Have you ever smiled for a holiday photo with your mouth closed to avoid revealing your crooked teeth? Have you ever been self-conscious about public speaking because of your teeth? If this sounds familiar to you, the dedicated orthodontic experts at The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC can help. While there are several teeth-straightening options available, today we’d like to talk about ceramic braces. Let’s get started.
What Are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic braces, also known as clear braces, are similar to metal braces in shape and size. However, they are invisible from a distance and work faster than clear aligners, such as Invisalign. But these aren’t the only benefits of clear braces. There are also several misconceptions about these orthodontic tools. Are you ready to learn more?
Do Clear Braces Take Longer?
One of the most common questions we get about clear braces is do they take longer? The short answer is yes and no. Clear aligners take at least 12 months longer to straighten mild-to-moderate misaligned teeth than clear braces. Clear braces take the same amount of time to treat orthodontic issues as metal braces.
The only time clear braces take longer to treat orthodontic issues than metal braces is when the clear braces are of poor quality. The pressure of your teeth aligning can cause low-quality ceramic brackets to crack. If there is an extended period between the brackets breaking and being fixed, clear braces can take longer to work than metal braces.
When deciding if braces are right for you, it’s important to remember that chips and cracks happen with both ceramic and metal braces. If you play a contact sport, a clear aligner may be better for you.
What Colors Can I Choose From?
One thing people love about ceramic braces that they can’t get from metal braces is the color options available. The brackets that adhere to your teeth come in white and various shades of off-white to match your teeth so they’re invisible from a distance. The archwires that curve around your teeth and connect the brackets together can be found in silver, white or frosted to camouflage with the light-colored brackets.
The best part is the elastic bands. These bands attach to the hooks on the brackets and keep the archwires in place. These come in nearly every color you can imagine. Most adults choose flesh-tone colors to blend in with their gums. But you can be as creative as you want with these bands. If you pick cerulean this month and change your mind, during your follow-up appointment you can pick periwinkle or lavender. The sky’s the limit with elastic bands.
Do They Stain?
One of the most common concerns we hear about clear braces is staining. Like metal brackets, clear brackets are very hard to stain. However, we’d like to discuss some helpful tips for keeping the elastic ties that connect them to the wire from staining.
Keep It Clean
First, brush and floss after every meal and snack. Flossing prevents food residue from lingering on the ties and staining them with time. If you’re having trouble flossing, ask us about a platypus flosser to make life easier on you.
Avoid the Stain Culprits
Limit your consumption of foods and drinks that are known for staining or discoloring teeth. Such offenders include tomatoes, caffeinated beverages, red wine, soda and condiments like mustard and ketchup. If it can stain your teeth, it can stain your bracket ties.
Do not smoke. If you do not practice diligent oral hygiene, nicotine can leave yellowish stains on your teeth and bracket ties. If you smoke regularly, it can even stain the brackets themselves.
Keep Away From Whiteners
Avoid whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash and whitening treatments. Whitening agents will make the exposed tooth surface whiter than the underlying tooth, giving the appearance of staining.
Finally, come in and see us. If your oral hygiene hasn’t been quite up to snuff, we can replace stained bracket ties and brackets.
Advantages of Ceramic Braces
One of the most common complaints we hear about metal braces is the metal braces irritate your gums and cheeks, causing painful inflammation. When people who have worn both metal and ceramic braces review them, ceramic braces are the clear winner and far more gentle on the cheeks and gums.
You may have avoided getting braces as a child or teen because you were embarrassed by the idea of visible metal. The great thing about clear braces is they can be color-matched to blend in with your teeth. If you’re giving a public speech, big office presentation or smiling for your badge at your new job, nobody will be able to tell that you’re wearing braces.
There is a common misconception that clear braces are less durable than metal braces. Many people worry that they will have to replace their braces before their proper alignment is achieved because ceramic is “flimsy.” Luckily, this isn’t the case. At The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC, our clear braces are difficult to damage and last throughout your entire treatment.
If you’re worried about people seeing your orthodontic tools, you may have considered clear aligners. Unfortunately, these options take far longer to achieve the desired effect, cost more upfront and often need to be replaced several times before you can enjoy your final results. Clear braces work faster and cost less than clear aligners.
More Accurate Diagnostic Imaging
Clear braces have a distinct advantage over metal braces in that they do not disrupt signals during x-rays. X-rays and other diagnostic imaging are important to the teeth alignment process so we can track your progress and judge if any adjustments need to be made. If you need braces because you suffer from severe malocclusion, we strongly recommend that you opt for clear braces.
Frequently Asked Questions About Clear Braces
1. What Can I Expect During My First Visit?
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet our staff and have all your questions answered. Once you have an idea about what you want, we will determine the best orthodontic tool to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. After that, we’ll give you a quote so you have an idea of how much treatment will cost. Finally, we will X-ray your mouth and schedule an appointment to put your braces in.
2. Is Invisalign Right for Me?
While Invisalign may be better known than clear braces as a subtle alignment option, it’s not necessarily the best one. Invisalign may be right for you if you are involved in contact sports that may chip or crack the brackets of your braces. However, invisible aligners are best for mild cases of misalignment. If you suffer from a severe underbite, overbite or malocclusion, braces are your only option.
3. How Long Does It Take to Apply Braces?
How much time should be allotted for applying braces varies on a case-by-case basis. However, in most cases, it only takes between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half hours to install braces.
4. Can I Play Lacrosse With Braces?
You can absolutely play lacrosse and other contact sports while wearing braces! To protect your brackets from damage, be sure to wear an orthodontic mouth guard.
5. Can I Still Eat Popcorn?
Unfortunately, you’ll need to limit your consumption of certain foods. These include gooey, sticky, hard and crunchy foods. You can still munch on celery and chew sugar-free gum, but try to eat foods that won’t cause your brackets to come loose.
6. What If My Brackets Come Loose?
If a bracket comes off, whether it’s from a sports injury or eating too many hard candies, come in for a follow-up appointment. We will attach another one. Just remember that while your brackets aren’t in, they’re not working. The longer you wait to replace the missing bracket, the longer your treatment will take.
Am I a Good Candidate for Ceramic Braces?
Many people look at their smile in the mirror or a photograph and wonder if they need braces at all. Am I too old for braces, they ask themselves. Is my orthodontic issue too mild?
The best candidate for clear braces has all of their adult teeth in and, for the most part, their teeth are done growing. This allows for the fastest results and eliminates the risk of brackets breaking due to drastic tooth movement. Clear braces are ideal for adults who are attending college or working a white-collar job and do not want classmates or coworkers to notice their braces. If you want the perfect union of subtlety and efficiency, you can’t do any better than durable, tooth-colored braces.
Call Us Today to Get the Smile You’ve Always Dreamed Of
We are confident that you will find no better office in the Triangle to address your cosmetic dentistry concerns, so contact The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC today to find out of this is right for you. If you’re considering ceramic braces, traditional braces or another alternative to correct the alignment of your teeth, our dedicated orthodontic experts can help you gain confidence you never thought possible.