less obvious treatment option than traditional braces. The use of clear or tooth-coloured products in the appliances makes them both subtle and effective. In addition, if you have a metal allergy but need your orthodontic treatment to complete complex tooth movements, such as gently pulling a tooth down into alignment, then ceramic braces may be a better option.
Due to the varying cost of materials, ceramic braces usually cost more than their metal counterpart. However, the difference between the two treatment options may not be significant. Depending on the extent of treatment required, you may have braces for anywhere between 6 months and two years. The duration of your treatment is decided on case complexity rather than by the type of appliance used.
These are by no means the only treatment options available, but to make an informed decision about which will best suit your needs and budget it is best to make an appointment with an orthodontist. You don’t need a referral to visit an orthodontist, in fact you can follow this link to search for a registered orthodontic specialist near you.
Ceramic is a weaker material than metal, but ceramic braces are engineered in such a way that they are just as effective as their metal counterparts. When due care is taken, getting ceramic braces won’t negatively effect your treatment.
In short, no. Ceramic braces don’t take longer than metal braces because treatment time depends on the patient. There are instances where ceramic braces may need to be replaced more often, meaning more appointments, but your individual treatment duration should be much the same with ceramic as with metal.
It is possible to switch from ceramic to metal braces. However, there will be added cost. Consult your orthodontist about the option and whether it’s best for you.