They are an appliance which has brought excellent help in the field of orthodontics. It has been helpful when it comes to straightening misaligned teeth and closing gaps between them. Through this method, patients can achieve an improvement in their smile and appearance, especially for adolescents and adults. They are also used in correcting minor problems such as crossbite, underbite, or overbite. However, in severe cases of overbite, crossbite or underbite in kids, teenagers or adults, dentists prescribe the use of a headgear together with braces.
The traditional way of correcting orthodontics problem is through the use of metallic braces. As technologies in dentistry develop this appliance, they started to look more physically appealing compared to before. In usual cases, metallic ones are very visible because of the materials used in making it. The industry, however, came out with various options that could reduce the visibility of them. These new innovations might mean higher cost than the usual, but because of its aesthetics, more people opt to spend on this method even at a higher price.
Generally, the most visible part of braces is the metallic archwire that runs across the front of the teeth. Because it runs like a spine, they have to be strong, it remains metallic. The archwire is attached to the brackets through the help of colored elastic bands. Because the materials that are used for the brackets are ceramic, an oxide or aluminum, they are then called ceramic braces. These elastic bands that hold the archwire to the brackets can also be made transparent or same color as the teeth.
The corrective effect of them is the same as the traditional braces. The main feature that helps in correcting the teeth is the archwire that runs along the teeth from end to end. Thus, even in ceramic ones, the materials used for archwire remains metallic. Typically, it is made out of stainless steel.
This archwire running along the teeth exerts pressure on the teeth through the ceramic brackets that are attached to each of them. These brackets are bonded to the teeth directly or through orthodontic bands and are held to the archwire through the help of elastic bands. The pressure created by the archwire on the brackets is then spread to the teeth. Through this, the teeth will move in the desired direction slowly as the level of pressure is adjusted by the dentist. Thus, visible movement of the teeth is achieved through constant adjustment of the archwire. A patient would need to have a dental appointment monthly or fortnightly for the alignment of the dental braces. This procedure is made repeatedly for one to four years depending on the severity of each case and the age of the patient.
Once the desired tooth alignment is achieved, dentists may advise wearing a retainer or tooth guards for some time. This helps in consolidating the adjustment that have been achieved and prevent the tendency of the teeth to move or go back into the alignment it once was. Thus, your orthodontist will assess whether you need to wear retainers or tooth guards and for how long you have to wear them.
Because of its less robust materials, ceramic ones are more fragile compared to the metallic ones. Plus, they tend to be more costly. With these, ceramic ones it would require better care than demanded by metallic braces. Take note of the following tips:
Foods to avoid – The material used in making the ceramic ones are either white or clear. Thus, patients should avoid food that could stain the components of the brace, especially the bands attaching the brackets to the archwire. Included in the food to be avoided are tobacco, liquor, tomato products, berries, dark sodas, coffee, mustard, and foods that are rich in artificial coloring.
Oral hygiene – In general, good oral hygiene is a must. But patients who have ceramic braces must be very regular with their oral care. The structure of the them causes a higher chance of plaque formation. Thus, brushing, flossing twice a day, and vigorously rinsing your mouth after food intake is advised to avoid tooth decay. A special interdental toothbrush is also recommended to clean areas that regular toothbrush cannot reach.
Regular checkup visits – Regular dental visits are advised to ensure that your teeth are in their best condition. A dentist can see areas that need to be addressed and help clean parts of your teeth which regular oral hygiene cannot take care of despite best efforts.
Avoid whitening toothpaste– Whitening toothpaste could leave dark patches under the braces. Thus, patients are advised not to use whitening toothpaste while wearing braces. Also, whitening toothpaste could also cause a chemical reaction with the color of the brackets.
They are becoming a new trend among teenagers and pediatric patients for some good reasons. However, this method could also have multiple disadvantages. Take a look at the following as we discuss both sides.
- Aesthetics – the main reason patients choose ceramic ones is for its aesthetic values. Ceramics are less visible compared to the metallic ones. Also, the brackets of ceramics can be either semi-translucent which is good for people with white teeth or tooth-colored which could benefit those with dark teeth.
- Minimal Irritation – Braces do not irritate the gums compared to the lingual invisible ones. Thus, it brings less pain and discomfort to patients.
- Costs – The cost of ceramic braces may tend to be higher than the metallic ones.
- Staining – Because the materials used in ceramic ones are either clear or white, they could stain faster if not taken care of properly. Thus, patients should observe their food intake and avoid foods that can stain them.
- Lower Strength than Metallic Braces – Ceramic braces are not advised when higher pressure or stress is involved. The components are more fragile compared to metallic ones and could crack if excessive stress is exerted. Thus, in cases of severe misalignment of teeth or severe cases of improper bite, ceramic ones are advised.
Sapphire Braces (Or Clear Braces)
Clear or sapphire teeth are advised for patients with very white teeth. This type of brace blends in with the color of the teeth and disappear on the teeth. Compared to ceramic ones, they do not stain and have stronger materials. The ligatures, however, can still be prone to slight staining if the patient drinks coffee, wine, or smoke regularly.
The cost could be higher than the other types. This is due to the materials used and the excellent aesthetics it brings to the patient. In general, the cost could be between $4000 to $8000 depending on the severity of each case. Metallic ones, on the other hand, can cost between $300 to $7000. Despite the cost difference and the limitations of strength and sustainability, ceramics are preferred by most patients because of their aesthetic appeal.
Interested to know more? Make an appointment with us now! Our friendly staff will provide the best available option for you or your child. The dental office will have a dental care specialist that will answer all of your questions and ensure that you will come up with the best decision. Our dental clinic is located in Costa Mesa, OC, California.