woman with white braces smiling

Are White Braces Right For You?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Braces sometimes get a bad rap, especially with adult patients. Traditional metal braces are prominent, which may make you feel self-conscious about your smile for the duration of treatment.

Today's options for braces are more expansive than they may have been in your youth. White braces made from ceramic material blend in with your teeth so they're less obvious. Understanding more about ceramic braces may help you choose the braces right for you and your lifestyle.

What Are Ceramic Braces?

Traditional braces are made from metal, attached to the teeth and secured with small elastic bands. The bands come in a variety of colors. Patients can choose white elastics for a more subtle look or opt for brightly colored bands; however, the metal remains highly visible.

White braces, on the other hand, are made of ceramic, so the only metal visible is the wire between teeth. The actual brackets that adhere to your teeth are white, making them less noticeable. Ceramic braces can help the wearer feel more confident in their smile throughout treatment. They may even entice reluctant patients to get braces if they were concerned about having a mouth full of metal.

Ceramic Braces vs. Metal Braces

While ceramic braces might be a better choice for some patients, picking white braces over traditional metal brackets isn't just a matter of color. Both have their pros and cons, so you'll need to talk to your orthodontist about which is right for you.

Ceramic braces tend to be pricier than metal braces, so they could be cost-prohibitive for some patients. Moreover, metal braces tolerate more pressure and shifting than ceramic ones, so if you require a lot of correction, your orthodontist may recommend choosing metal to avoid appliance breakage. If you do break a bracket or damage your braces, ceramic braces are more expensive to repair. You'll need to weigh the importance of subtler braces against the costs.

Caring for Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces can boost your confidence during treatment, but they can become discolored over time. Anything that could stain your natural teeth could stain white braces, so be careful when consuming drinks like red wine, coffee or tea and foods like tomato sauce or curry.

Just as with traditional braces, you'll also want to avoid sticky or hard foods that could get stuck on your wires or break a bracket. Brushing after every meal can prevent decay and stains, but avoid teeth-whitening treatments. They won't work on ceramic braces and could damage the material or leave it discolored, writes Healthfully.

The American Association of Orthodontists notes that the average treatment period for braces is 22 months. If metal braces make you self-conscious, that might sound like a long time. White braces make the process less noticeable, making them a great choice for adult treatment (or reluctant kids and teens). Talking to your orthodontist about your options and treatment plan can help you decide if ceramic braces are right for you.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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