Gold dental braces – And other options for personalizing conventional metal braces.
Have your braces say something about your personality.
Once you’ve decided to have your teeth straightened using conventional braces (brackets and wires on the front side of your teeth), you should consider some of the different ways they can be customized, so to make them special.
After all, if they’re going to show, why not make them unique? Create some individuality. Have some fun.
Ways to personalize metal braces.
If you’re curious about how your dental braces can make a statement about you, consider these options.
- Opt for gold braces. Examples – The color of gold can help to mute the appearance of your appliances and give them an air of sophistication.
- Choose a unique color scheme Examples for your elastics. – Show off your personality through the color of rubber bands you wear.
- Get brackets that have a fun shape (fashion brackets). Examples – They can be stars, flowers or footballs, just to name a few.
Related page: What kind of costs Fees for braces page. are involved with customizing metal braces?
Closeup of gold dental braces.
Note the deep yellow coloration of the bracket and archwire. The elastic band is clear.
A) Gold dental braces.
a) It gives a different look.
c) Gold braces make you look smarter.
Closeup of gold braces (bracket and archwire).
The color of the plating on these braces is very pale.
1) Ask which color of gold.
Are the braces really made out of gold?
The brackets themselves are made out of a base metal that’s been picked out because it has good physical properties for orthodontic work. Gold, especially 24K, is too soft for this purpose.
If you need more information, you’ll have to ask your orthodontist for details about the exact type of coating that’s applied to the hardware they use. It may be true 24K gold plating, or else a gold-colored coating such as titanium nitride (TiN) or zirconium nitride (ZrN).
2) Ask your dentist if gold archwires will be used.
Just so you’re not surprised and disappointed, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist if gold-colored archwires will be used with your treatment.
- Some people choose gold braces because they want the appearance of the color in their smile. For these patients, having a matching archwire (the wire that runs across your teeth) will help to complete the look.
- Other patients may choose gold brackets simply because they think they show less. In this case, if the archwire running across their teeth is fairly thin, its color, silver or gold, may not really matter very much. And since gold-plated archwires tend to cost more, using silver ones may be a perfectly acceptable, lower-cost option.
Related content: Gold braces costs. Fees for braces page.
3) Is your treatment any different when gold braces are used?
Orthodontic treatment using gold or stainless steel (silver) braces is the same. Like we stated above, the only difference between the two is the plating that’s been applied to give the yellow coloration.
The situation can exist where the specific type/brand of bracket your orthodontist feels is important to use doesn’t come in gold. If so, you may not be able to choose this option.
4) Research – Perceptions about gold braces.
We ran across two published papers that evaluated how gold dental braces are perceived by others.
Study #1: Jeremiah (2011)
In this study, 130 study participants were shown pictures of a subject wearing different types of orthodontic appliances, and then asked for their impression about their appearance.
- Intellectual Ability – Higher perceived “intellectual ability” scores were associated with lingual (7.56), removable/Invisalign® (7.08) and gold dental braces (7.35), as compared to conventional/silver (6.67) and ceramic/clear (6.65) ones.
- Attractiveness – Better perceived “attractiveness” scores (lower = better) were associated with lingual (44.54), removable (53.33) and gold braces (71.38). Followed by silver braces (75.06) and then ceramic (80.02) ones. (We’d be the first to agree that the very high score here for ceramic braces was different than we would have expected.)
Study #2: Feu (2012)
This study involving 252 subjects had a design similar to the Jeremiah one just discussed.
Attractiveness – After looking at pictures of a model wearing different types of orthodontic appliances, the test subjects were asked their opinion about the “attractiveness” of each.
- Clear aligners (Invisalign®, close to a no-appliance look) scored 81.
- Gold braces ranked least favorable of all treatment methods at 17.
- Gold’s score was even below the look of silver braces with colored elastics (29). Go figure.
Our conclusions about these studies.
The findings of this last study surprised us quite a bit. And the conclusions of the first one, the study that determined that gold braces were more pleasing than ceramic ones, seemed a bit strange to us too.
All we can conclude from this is that there’s clearly “no accounting for taste.” So our advice would be, if the idea of gold appeals to you, why not just go ahead and do it?
Having said that, both studies included copies of the pictures test subjects were shown. And the color of gold appliances used was deep yellow. As mentioned above, there are different shades of gold. So ask to see which one your dentist has to offer. A paler coloration may be more universally acceptable and pleasing.
The individual components of conventional braces.
Each one (bracket, archwire, elastic) can be personalized.
B) Elastic ties – You have a rainbow of colors to choose from.
- You might choose bands that have a bright standout, or even fluorescent, color.
- Or, at the other extreme, pick white or ivory elastics that help your braces to blend in better with your smile.
Which color(s) should you choose?
Researchers have studied what colors people like the most, see below.
Don’t just pick a color, pick a color scheme.
1) You can pick out a different color scheme every time.
Don’t worry, just because you’ve chosen a scheme once doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with it. Elastic ties are usually replaced during each appointment (usually every few weeks).
So, make a change, or even be adventurous. It doesn’t cost a thing other than the courage to do it. (In case you’re wondering, your orthodontist buys these bands for less than a penny apiece.)
2) Things to think about when making a choice.
- White or ivory bands can help to mask your braces. But depending on the types of things you eat and drink, they may tend to stain.
- Darker bands don’t stain but they don’t help to hide your braces either.
- Bold colors make a statement.
- Some people like to stick with choosing vibrant colors (pink, bright blue or purple) because they won’t be mistaken for food or debris trapped around your braces.
- Mixing colors is just plain fun.
3) Research studies about color preferences.
Believe it or not, dental researchers have actually studied which color of elastics people tend to find the most pleasing.
Study #1: Cordeiro de Oliveria (2012)
- As a part of the study, test subjects were shown essentially identical pictures of a person wearing silver braces with green, red or grey ligatures. (Like our slideshow above, only full-faced.)
- They then rated the pictures in terms of how “pleasant” the person’s appearance looked.
- Adults (ages 25 to 50 years) tended to prefer grey bands the most, followed by red and then green.
- Adolescents (ages 13 to 17 years) tended to prefer red the most, followed by grey and then green.
Probably more than anything, this information simply confirms that people of different age groups have different tastes. [And, of course, that “It’s not easy bein’ green.” (Kermit’s favorite song.)]
Study #2: Feu (2012)
This same preference for grey over green ligatures shows up in other studies too, like the Feu (2012) study mentioned above. With it, two of the pictures shown to test subjects showed the model wearing conventional silver braces with grey and then also green elastic bands.
- 252 subjects were asked to rate the “attractiveness” of the model’s appearance.
- All study subgroups (men, women, ages 17 to 26, and ages 27 to 63) preferred the look of grey elastics over green ones.
C) Fashion brackets – Orthodontic brackets that have unique shapes.
Another way patients can make their braces special is by choosing brackets that have a unique or distinctive outline. Here are some of the shapes that are available:
- Stars, Hearts, Soccer balls, Footballs, Flowers, Diamonds, Clubs and “Mickey”.
(It’s our impression that fashion brackets are only available in silver, not gold.)
In most cases, they’re only placed on the center six (or four) upper front teeth. That’s because these are the only ones that really show very much when you smile. Following this plan also helps to keep costs down.
Is your treatment any different when fashion brackets are used?
Heart and star “fashion” orthodontic brackets.
Related content: Specialty bracket costs. Fees for braces page.
Page references sources:
Cordeiro de Oliveria S, et al. Impact of brackets on smile esthetics: Laypersons and orthodontists perceptions.
Feu D, et al. Esthetic perception and economic value of orthodontic appliances by lay Brazilian adults.
Jeremiah HG, et al. Social perceptions of adults wearing orthodontic appliances: a cross-sectional study.
All reference sources for topic Straightening Teeth.