Not everybody is born with a perfect set of teeth, but that does not mean you have to live your life with teeth that cause pain, are prone to decay or cause gum inflammation. Thanks to the many innovations in the world of dental care, there are several methods and processes you can consider for correcting the alignment of your teeth. It is not simply a cosmetic procedure but can bring you real relief by creating more space in your mouth, offering you a better bite and allowing you to enjoy all kinds of food without pain, sensitivity or discomfort.
Full Guide to Ceramic Braces
The biggest hindrance to any dental treatment, however, is people’s reluctance to be seen wearing braces. Most people, especially adults, find it embarrassing and feel self-conscious about having a metallic smile. Ceramic braces are an easy solution to that problem.
What Are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic braces are a type of dental device which is used to correct the alignment of the teeth. The braces have small brackets that are cemented to individual teeth, made of transparent ceramic. The brackets are then attached to a wire, which may also be made of a transparent material. This is a popular variety of braces for those who would like a dental treatment that keeps appearance and aesthetics in mind. Ceramic braces match the color of your teeth and are practically invisible from a distance.
Ceramic braces are a viable form of dental treatment for people of all ages. It works on the teeth gradually and is also fairly comfortable to wear. Also known as clear braces, these type of braces have been around in the market for a few years now and are offered by a few different brands. The different brands will be addressed later in this article.
How are they Different from Traditional Braces?
Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional braces, except for one significant difference – while ceramic braces are made of transparent ceramic, traditional braces are made of metal. Some people prefer to use ceramic braces as they are simply better looking. Metal braces often make people feel conscious while speaking and can be a hit to the self-esteem.
Ceramic braces, on the other hand, are either transparent or can be matching in color and tone to your teeth. This makes the appearance a lot less noticeable and you can wear them with confidence and without feeling conscious. Some ceramic braces also come in a tie-less variety, which means they are self-ligating and eliminate the need to visit the doctor every now and then to have the braces tightened. This also makes the braces more comfortable as each time you have to get traditional, metal braces tightened, you will feel discomfort and tooth sensitivity for a few days after.
In cases of severe misalignment or overcrowding, though, the orthodontist is likely to recommend metal braces over ceramic braces as the former is going to be more effective in such cases.
How Much Do They Cost?
You can read our in-depth guide on how much ceramic braces cost for more information, but let’s take a quick look at the expenses right now as well.
Ceramic braces are on the slightly more expensive end of the spectrum because the material used to construct them are more expensive than metal. While traditional braces may cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000, ceramic braces can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $8,000. The final amount, however, will vary from case to case. The cost will depend on the duration of the treatment, the extent of work required, how much labor your dentist needs to put in, the brand of ceramic braces you are using, among other factors.
While ceramic braces may be the more expensive option, they do tend to work faster than other invisible braces, like clear aligners or lingual braces. They also have the massive advantage of being less noticeable than traditional metal braces. So if you have the extra buck to spend, ceramic braces are well worth your money.
There are several different payment methods you can use to either relieve the burden of the expenditure or get a discount if possible. The following are some options you can consider:
Check to see if your insurance plan will cover the procedure. You may want to look under health insurance or dental insurance to see if you can get some respite from the expense. There are two things involved here — first, check if your insurance covers ceramic braces; second, check if your doctor or the dental practice you are consulting accepts your insurance. Typically, if you have dental insurance, it should cover your ceramic braces the same way it would cover traditional metallic braces. Even if your insurance can cover 20-30% of the costs, that would reduce your out-of-pocket expenditure by a fair bit.
You can come to an arrangement with your doctor to pay on a monthly installment basis. If you are expected to pay the whole amount upfront, it may put too much pressure on your monthly budget. Since the dental treatment will last at least a few months or even a year or two, you can pay a stipulated amount every month over a course of 24 months or 36 months, for example. This is a better arrangement as you will not feel the pinch of the expense all at once. Of course, whether this arrangement is workable or not will depend on your doctor. Feel free to ask your doctor or the dental practice what other payment options they offer.
A finance savings account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) are ways to pay for a dental procedure like this in a tax-free way. Check with your employer about an FSA as this type of account will be managed by your employer, though not everybody offers an FSA. There is a stipulated amount up to which you can save money, tax-free, in such an account. The account also covers certain expenses, including medical and dental treatment.
An HSA is another type of payment method you can try. This is an account you will be handling by yourself and can save money in without having to pay tax on it. Check with your dentist to see if this is a mode of payment they accept. You can either transfer the money directly from this account or pay up front and seek reimbursement from the account.
What is the Treatment Time?
The treatment time, again, depends on the amount of work required. It could range from a few months to a year or two, depending on how much correction is needed. Your doctor will be able to determine this only after carrying out scans and making a concise plan.
Ceramic braces may take slightly longer to take effect than metal braces because of the difference in material and the pressure it can manage to exert. In the end, however, the duration is dictated by the issues that need to be treated.
How Much Maintenance do They Require?
Ceramic braces are either transparent or the same color as your teeth. While they are meant to be stain-proof, that does not mean you do not need to put in the effort to keep them clean. If you neglect to care for your braces, there is a good chance they will start staining and the whole purpose of getting more discreet looking braces will be defeated. The elastics that hold the braces together have the greatest tendency to get discolored so you will have to be careful about what you eat. Pigmented foods like curries, sauce, certain berries, etc., can leave stains on the ligatures.
Even pigmented drinks like tea and coffee will leave stains on the ligatures. There is not much you can do to prevent the ligatures from getting discolored other than avoiding certain kinds of food. If they do get stained, your doctor can always put in place new ones when you go to have your braces tightened.
You will also need to brush your teeth twice a day and floss with an interdental brush which will allow you to clean the ceramic brackets too. Alternately, you can use an orthodontic floss threader.
How Frequently Do You Need to Visit the Dentist?
The frequency of your visits to the dentist begins on the severity of the treatment. With most types of ceramic braces, you will need to go in every now and then to have the braces tightened and the ligatures changed if they need to be. There are some brands, however, that offer self-ligating braces.
Damon Tie-Less Braces
Damon tie-less braces are self-ligating, meaning that they do not require the tiny elastics that regular braces do. You do not need to keep visiting the dentist to have your braces tightened. This also means that this type of braces work more gently on your teeth and eliminate the discomfort you feel after your braces have been freshly tightened. These self-tightening braces work at their own pace and give you the comfort few other braces can.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Braces
Now that the features and qualities of ceramic braces have been discussed, you would be in a more informed position to weigh the pros and cons of this particular type of braces. The following is a brief analysis of the advantages and the drawbacks of ceramic braces:
What it Does Right
- Appearance: One of the biggest factors going in favor of ceramic braces is the fact that they are barely noticeable. They blend in perfectly with your teeth and are therefore a much better option than traditional metallic braces. You no longer have to feel self-conscious about smiling or speaking with metal wires in your mouth. Ceramic braces are practically invisible.
- Comfort: Ceramic braces tend to be more comfortable than traditional metallic braces as the material exerts less pressure on the teeth and the crowns. If you choose to go with self-ligating clear braces, you do not need to go through the ordeal of having your braces tightened and feeling the sensitivity for days after. They are strong and durable but do not cause as much pain as metallic braces might.
- Less Pricey Than Other Invisible Braces: If aesthetics are your main concern, then ceramic braces may be less expensive than other invisible braces. They definitely cost less money than lingual braces, which are cemented into the back of your teeth instead of in the front. Lingual braces are barely discernible but require specialization to put in place and are therefore a fairly expensive option.
Room for Improvement
- Limited Effectiveness: A ceramic pair of braces are not effective on all kinds of orthodontic issues. If you are suffering from overcrowding or if you have severe misalignment, traditional metal braces are a better option than ceramic braces. This means that the doctor will have to judge the severity of your dental issue and ceramic braces may not necessarily be the option they prescribe.
- Cost: Since the material ceramic braces utilize are more expensive, the whole device costs more than traditional metal braces. As described earlier, if traditional metal braces cost between $3,000 and $7,000, ceramic braces can cost between $4,000 and $8,000.
- Maintenance: If the braces are not maintained properly, there is a chance that the brackets and the ligatures will become discolored. This defeats the whole purpose of getting ceramic braces as the stained braces will become even more apparent. So you need to be even more careful with what you eat as ceramic braces are more porous than the traditional metal braces.
Ceramic braces are a great, aesthetically sound and comfortable device that will help you get the perfect smile and allow you to enjoy food the way it should be. Not only will you be more confident once the braces have done their job, but even while you have the braces on, you have no reason to feel conscious, thanks to their hardly noticeable appearance.
There are a few shortcomings the braces have, sure, but if the pros outweigh the cons for you and your doctor finds that your dental issues can easily be corrected with ceramic braces, it is a great option that you should consider.