Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces: Cost, Pros & Cons, Pictures, FAQs

Orthodontic Patient with Ceramic Braces

What are Ceramic Braces?

Ceramic braces, also called clear braces, use clear or tooth-colored brackets made of polycrystalline alumina that blend in with the teeth, making them subtler and less noticeable than metal braces. The connecting wire can also be tooth-colored to further decrease the visibility of ceramic braces. Ceramic braces are often preferred over metal braces by older teens and working professional adults who want to straighten their teeth without the appearance of metal braces. They tend to stain more easily, due to the lighter color of the brackets, so avoiding dark beverages like coffee and red wine is important. In addition, they generally cost more than traditional metal braces, usually between $4,000 and $7,000.
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How Much Do Ceramic Braces Cost?

When all costs are calculated, including pre-treatment x-rays, office visits, and retainers, ceramic braces generally cost between $4,000 and $7,000. This is a higher cost than traditional metal braces, which run between $1,700 to $6,000. They are generally less than the cost of Invisalign clear aligners, another discreet orthodontic treatment. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get your ceramic braces covered, at least partially. Due to higher costs than metal braces, the out-of-pocket expenses will likely also be higher when compared to traditional metal braces. Finally, seek an orthodontic provider that offers flexible monthly payment plans, which make paying for ceramic or clear braces much more manageable by breaking payments into low monthly portions. In sum: ceramic braces tend to cost a bit more than traditional metal braces, but less than Invisalign clear aligners. If you’re looking to straighten your teeth discreetly and with minimal disruption to your smile, ceramic braces may be worth the higher price point.
Clear or Ceramic Braces on a Model

Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces

Ceramic braces and metal braces use a similar design to achieve straight teeth and a healthy smile, but the major difference is the material the brackets are made from.

Metal braces use brackets made of medical-grade stainless steel, while ceramic braces use polycrystalline alumina that can either be clear or the same color as your tooth. The stainless steel is extremely noticeable against the white of your teeth, so ceramic brackets are appealing for their discreet appearance. They are also called clear braces since the brackets can be transparent.

Other Differences Between Ceramic and Metal Braces

To summarize: the biggest advantage of ceramic/clear braces is the discreet, subtle appearance, as they blend in seamlessly with your smile. While there are certain disadvantages that may make metal braces more attractive, for many people, this cosmetic feature is the most important, so ceramic braces are a clear choice!

What Are The Differences Between Ceramic Braces and Metal Braces?

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Ceramic Braces Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Discreet clear or tooth-colored brackets are nearly invisible to others
  • Same effective, reliable technology as metal braces
  • Increased confidence from improved smile without the “metal mouth” look
  • Lower cost than Invisalign clear aligners for a similarly discreet look
  • May be more comfortable than metal braces, smoother feel of brackets

Cons

  • More delicate and more likely to break than metal brackets
  • Higher cost than metal braces
  • More likely to stain due to lighter colored brackets
  • May cause damage to the top teeth when worn on the bottom teeth

What Conditions Do Ceramic Braces Treat?

Ceramic braces use the same technology as metal braces: the clear or tooth-colored brackets are affixed to the teeth, connected by a flexible archwire. Your orthodontist will carefully re-align the teeth into their proper positions by tightening and adjusting the wire. There are many different kinds of orthodontic conditions that can be corrected with ceramic braces: these are called malocclusions. Each one requires careful planning and expertise to treat, so be sure to seek out an expert orthodontist with a demonstrated record of success achieving healthy smiles. Common malocclusions treatable with ceramic braces include excessive overjet, overbite, gaps between teeth, crossbite, or crowded teeth. Remember that treatment may take longer with ceramic or clear braces, due to the delicate material used in the brackets, but you can expect reliable results with ceramic braces, under the supervision of an experienced orthodontist.
Clear Braces Before Bonding at Orthodontist

Who should get ceramic braces?

If you are interested in straightening your teeth but don’t want the look of metal braces, ceramic braces are a great option. They are preferable to metal braces for many older teens and adults, who want a discreet orthodontic option.

For working professionals or college students, ceramic or clear braces provide all the effectiveness of metal braces, without the “metal mouth” appearance that we often attribute to younger teens.

Because ceramic braces stain more easily, they are best for those responsible enough to avoid certain foods and beverages and care for their braces properly. And due to their higher price point, those interested in ceramic braces should consider whether it is worth the cost for the benefit of discreet treatment.

Ceramic or clear braces aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for reliable, effective orthodontic care that discreetly blends with your smile, they are likely an excellent choice for you!

Examples of Ceramic Braces