Ceramic braces realign, adjust, and straighten the teeth in the same way as traditional metal braces. However, ceramic braces have become a popular alternative due to being less noticeable.

Ceramic braces do not differ much from metal braces in terms of their ability to straighten teeth. They can help to treat significant misalignments, such as an overbite. But ceramic braces are more prone to breaking than metal braces and can be more expensive.

This article provides an overview of the advantages, disadvantages, costs, and results people can expect from ceramic braces.

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Ceramic braces adjust the position of the teeth. They work the same way as traditional metal braces, pulling teeth gradually into different positions. The main difference between metal and ceramic braces is that ceramic braces are less visible.

Braces consist of several parts:

  • brackets, which are square structures that fix to each tooth
  • an archwire, which connects each bracket
  • elastic bands, which fit around the brackets and hold the wire in place

While metal braces have silver brackets and wires and can have an array of colorful elastic bands, ceramic braces are the same color as a person’s teeth. People getting ceramic braces can also have white or clear archwires and elastic bands to make them even less noticeable.

Generally, ceramic braces are no better or worse for the teeth than traditional metal braces. They work in the same way and produce the same kind of results.

Ceramic braces are less durable than traditional metal braces. If they break, an orthodontist may need to replace the brackets more often. Frequent brace maintenance may cause some additional stress or damage to the tooth’s enamel. However, this is unlikely to happen if a person takes care of their braces.

Adolescents and adults may choose ceramic braces because they are less conspicuous than traditional metal braces. However, they have both advantages and disadvantages.

The benefits of ceramic braces include:

  • less visible than traditional metal braces
  • a faster option than clear aligners
  • better for people with metal allergies
  • better for people who need medical imaging tests as they contain less metal

Drawbacks for ceramic braces include:

  • often more expensive than metal braces
  • less durable than metal braces and two times more likely to break
  • more likely to stain due to having clear or white elastic bands

If ceramic braces break, it can sometimes result in longer treatment times.

The following table compares the key features of ceramic and metal braces.

Ceramic bracesMetal braces
Appearanceless visiblemore visible
Durabilityless durablemore durable
Usescan treat both serious and cosmetic alignment problemscan treat both serious and cosmetic alignment problems
Costusually more expensiveusually less expensive
Duration and resultssimilarsimilar

Invisible braces, or aligners, are not the same as ceramic braces. Although both change the position of the teeth, aligners are clear plastic trays that a person can wear or take out at any time.

Here is a comparison of the two:

Ceramic bracesInvisible aligners
Appearanceslightly more visibleless visible
Durabilitymore durableless durable
Usescan treat more serious alignment problemstreat milder alignment problems
Costmore expensiveless expensive
Duration and resultstake less time to worktake more time to work

Before getting ceramic braces, a person will have a consultation with an orthodontist. They will examine the teeth and develop a treatment plan.

The orthodontist may decide to put spacers between the person’s back teeth if they are too close together. These create space so that rubber bands can fit around the teeth. The spacers will stay between the teeth for about 1 week.

The orthodontist will remove the spacers at the next appointment, if relevant. Next, they will begin applying the braces to the teeth.

To do this, an orthodontist will use a retractor to keep the mouth open. Next, they apply a solution to the teeth and rinse it off. They will then begin to fix brackets onto each tooth using a small amount of special glue. A blue light sets the glue.

Once every tooth has a bracket, the orthodontist threads the archwire through each bracket. How the wire stays in place depends on the type of braces a person is getting. With self-ligating braces, a clip inside the bracket holds the wire securely. In traditional braces, rubber bands around each bracket keep the wire in place.

If a person is getting elastic bands, the orthodontist will attach these to each bracket. Finally, the orthodontist will trim the wires so that the ends do not dig into the gums or inside of the cheeks.

The orthodontist will advise a person on how to look after their teeth and braces during treatment. They may also recommend a person takes some over-the-counter pain relief to ease soreness following the appointment.

In total, getting braces takes between 90–120 minutes, with the actual placement around 10–30 minutes. If a person has self-ligating braces, the appliance will tighten and adjust itself over time. For other braces, an orthodontist will need to do this at checkups.

The length of treatment with any type of brace varies depending on the individual case. People who want more dramatic changes to the position of their teeth or who have more complex dental alignment issues will have a longer treatment course. This applies whether the brace is metal or ceramic.

Treatment with braces can last anywhere between 6 months to several years.

The cost of ceramic braces may vary depending on the location and the length of treatment. Generally, the treatment will cost several thousand dollars.

Some dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment. However, they often only cover a portion of the fee.

Other dentists provide payment plans to allow people to pay the fee gradually. A person can speak with an insurer or orthodontist before agreeing to a treatment plan.

Ceramic braces realign, adjust, and straighten the teeth, similarly to traditional metal braces. They can treat a range of teeth alignment issues, including more severe cases involving underbites and overbites.

People often choose ceramic braces for cosmetic reasons as they are less visible than metal braces. They come in various shades of white and can match the exact color of the teeth. However, they may cost more than metal braces.