With so many orthopaedic teeth straightening treatments available, it can be difficult to decide which is the best option for you.

Ranging from traditional metal braces to invisible and ceramic braces, we understand it can be a confusing decision for patients to make.

In this guide, we will compare metal and ceramic braces to help you understand the differences and similarities so you can make an informed decision about your orthopaedic treatment.

What are metal braces?

Metal braces are a traditional tooth straightening method that has been used in dentistry for years. They are a common dental treatment used to improve the appearance of crooked teeth.

Orthodontists will bond metal brackets directly to your teeth and connect the brace by inserting a wire through the brackets. The brace applies pressure to the teeth in order to move and realign them.

What are ceramic braces?

Ceramic braces are applied and work in the same way as metal braces. However, ceramic braces use clear or ‘tooth-coloured’ brackets and wires for a natural appearance.

Due to being more discreet and less noticeable, ceramic braces have become a popular alternative to metal braces.

Differences between ceramic and metal braces

Archwires

The flexible wire used to connect the brace through the brackets is referred to as an archwire.

The archwire used in metal braces is usually a prominent silver tone that matches the metal brackets bonded to the teeth.

For ceramic braces, the archwire can be made lighter so that when it is placed through clear or tooth-coloured brackets the brace has an almost invisible appearance.

Durability

Metal braces are highly durable and offer excellent control over the teeth.

Ceramic braces are much less durable than metal braces due to ceramic materials not being as strong as stainless steel.

Although both brace methods require care and attention, ceramic braces are twice as likely to break or fracture when compared to metal materials.

Staining

Due to being clear in colour, ceramic braces are prone to discolouration and staining. The elastic ties bonding the wire to the bracket discolour easily but are regularly replaced at check-up orthodontist appointments.

Staining can be avoided by avoiding bright coloured foods, brushing your teeth after meals and regularly flossing.

Metal braces are made from darker materials and are therefore less likely to stain.

Enamel Wear

Wearing braces on the top and bottom arch teeth could cause enamel wear as the bottom teeth rub against the back of the top teeth.

Most patients who suffer from serious enamel wear have an overbite, but anyone can develop enamel decay from the simplest of activities such as biting or chewing food.

The process of removing ceramic brackets from teeth has also been known to cause damage to the enamel on the tooth surface.

Appearance

Ceramic braces are a popular straightening technique as they offer a discreet appearance. In most cases, ceramic braces are almost invisible so are a great alternative to traditional metal braces.

Metal braces are known to be a prominent feature and can be easily recognised on your face. For this reason, most adults choose transparent or translucent braces.

Cleaning

Ceramic braces are more prone to staining than metal braces so it may be harder to maintain a ‘clean’ look.

However, you should ensure that you take care and clean both metal and ceramic braces regularly and especially after eating meals.

Using floss and mouthwash will help you to make sure you do not miss any plaque or food that is trapped.

Cost

Due to using delicate materials, ceramic braces tend to be more expensive than the metal alternative.

The ceramic brackets are used to improve cosmetic appearance and the materials they are made from are increasingly expensive.

Deciding factors about which brace is best

When deciding on the best brace option for you, you should consider:

  • What is your budget?
  • What treatment do you require?
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each treatment

Which option is best for you

The best brace option for you will depend on your circumstances, requirements and budget.

For more information about adult braces and how to find the best treatment for you, get in touch today!