Traditional dental braces are a rite of passage for many teenagers. And with the current colors and styles, orthodontic dental braces are helping teens make a fashion statement -- in a big way! But as more adults are getting dental braces, looking like a teen queen isn't always a desirable option. Now there's a way for adults to straighten their teeth without exposing a mouth full of metal -- or childish designs.
Clear dental braces have become all the rage for those who might "freak out" over the idea of metal dental braces. Commonly known as ceramic dental braces or tooth-colored dental braces, porcelain dental braces are one of several types of orthodontic braces designed to fit adult lifestyles. Porcelain dental braces help hide the fact you're wearing braces by blending in with your teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, porcelain brackets are made from a glass-like composite material that appears translucent, allowing your teeth to shine through.
Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size
Porcelain dental braces were created with aesthetics in mind. The porcelain brackets themselves are designed to resist stains when cared for properly. Ligatures, or rubber bands that hold the arch wire in place, are often white or clear to compliment the brackets. Even the metal arch wire will appear less noticeable as it blends in with your brackets. To some, it may look like you're just wearing an orthodontic retainer.
Don’t Trust Any Orthodontic Appliance Over 30
Developed from a material originally designed by NASA, porcelain dental braces were considered a high-tech advancement in orthodontics when they were introduced in 1987. Unfortunately, these braces were susceptible to staining and breakage and sometimes contributed to enamel damage when they were removed. Porcelain braces have significantly improved over recent years, proving much sturdier than their predecessors. The bonding process used to attach porcelain brackets has also changed, decreasing the risk of tooth damage after treatment.
As with any dental treatment, it's important to explore all of your options before choosing an orthodontic appliance. If you are thinking about getting porcelain dental braces, consider the following factors when making your decision:
- Treatment takes longer than with metal dental braces -- ceramic causes more friction to the wire, slowing down the time it takes to move your teeth.
- Although porcelain dental braces have been improved to reduce the possibility of breakage, they are still not as durable as metal braces.
- Like with any type of dental braces, you should avoid hard and sticky foods to prevent damage.
- Porcelain dental braces are not usually recommended for patients who are actively involved in sports. Mouthguards should always be worn to cover any type orthodontic braces during sports activities.
- While not as noticeable, porcelain brackets are much larger than metal brackets.
- If you're on a budget, ceramic braces may not be for you; they can be more expensive than traditional metal braces.
Some orthodontists recommend that you wear porcelain dental braces on the top teeth and metal braces on the bottom. Not only is the bottom jaw less visible, but this can improve your treatment time and costs. It also can help you avoid a possible side effect: Ceramic brackets worn on the bottom front teeth may come in contact with your top teeth while chewing, which can wear down tooth enamel.
Let’s Clear Some Things Up
Although referred to as "clear" dental braces, porcelain dental braces are different from Invisalign®. With porcelain dental braces, you will still notice the metal wire needed to move your teeth. Invisalign consists of clear, removable aligners that straighten teeth without metal parts. Although Invisalign may be less noticeable, it is sometimes more expensive and may not be appropriate for your type of malocclusion.
Porcelain dental braces are an excellent option for adults (and teens alike!) who don't want to show the world they're wearing braces. If you're interested in porcelain dental braces, speak with your dentist or orthodontist. If you don't have a dentist, we can help. Call us anytime day or night at