Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces: A Detailed Comparison for Informed Decisions

You have decided to get braces and work toward the straight, beautiful smile you always envisioned. Congratulations! Now you may be at the point of wondering which is the best type of braces to reach that goal.

There are more types of braces available today than ever before. One of the most common comparisons we deal with is ceramic braces or metal braces. Both are efficient orthodontic devices for realigning teeth and both have their advantages and disadvantages. The best option for you depends on several factors, including the severity of your alignment issues, your aesthetic concerns, and your budget.

In this article, we break down the differences for you so you can make the best choice. And since you want to do everything you can to make the most of your investment of time and money, we will also give some tips for taking care of your braces (no matter which kind you decide on. 

First, let’s look at the pros and cons of ceramic or traditional braces.

Comparing Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces:

Ceramic Braces

When they first emerged, ceramic braces offered a more modern alternative to traditional metal braces. Today, they continue to be a popular choice for patients seeking a less noticeable option. These braces boast clear or tooth-colored brackets, which makes them less apparent on the teeth. Let’s break down the benefits of ceramic braces as well as some of their drawbacks.

Pros of Ceramic Braces

Besides the discreetness of ceramic braces, they do offer several additional advantages:

  • Aesthetics: The color of the brackets blends seamlessly with natural teeth, offering a more discreet look.
  • Efficiency: They can treat a wide range of orthodontic issues.
  • Reduced Irritation: The ceramic material is often less irritating to the gums and cheeks than metal braces are.
  • Durability: Despite being made from ceramic, these braces are surprisingly strong and can withstand the pressures of orthodontic treatment.

Cons of Ceramic Braces

It’s important to note that ceramic braces do come with some disadvantages as well:

  • Staining potential: The clear or tooth-colored components can stain (and will stay that way) if not properly cared for.
  • Size: Ceramic braces are sometimes bulkier than metal braces.
  • Price: Ceramic braces are generally more expensive than metal braces.
  • Cleaning: Ceramic braces have their challenges for your oral hygiene routine. When the brackets are bigger than traditional metal braces, swollen or receding gums can result if your toothbrush doesn’t effectively reach behind and around every tooth and the gumline.

These are the primary advantages and disadvantages of ceramic braces. Now, let’s learn more about the pros and cons of metal braces.

Traditional Metal Braces

Archeologists have discovered mummies entombed thousands of years ago with braces on their teeth. This proves orthodontia has been around for a long time! But, it wasn’t until 1908 that the first metal bracket was developed, making straightening teeth less painful. Because of this, metal braces became the new standard. Let’s find out why and then compare it with the drawbacks of these braces.

Pros of Metal Braces

Metal braces are extremely effective at transforming the most severe teeth and jaw misalignments. Here are some of their other advantages:

  • Durability and strength: Metal braces are constructed with high-quality stainless steel, which makes them durable and able to withstand most orthodontic adjustments.
  • Versatility: Metal braces can be used for nearly all orthodontic issues, even the most complex.
  • Cost: In general, metal braces are less expensive than ceramic braces.
  • Maintenance: Braces made from metal can still have small brackets, which makes them easier to clean thoroughly. 
  • Less prone to staining: Metal braces are made of stain-resistant material.

Cons of Metal Braces

There are some disadvantages with metal braces, though:

  • Aesthetics: They are more noticeable on your teeth compared to ceramic braces or clear aligners.
  • Discomfort: The cheeks and gums can be irritated from the metal brackets and wires, especially during the first week or so and then each time your orthodontist tightens them.
  • Treatment time: The treatment time is generally two years, sometimes more.
  • Flossing: Traditional methods of flossing simply do not work with metal braces. Unless you utilize dental hygiene tools like interdental brushes, you’ll be leaving food debris hiding under and behind the brackets.

Taking Care of Your Braces Properly

Whether you wear ceramic braces or metal braces, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and a safe diet. These tips will help keep your braces safe throughout your treatment plan. This eliminates costly replacement and longer treatment.

Here are the basics of any oral hygiene plan for braces:

Brushing Thoroughly is at the Top of the List

Effective brushing with braces prevents plaque buildup, cavities, and diseases like gingivitis. There are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to proper brushing with braces:

  • Brush at least three times a day.
  • Brush immediately after meals (or at least within one hour of finishing meals).
  • Brush above, on, and below the braces.
  • Clean between teeth with tools like a floss threader or an interdental brush.
  • Use a water flosser for even better results.

Food Choices Matter

Your food choices also affect your braces, especially how long the braces will last without damage. Make sure to avoid chewy, sticky, and hard foods to prevent damaging your braces. Here are some examples to steer clear of:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard or chewy candies
  • Ice
  • Chewing gum (other than gum made for braces)
  • Whole, hard fruits like apples
  • Raw vegetables like carrots
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard bread like rolls or bagels
  • Ribs
  • Snack chips and pretzels

If the food is hard, crunchy, or sticky, even if it isn’t on this list, don’t eat it! 

The first few days after your braces are fitted or adjusted, eat more soft foods. Some good options include:

  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Soft cheeses, like cottage cheese
  • Soft bread
  • Pasta
  • Cooked or canned fruit; bananas
  • Mashed fruits and vegetables
  • Steamed veggies
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal and other grains
  • Soups
  • Ice cream

Rather than think of this as a difficult time, learn about new foods you have never tried! Above all, protect your braces!

Ceramic or Traditional Braces: The Choice Is Yours

With the information we’ve covered above, you can more confidently make the best choice now that it’s time to decide on the type of braces. As you can see, both ceramic and metal braces have legitimate pros and cons. Discuss these with your orthodontist, make your choice, and follow the tips provided to protect them with proper care.

Ready to achieve the confident smile you’ve always dreamed of? Whether you prefer the aesthetics of ceramic braces or the traditional reliability of metal braces, our expert team at White Plains Orthodontics can create a personalized treatment plan to get you there. 

Contact us today for a consultation and start your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!