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Gold braces are orthodontic devices that align and straighten teeth to improve bite and dental health. Traditionally, braces have been made from stainless steel or titanium alloy.
Gold braces usually have a stainless steel base for strength. They are then coated with gold to give them a unique, fashionable look. The coating on the gold wires and brackets may be pure 24 karat gold or another metal that’s gold-colored.
Most people wear braces for several months or even years, so it’s important to feel good about how they look. Gold braces are a great option for people who want to add a bit of luxury, fun, and style to their smile.
Gold braces use a system of metal brackets and wires that attach to the teeth. Normally, a bracket is glued to each tooth, and an archwire connects them. Braces gradually move teeth into their proper position by exerting constant but gentle pressure.1
Some people also need to wear rubber bands at some point during treatment. Rubber bands apply additional force to certain areas.
Metal braces can help with several dental problems, including:
When you wear dental braces, you'll have regular visits with your orthodontist. They'll check progress and adjust the archwire at most visits.
The only real difference between gold braces and traditional metal braces is their distinctive and unique appearance. The gold coating is thin and does not affect functionality in any way. The materials are as strong and durable as metal braces and provide the same results in the same timeframe.
The two options may, however, differ in price. You can choose a gold-colored coating or real gold. A gold-colored coating shouldn't affect the price significantly. However, braces will cost more if they are coated in genuine 24 karat gold.
Silver braces are usually made of stainless steel or titanium alloy. Although unusual, some people have allergies to these metals, which causes discomfort and irritation when wearing braces.2
If you have a sensitive mouth, you may want to opt for 24 karat gold braces. Pure gold does not contain any other metals, like nickel. It’s also considered hypoallergenic. However, lower karats are alloys meaning they contain other metals. As a result, they may still cause allergies.3
As with all dental treatments, there are pros and cons to wearing gold braces.
Common pros and cons of gold braces include:
If you prefer a discreet look, gold braces are not the right choice for you. But if you like the idea of braces that make a statement, gold braces could be an excellent choice.
In addition, they're less likely to trigger allergies and are durable.
The best way to know if gold braces are right for you is to talk to an orthodontist. Look for someone certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), which signifies they have the necessary training and experience.
The cost of gold braces depends on their materials. If they don't contain precious metal, they'll cost about the same as stainless steel braces. Expect to pay $3,000 to $7,000. This is an option for people looking for the gold esthetic and not interested in the properties of gold.
However, if you opt for 24 karat gold plated braces, the price will be significantly higher — think several thousand dollars more.
You can choose a lower karat gold plating if you want to minimize costs while still having the luxury of gold. But this is not a good idea if you're choosing gold to minimize allergic reactions.
There are several ways to pay for gold braces:
General health insurance does not usually cover treatment with braces, but some orthodontic insurance plans do.
If you have dental insurance, there's usually some coverage for braces and other orthodontic treatments. However, you may not have full coverage, and your policy may not cover the additional cost of gold braces.
Review your insurance policy to see what is and isn't covered and to check your out-of-pocket cost. Then, check with your orthodontist to see if they offer any payment options or if they accept your insurance.
You may be able to use tax-free funds from a health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) to cover the cost of braces. Check with your account administrator to confirm.
Your dental office may offer payment plans to help make gold braces more affordable.
When you sign a financing contract, you agree to make monthly payments over a set period, often with interest. Compare the interest rates, fees, and repayment terms of different financing options before you decide on a payment plan.
They may also offer discounts for cash payments or referrals.
Here are some common questions about gold braces:
Orthodontics is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as each mouth is unique and treatment times vary. But, the average time it takes metal braces, including gold braces, to straighten and align teeth is about 20 to 24 months.
However, some people may require less than 12 months of treatment, while others may need 3 years or more. It depends on the severity of your case and how your mouth responds to braces.4
Pay close attention to your oral hygiene when you have braces, as it's easy for food to get stuck in the brackets and wires.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth at least twice a day. You may also need to use an interdental brush or floss threader to clean around the wires.
You can eat normally, but it’s best to avoid hard, chewy, and sticky foods that can damage the braces.5
No, gold braces don't require any special cleaning solutions. Use standard, over-the-counter (OTC) mouthwash and toothpaste.
But avoid using whitening products, as they can't reach under your brackets. If you use them while you wear braces, your teeth may look patchy when your braces are removed.
No, gold braces don't require more maintenance than traditional braces. However, you'll still need to brush twice daily, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Yes, you can play sports while wearing gold braces. But, you may need to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from damage if you're playing contact sports.
Your orthodontist can provide you with a custom-fitted mouthguard, or you can purchase one at a sporting goods store. Commercial mouthguards are inexpensive, convenient, and adapt to your mouth. But, there can be problems molding the mouthguard around fixed braces.6
When you first get gold braces, you may experience discomfort as your teeth and mouth adjust to the new hardware. This discomfort is usually temporary and often goes away within a few days.
Contact your orthodontist if you're still experiencing pain after a few days. They may be able to make adjustments to the braces.
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