Braced For Impact: Choosing Ceramic Braces For Orthodontic Correction In Older People

Posted on: 12 May 2016


The idea of wearing braces as an adult can be an embarrassing one, putting many people off having orthodontic treatment that could significantly their oral health and quality of life. However, adults who wear braces do not necessarily have to endure the unsightly metal equipment that most brace-wearing children endure -- in many cases, ceramic braces can be used to minimise visual impact while providing the guidance and readjustment your teeth need.

What are ceramic braces?

Unlike ordinary braces made from dark and highly visible dental amalgam alloys, ceramic braces are designed to blend in with your teeth as much as possible by mimicking the colour of the teeth they are placed on. In some cases, clear ceramics are used to minimise visibility and allow the natural whiteness of the teeth to shine though. However, teeth that have darkened or yellowed with age and abuse tend to make clear braces stand out, so for many older brace wearers tooth-coloured ceramics are used instead.

When high-quality ceramic braces are fitted well, they can practically invisible without close inspection, so naturally many adult brace wearers choose them over standard amalgam braces. Ceramic braces can outperform conventional braces in other ways too. Unfortunately, there are also a few disadvantages and risks associated with ceramic braces, so consult with your dentist and assess your needs before deciding which braces are right for you.

What are the advantages of ceramic braces?

  • Visibility: As previously mentioned, ceramic braces are either transparent or mimic the shade of your teeth to minimise their visibility. While various shades of ceramics are available 'off the rack', people who choose coloured ceramics can also choose to have their teeth scanned to provide an exact colour match.
  • Irritation: While ordinary dental amalgam is a very unreactive material, ceramics are almost entirely inert, and do not suffer adverse reactions to any of the chemicals present in the mouth. As such, the risk of initial irritation caused by brace installation is minimised.
  • Durability: Early ceramic braces were often poorly made and became damaged easily, putting many older dental patients off. However, advances in ceramic manufacture mean that modern ceramic braces are extremely tough, and are capable of taking as much abuse as regular braces.

What are the disadvantages?

  • Staining: Again, modern ceramics have been developed to tackle this problem, but ceramic braces can still become stained if not cleaned and cared for regularly. In addition, surface damage can cause very visible staining, as the porous material under the surface glaze of the ceramic stains very easily when unprotected. You should also expect the elastic ligatures that apply pressure to the teeth to stain after extended use, although these can be easily changed by your dentist during inspections and adjustments.
  • Brittleness: While modern ceramics are remarkably durable, they are also very inflexible, and intense lateral pressure placed on the braces can cause them to snap or shatter suddenly. For this reason adults who require extensive dental work are often discouraged from choosing ceramic braces, as they can easily become damaged during more invasive procedures.
  • Metal components: Ceramic braces are never entirely ceramic, and the arch wire that runs across the surface of your teeth needs to be made of metal to provide the required flexibility. However, this wire can be coloured white or silver to reduce its visibility.

For more information, contact Perfect Smiles Orthodontics or a similar location.