Ceramic braces (Clear braces) - Treatment options / Considerations / Disadvantages.

While treatment using ceramic braces is very similar to traditional braces, there are some differences.

And while most people would probably not consider any single item we list on this page to be an overwhelming disadvantage, any prospective patient should at least be aware of them.

A) Your treatment may take longer when ceramic braces are used.

The orthodontic technique used with ceramic braces is essentially the same as with traditional braces. By nature, however, ceramic brackets are more fragile than their metal counterparts. And for this reason, some treatment modifications may be necessary.

Ceramic braces offer an aesthetic alternative to stainless steel.

Bracket failure.

For example, as a way of minimizing the risk of bracket failure, an orthodontist may decide that they should apply lighter forces when ceramic braces are used. Doing so, however, will likely mean that the patient's teeth will move more slowly, thus increasing the overall treatment time needed for the case.

If a bracket does fail, it will have to be reattached or replaced. This simply adds inconvenience and aggravation for all of the parties involved. We will say, however, that with each new generation of ceramic bracket, the difficulties associated with bracket strength become less and less of an issue.

B) Ceramic brackets are more irritating to soft tissues.

Ceramic brackets can wear opposing teeth.

Ceramic orthodontic brackets tend to feel rougher and sharper than metal ones. And while this is something that you should gradually get used to, or at least tolerate better, especially at first your new braces are likely to irritate any soft tissues (lips, cheeks) that rub against them.

C) Ceramic braces can't always be placed on bottom teeth.

The ceramic that is used to make clear and tooth-colored orthodontic brackets is harder than tooth enamel. And because of this, they have the potential to wear, even severely wear, those teeth that touch against them.

For this reason, after examining a patient's bite and evaluating the way their teeth overlap when they close, an orthodontist may decide that they should not offer to place ceramic braces on the patient's lower teeth for fear of creating a situation where excessive wear will take place.

D) Due to their expense, ceramic braces aren't always placed on all of a patient's teeth.

We now discuss this topic here.

E) Ceramic brackets tend to be larger than metal ones.

Orthodontic brackets have to withstand a fair amount of stress over the course of a patient's treatment. And since ceramic brackets tend to be weaker and more brittle than their metal counterparts, they usually have a slightly larger and bulkier design so they can withstand these forces better.

F) Remember, ceramic dental braces still require the use of an archwire.

A metal archwire.

Ceramic braces still require the use of a metal archwire (the wire that wraps around and runs across the patient's teeth). And this wire will be visible to others.

Frosted arch wires.

As a way of minimizing the shiny appearance of the archwire, your orthodontist may offer to place a "frosted" or "coated" one. (This graphic shows an example.)

There are, however, limitations and difficulties associated with the use of these types of wires and they may not be products that your orthodontist is interested in working with.

G) You'll still wear elastic bands with your ceramic dental braces.

The archwire running across your teeth will be bound to each bracket with an elastic band. Most orthodontists have quite a variety of colors to choose from when these bands are placed (and then removed and replaced again, every month or so).

You'll probably choose matching bands.

Most patients with ceramic braces choose tooth-colored or clear elastic bands, so the overall appearance of their braces blends in with their teeth as much as possible.

Stained orthodontic bands.

Light-colored bands tend to stain.

Light elastic bands (especially clear or white) often look great at first but then, due to exposure to foods and beverages, become stained and visually detracting. Pretty much any consumable that has a strong color has the potential to stain a patient's orthodontic bands. This includes: coffee, tea, cola, mustard, ketchup, curry, blueberries, and tobacco products.

There's no real solution for this problem other than to minimize your consumption of whatever foods you find cause this problem. Of course, when your elastic bands are changed (usually every month or so) you'll get a fresh, clean start.

Ceramic Dental Braces
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