Esthetic Orthodontics 102 - Ceramic
The next step up on the “esthetics” ladder for orthodontic options is to consider ‘clear’ or ceramic brackets. These have traditionally been made out of a variety of tooth colored materials, but the state of the art today is to make these esthetic brackets out of porcelain. Being made out of porcelain means the brackets are strong enough to withstand the rigors of being in a patient’s mouth, and still hold up and deliver the correct forces to the teeth to create the desired change. Porcelain is also very resistant to picking up stains, which of course is important to the esthetically minded patient.
The ceramic brackets that we recommend incorporate a gate to hold the bracket to the wire similar in design to the Speed brackets that we use. This again eliminates the need for using ties which helps with a number of mechanical properties, but also eliminates the staining of the ties. Clear brackets that require ties can be prone to looking bad due to the rubber tie itself staining. Our brackets eliminate this problem by eliminating the rubber tie.
Finally, this photograph shows how we recommend to avoid using ceramic braces on the lower teeth for most patients. First off, the lower teeth just do not show as much; and second, it avoids the risk of chipping the upper front teeth. Although there are some exceptions, usually the upper front teeth have some risk of contacting the lower braces because of the overlap of the upper and lower front teeth. Since ceramic is a much harder material than tooth enamel, there is a risk of chipping the upper front teeth if the ceramic brackets on the lower teeth come into contact with the edges of the upper teeth. Metal brackets do not have this risk as the metal is softer than tooth enamel. This is main reason we almost always recommend metal brackets on the lower teeth.
While improving the esthetics of the orthodontic treatment, ceramic brackets allow us to retain all the functionality and flexibility of orthodontic treatment with braces. We can easily make adjustments along the way and change the treatment as needed. If you are looking for ideal control of the teeth with some improved esthetics over metal braces, then ceramic braces might be the perfect choice for you.