Rollins & Peterson Orthodontics in Mesa, AZ is proud to offer a variety of teeth-straightening services. One of our favorite offerings is ceramic braces. When choosing a plan for oral alignment, it is important that you have a full understanding of the features and circumstances that come with each offering. Ceramic braces, while not rare, have unique features and qualities to consider.
What Are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic is a frequent choice for those who are looking for something other than traditional metal braces, but it is still very similar to wire-and-bracket mounts. Used to realign and straighten a smile, these braces employ the use of ceramic brackets.
The brackets can be colored or clear, and the wire can also be the traditional silver coloring or clear. This makes these braces more difficult to notice from a distance.
Benefits of Ceramic
When choosing a plan for straightening, there are a lot of options and offerings with each selection that will ultimately weigh in on the final determination of a plan. Ceramic is unique in a variety of ways that has made it a top choice for braces under certain circumstances.
Because of the design of ceramic aligners, they are harder to see from a distance than traditional wire and brackets. The brackets are smaller and can be clear or colored to match your teeth. The wiring can also be clear.
This makes ceramic a popular option among older clients and professionals who would rather disguise their braces than show them off.
With the exception of those who are sensitive to ceramic materials, most find that ceramic straighteners are actually far more comfortable than metal. They are less abrasive, which causes less discomfort and injury to the inside of the cheeks as the mouth adjusts to the braces being in place.
Within two to four weeks, most people who wear ceramic brackets say that they experience no discomfort at all thanks to the smooth, lightweight design of the ceramic implants. This makes them a popular choice for those who struggle with low pain tolerance or who live with autism or other sensory integration issues.
Move Teeth Faster
In many situations, ceramic aligners also work faster than fully clear aligners, such as Invisalign. While Invisalign aligners are almost entirely invisible, they do take longer to get the job done. This creates a situation where it is important to consider which you would rather sacrifice: visibility or time.
For many, the choice is to use the less-visible ceramic alternative with the benefit of a quicker completion date.
Do Not Interfere With Imaging Tests
Metal braces can cause interference with imaging tests like x-rays and CAT scans. For those who have unique medical needs that necessitate these tests regularly, ceramic brackets and wire work best.
Because ceramic can be colored, it is possible to match the coloring to the natural coloring of your tooth. This will also help tremendously with disguising the braces while you are being treated.
However, some people like to use fun colors to express their unique personalities. Both natural and fun coloring is possible with the use of ceramic, leaving your options open for the duration of your treatment process.
Knowing the benefits of ceramic is one thing, but knowing when they are the best possible treatment option for your unique dental needs is another. There are considerations to be made when determining the course of your alignment plan.
When to Consider Ceramic Brackets
Not all alignment needs are good candidates for ceramic. Determining your needs will help you narrow your choices down between ceramic devices or other alternatives. If you are considering ceramic, you should ask yourself if your needs fall into the following criteria:
Simple Dental Correction
If you are only needing simple dental correction, ceramic brackets and wire are ideal. However, if you are in need of more advanced care, you might be wiser to opt for traditional metal wire-and-bracket mounts.
Simple dental corrections include closing gaps and straightening overlapping or otherwise crooked teeth. Fixing severe under or overbites or treating more advanced crowding issues will require a stronger method.
Not Sensitive to Ceramic
Most people do not struggle with sensitivities to ceramic, however, those that do often find that the irritation they suffer can be overwhelming. If you are unsure how your body will react to ceramic, you can ask for a test bracket to be placed for a short amount of time. This will allow you to find out if the materials used in the bracket will create discomfort or irritation to the inside of the mouth. The good news is that it’s quite rare for someone to be sensitive to ceramic.
When compared to other alignment methods, ceramic is usually more cost-effective than fully invisible aligners. Choosing ceramic over Invisalign can save you as much as half of the cost, however, ceramic is slightly more expensive than the traditional wire-and-bracket braces mount.
If you are looking at Invisalign because of the invisibility clear aligners offer, but you are struggling with budget concerns, this middle-of-the-road choice may be best for you.
Covered by Insurance
Not all insurance companies will cover ceramic as an option, but those that do far prefer them over Invisalign or other totally clear alternatives. Because of the overall cost of the competing choices, you might have better luck getting approval from your insurance company to go with ceramic over clear plastic.
However, it should also be noted that most insurance companies will only cover traditional metal aligners. In these circumstances, you may need to open a flex spending account to afford the additional cost that ceramic can incur.
Not an Athlete
If you play a lot of contact-sports, ceramic is likely not the best option for you. They are more delicate than other braces options, especially clear aligners, and you might find yourself needing brackets replaced repeatedly with hits to the face and mouth.
Ceramic brackets do work just as well if not better than wire brackets, though, for individuals who do not engage in high-contact activities.
Older Teen or Adult
Ceramic brackets are best for older teens or adults who are better able to understand the limitations of their diet and activity while wearing these aligners. Younger teens and children often struggle to maintain ceramic and frequently find that staining and broken brackets are a problem.
We will consider your age (or your child’s age) and overall maturity level before rendering a final decision on whether ceramic can be used.
Looking for Fast Results
Much of the time, those who seek alignment for their teeth have struggled with insecurities about their smile through childhood and adolescence. Many alignment clients are actually adults who have finally reached a point in their lives to afford the alignment treatments that they could not previously obtain.
In these circumstances, it is common to want to finish the process as quickly as possible, especially if you feel that much of your life has already been wasted on a crooked smile. As previously mentioned, ceramic aligners are typically faster-moving than fully-clear alternatives.
Caring for Ceramic Aligners
Ceramic brackets, like the alternatives, have their own unique needs when it comes to day-to-day and regular care. Regular maintenance and proper hygiene are important at all times, but especially so when you are wearing braces. Furthermore, ceramic braces have unique needs aside from those that you would find with other alignment options.
Brushing regularly and completely will keep food particles and plaque from building up in the crevices that are created by braces. If you are not careful to fully and frequently eliminate this buildup, staining to the teeth can occur.
With ceramic, the staining can also occur on the brackets themselves. This will create an unsightly blotchy appearance to the braces if proper hygiene isn’t practiced.
Floss and Rinse
Regular flossing and rinsing will also prevent this build-up from occurring. You should floss at least every day and rinse thoroughly with clear water each time to get the best results.
Just as nicotine and cigarette tar can stain your teeth, they can also stain the ceramic used in ceramic straighteners. If you plan to use ceramic brackets, you will want to stop smoking fully before having the ceramic base applied to your teeth.
Many consider this to be a good time to quit smoking because having the braces in place after you quit will be a constant reminder to leave the cigarettes alone, even when you are craving them.
Avoid Certain Foods and Toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste is known to discolor ceramic. The same is true for foods that contain a lot of colorings, such as colorful sweetened beverages and certain candies. Once a color sets into the ceramic, it is hard to clear out. At that point, the only alternative is to remove the ceramic bracket and reset it, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Don’t Skip Appointments
To ensure that you are getting the best possible results from your ceramic braces, you will need to keep up with your regularly scheduled appointments. It is during these appointments that we will be able to keep track of your progress and tackle any unforeseen obstacles that are manifesting. Skipping appointments can not only affect the end result of your alignment process but can also extend the time needed to achieve any results at all.
Wear a Mouthguard
If you are partaking in physical activity that might cause damage to your braces, you would be wise to invest in a mouthguard. This device can also be helpful if you frequently struggle with grinding teeth either in the waking hours or while you sleep.
Grinding teeth and taking impact to the mouth can both cause the ceramic brackets to come loose. When this happens, you must immediately see us to have them secured back in place.
By now you should have a clear understanding of the unique needs and benefits of ceramic as an option. Keep in mind that, even if this article makes them sound ideal for your circumstances, it is best to make the decision in conjunction with use. We can help you understand your particular needs and all the pros and cons of ceramic for your unique situation.
Set Up a Consultation Now
Call Rollins & Peterson Orthodontics in Mesa, Arizona today if you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation for ceramic braces installation. We look forward to working with you!