Here at Children’s Braces and Dentistry, we like to focus on subjects that stay relevant for our patients. People benefiting from two-phase treatment and dual-specialty services start their treatment at a young age and look for any advantage they can find in their treatment options.
As you may know from some of our other articles or conversations you’ve had with your orthodontist, when you need treatment to align your teeth and jaws, there are many options aside from traditional metal braces.
One such option is ceramic braces. Some people call them clear braces. Even if no braces are truly “clear,” this variation does offer patients some considerable benefits to their appearance during the treatment. Don’t worry, we’ll explain in more detail.
What’s the Story Behind the Design and Materials of Ceramic Braces?
Now that’s a question with an extraordinary answer!
To better understand the story behind the design and materials used in manufacturing ceramic braces, it’s important to start at the very beginning. Let’s look at why ceramic braces were invented and why today they are one of the most sought-after types of devices for kids, teens, and adults.
Many years ago, starting orthodontic treatment meant inconvenience, additional dental care, and social embarrassment, especially for kids and teens. When a young child or teenager heard they needed braces, fear would set in.
After all, back in the day before clear braces came along, young children and teens would have to face bullying at school or social gatherings, as well as being the target of the usual name-calling of “metal mouth” or “nerd.”
All of this comes from the stigma created by traditional metal braces used many years ago.
However, today some kids and teens actually ask to get braces! And this is great news! Today, it may even be considered “cool” to have braces since they are less noticeable and available in colors thanks to advanced technology. Not to mention that in this day and age, many young celebrities or influencers your children may follow on social media use orthodontics, making them more mainstream and even a fashion statement in search of the perfect smile.
So if your child or teenager asks to please get braces, don’t be surprised and support them in their decision to work towards a healthier smile.
Now that you have a better understanding of why the development of ceramic braces is so important in the world of orthodontics, let’s take a look at the history behind their design.
Space-age Ceramic Braces
The materials used for the first “ceramic” braces were developed several decades ago by a contractor manufacturing parts for various US government agencies and branches. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) co-developed the materials and introduced them to the market of orthodontics in 1986.
An orthodontist would connect several translucent brackets with a thin metal wire. The light could go through, making the brackets appear tooth-colored.
Such an innovation provided patients with a discreet and clinically viable treatment option. Quite understandably, it took off almost immediately.
Teenagers were thrilled to have such an option and finally escape the terrors of the clunky stainless steel metal braces whenever prom or yearbook season came along.
Since the late 80s, we’ve leveraged many advancements in materials and technology to improve the durability of the various parts while striking a balance with the cosmetic demands of our patients.
Ceramic braces use a composite called polycrystalline alumina that can match your natural tooth color; likewise, the wire used to connect individual brackets can come in various colors. This archwire can be white, silver, or a frosted tone that better matches the brackets’ color.
Who Is a Good Candidate for This Ceramic Braces Treatment?
We will analyze some of the reasons behind this section a little further down the line, but right now, you should know that orthodontists may only recommend these appliances to patients whose permanent teeth have already settled into one position.
Orthodontists focus primarily on the severity of your orthodontic condition before recommending one appliance over another.
Keep in mind that these orthodontic appliances have to perform several movements simultaneously to achieve the desired result. Moving your teeth and jaws into the right position requires time and gradual force, but if your condition is too severe, you might need additional attachments or materials to get the results you want.
Ceramic Braces For Kids
New orthodontic technologies provide plenty of options for children who need braces. An increasingly popular option is ceramic, which can be less noticeable than other types of braces.
Not to mention that the added benefit of ceramic braces is that for many children and teens, getting braces is the chance to have fun, colorful rubber ligatures that can be chosen to match prom dresses, sports teams, or holidays.
Ceramic braces traditionally use clear or white ligatures because these blend in with the teeth and provide a more streamlined appearance. However, your child can request colored rubber bands with ceramic brackets if desired.
Getting customized ligatures is a way of having a fun and colorful look for their braces.
Pros and Cons of These Appliances
As with everything else in life, you win some; you lose some. Ceramic braces are amazing innovations on already wonderful tools; however, there are some points you might want to consider before choosing this type of braces.
We’ll definitely continue mentioning that point. Ceramic brackets offer a discreet option for our patients. The material used to manufacture the ceramic brackets can be either clear or tooth-colored, so you have plenty of options.
Longer treatments can also prove to be a win for ceramic braces. We don’t mean to say that your treatment will be long and tedious due to this type of braces; rather, if your orthodontist warns you that your treatment will require a significant amount of time, you might want to consider ceramic braces over clear aligners.
Unfortunately, this type of brace made out of ceramic material can be more expensive than traditional braces. If you are counting on your dental insurance to help cover part of the treatment cost, you have to check first.
Some insurance companies won’t pay for ceramic braces and instead prefer that you use a stainless steel metal bracket for your orthodontic treatment. Check that before choosing between the various types of braces.
One important point you have to consider is the bracket’s durability.
Also, regrettably, ceramic brackets are not as durable as traditional metal braces made out of stainless steel. These are a more fragile option, and that can lead to various accidents where the part breaks off, adding more visits to the orthodontist’s office.
A quick side notes: we’ve seen several sites mention that these braces stain. They are not prone to staining. However, the elastic ties used for the wire could stain. It would be best to avoid some beverages that may stain, like wine, coffee, tea, or cola soda.
Let’s take a closer look at our side note.
Extra Foods To Add To Your Child’s Do Not Eat List
Beyond the usual foods to be avoided with braces, clear braces bring an extra layer of concern when it comes to keeping them clear and undamaged. Many foods which are totally fine with normal metal brackets should be avoided as much as possible by patients with the invisible alternative. Foods and drinks with this high-intensity, almost instant staining power include:
- Tomatoes and tomato products like pastes, sauces, and ketchup.
- Yellow mustard
- Berries and pomegranates
- Food with artificial dyes like popsicles, slushies, and colored candies
- Red Wine
- Dark Sodas
- Soy Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar
If your child or teen just can’t resist the urge to eat or drink any of these, make sure to remind them to brush, floss, and rinse immediately after consuming any of the foods on the list above.
It’s important to try and avoid staining at all costs as, if this happens, your child’s ceramic braces will be more noticeable, and discoloration may ensue.
Check if Ceramic Braces Are for You Contact Us At (619)-461-6166
Don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified orthodontist about this type of orthodontic appliance. If you are trying to get the best version of your smile, you should consider this alternative to metal braces.
Ask Dr. Santiago Surillo about the options available for your treatment. If you are here in La Mesa, you should definitely give us a call or set an appointment online to check all your options.
Hope to see you soon and start this journey with you toward a beautiful and healthy smile