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What are Ceramic Braces?

Ceramic braces have clear or tooth-colored brackets. Some people choose these because they’re less noticeable than metal braces. They often feel less self-conscious about wearing them. 

The brackets of ceramic braces are glued to the front surfaces of teeth. An archwire controls tooth movement. It also connects the brackets and bands to gradually straighten teeth.

Ceramic braces are suitable for people who have all of their adult teeth. They allow for quick correction and a smaller chance of the brackets breaking from the strain of tooth movement.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Braces

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of ceramic braces:

Pros 

  • Subtle — ceramic braces are less visible than traditional braces. The material is either clear, tooth-colored, or white.
  • Versatile — ceramic braces treat various conditions. Other options like clear aligners don’t move teeth as accurately. 
  • Availability — metal braces are only available in gray or metallic silver. Ceramic options are available in nearly every color.
  • They don’t interfere with imaging tests — metal braces can affect signals in imaging tests. Ceramic options produce much less signal interference.1
  • Less allergenic — an allergy to nickel in appliances like metal braces is the most common allergic reaction in dental practices. This can result in nickel-related contact dermatitis.

Cons 

  • Expensive — ceramic braces cost at least $1,000 to $2,000 more than traditional braces.
  • Prone to gum sensitivity — ceramic brackets are larger than metal ones. This can make cleaning around the brackets more difficult, potentially leading to oral health problems.
  • Durability — these braces are slightly less durable than metal ones. They’re more than twice as likely (especially on lower teeth) to break or fracture. Removing the glue can also damage enamel.
  • Slower than metal braces — ceramic braces move teeth slower than metal ones. They’re more fragile, so making adjustments or repairing broken brackets at appointments can delay the straightening process.
  • Often stain — the elastic o-ties connecting the wire and brackets can stain easily.
  • Harder to remove — removing ceramic braces requires more force than metal options. During removal, the fracturing of ceramic braces may make parts stick on the teeth. For this reason, they are removed with dental burs.
  • Demineralization of enamel compared to metal braces, ceramic is more likely to decrease mineral content in tooth enamel. 

Ceramic Braces vs. Traditional Metal Braces

Ceramic braces differ from traditional metal braces in a few ways:

Visibility

You might prefer ceramic braces over metal braces because they’re less noticeable. For some people, ceramic braces help them feel less self-conscious about straightening their teeth.

Comfortability

Ceramic braces may be more comfortable than metal ones. They consist of high-quality metals that won’t irritate your gums or the sides of your mouth. This is a common complaint with metal braces.

After wearing ceramic brackets for around 2 to 4 weeks, you shouldn’t experience any pain.

Treatment Length

Ceramic braces take between 1 and 3 years to straighten teeth. Metal braces often take less time. 

Ceramic options also aren’t as durable. As your teeth move, brackets must be replaced more often to stop them from cracking under pressure. This results in a slower adjustment time.

If ceramic braces break, treatment might take longer.

Costs & Insurance 

On average, ceramic braces cost around $4,000 to $8,000.2 Comparatively, metal braces cost around $3,000 to $6,000.

Like traditional braces, ceramic options aren’t usually covered by health or dental insurance. You’ll likely have to buy a different plan that includes orthodontic coverage.

These plans vary significantly by state and for children and adults. 

Insurance rarely covers braces for adults who want braces solely for cosmetic reasons. Correcting a severe malocclusion or other dental condition that affects normal oral functioning might be included, though.

Are Ceramic Braces Right For You?

Ceramic braces can be an excellent choice if you’re looking for a subtle way to straighten your teeth. However, they often cost more than other options and stain more easily.

Speak with your dentist or orthodontist before you choose ceramic braces. Another treatment might be more effective for your teeth, even if it’s not your first choice.

Here are some popular alternative options:

Metal Braces

Traditional braces correct crooked and crowded teeth, jaw problems, and misaligned bites. They also treat problems with eating, speaking, or keeping your teeth clean.

With advancements in technology, metal braces are now sleeker, smaller, and more comfortable than ever. They consist of metal brackets that are fixed to your teeth and connected by wire.

Metal braces require tightening every 4 to 6 weeks. They gradually straighten teeth and align your jaw.

Clear Aligners

Aligners straighten misaligned teeth and fix overbites, overjets, crossbites, gaps, and overcrowding. The trays are clear and almost invisible. They’re a subtle option for teeth straightening.

Clear aligners are also removable. This makes them more comfortable than traditional metal and ceramic braces. Although convenient, tooth movement is not as precise as that of traditional braces. 

Clear aligners also work quicker. Expect results as early as 6 to 18 months.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces that use wires and brackets. However, they’re placed on the back of teeth, making them nearly invisible.

Many adults prefer lingual braces because of their subtlety. 

Keep in mind: lingual braces are more difficult to clean because of their position. They also aren’t suitable for people with overbites or small teeth.

Last updated on March 31, 2022
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 31, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Poorsattar-Bejeh Mir, Arash, and Manouchehr Rahmati-Kamel. “Should the orthodontic brackets always be removed prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?.” Journal of oral biology and craniofacial research vol. 6,2 : 142-52
  2. The Average Cost of Braces, ValuePenguin, December 2021
  3. Birnie, D. “Ceramic brackets.” British journal of orthodontics vol. 17,1 : 71-4
  4. Ghafari, J. “Problems associated with ceramic brackets suggest limiting use to selected teeth.” The Angle orthodontist vol. 62,2 : 145-52
  5. Chalipa, Javad et al. “Comparison of Bond Strength of Metal and Ceramic Brackets Bonded with Conventional and High-Power LED Light Curing Units.” Journal of dentistry (Tehran, Iran) vol. 13,6 : 423-430
  6. Pinho, Mónica et al. “Bond Strength of Metallic or Ceramic Orthodontic Brackets to Enamel, Acrylic, or Porcelain Surfaces.” Materials (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 13,22 5197. 17 Nov. 2020
  7. Almosa, Naif A et al. “Enamel demineralization around metal and ceramic brackets: an in vitro study.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dentistry vol. 11 37-43. 28 Feb. 2019
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