Ceramic braces, like metal braces, use square brackets cemented to the teeth to hold archwire that slowly repositions them, the main difference being that clear or tooth-coloured brackets are used instead of metal.
The archwire that runs across the teeth is still made of metal, although white wire can be used with ceramic braces to make it less obvious.
Opting for ceramic braces tends to create a less conspicuous look, especially from a distance, although ceramic brackets do feel rougher against the lips and cheeks at first and tend to be more expensive. The ceramic used to make orthodontic brackets is harder than tooth enamel and brackets that touch against teeth can cause heavy wear. For this reason, after examining the patient’s bite and evaluating the way their teeth overlap when the mouth is closed, the orthodontist may decide not offer to place ceramic brackets on the patient’s lower teeth.
Braces work by applying continuous pressure over 12 to 24 months to slowly move teeth in a specific direction and as the teeth move, the jawbone accommodates the new position of the roots. The patient must be closely monitored by their orthodontist over the course of treatment and after treatment has finished to ensure the teeth are being moved correctly and remain in a sustainable position.
Ceramic brackets, which can be clear or tooth-coloured, are small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental bonding agent to act like handles, holding the archwire that moves the teeth. Brackets have tiny elastic bands called ligatures holding the wire which is tightened approximately every six weeks throughout treatment and with ceramic braces the ligatures are white or clear, and they are changed each time the braces are adjusted so staining of the elastic bands is not an issue.
Self-ligating braces – which are also available in clear or tooth-coloured ceramic – don’t require ligatures as the wire is fed directly through the brackets, which often reduces treatment time, discomfort and the number of adjustments needed through the course of treatment.
Modern braces are smaller and less noticeable than the devices most adults remember, especially when tooth-coloured or clear ceramic is used rather than traditional stainless steel.
If you have crooked, crowded or protruding teeth, gaps in your teeth, an overbite or an open bite, book a consultation with a Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic orthodontist who will examine your mouth and discuss whether you could benefit from ceramic braces.