Often, braces are looked at as a teenage rite of passage, but if you have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, braces are usually the best treatment option available regardless of how old you are. This treatment has come a long way over the years, and the development of ceramic braces has changed the way many patients view the treatment. If the appearance of your teeth or bite makes you feel self-conscious, call us at The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC today to discuss your options.
What Are Ceramic Braces?
Ceramic braces are similar to traditional metal braces but offer a few unique benefits that the metal option doesn’t. The most obvious difference involves the material the braces are made of. Instead of using traditional metal brackets, these are made of ceramic, clear, or tooth-colored material, greatly reducing the prominence of their appearance on your teeth.
How Are They Used?
Much like with traditional metal braces, brackets will be attached to the teeth, and then an archwire is placed within them and held in place with elastic. The treatment works to align your teeth as the wires are slowly tightened over time.
What Are Some Common Reasons to Get Braces?
A lot of people who get braces do so to correct misaligned teeth. Doing so often provides a significant increase in their self-confidence and self-esteem, which is reason enough to get braces. However, there are a lot of other common conditions that can be corrected through treatment with braces.
When someone is suffering from an orthodontic problem (malocclusion), it’s often because their jaws don’t fit together properly. Malocclusions are not at all uncommon and can be corrected through orthodontic care. Below is a list of common malocclusions that can be corrected with ceramic braces:
Class II Bite
When a person has a class II bite, their upper jaw is overgrown, their lower jaw is undergrown, or some combination of the two exist simultaneously. It is one of the most common bite problems and is treated most effectively in younger patients.
Class III Bite
A class III bite is characterized by the lower jaw extending out farther than the upper jaw. If you’re guessing that a class III bite is known as an “underbite,” then you’re correct in your assumption. Underbites can often result in premature tooth wear, and when left untreated, they may grow to a point where surgery is needed to correct the problem.
Some patients don’t have issues with their bite or with the alignment of their teeth. Instead, they suffer from spacing issues which can result from missing teeth, small teeth, or discrepancies in the teeth/jaws. Treatment with braces can realign your teeth and bring them closer together, eliminating the large gaps or spaces between each tooth.
Crowding is the opposite of spacing, and it occurs when your teeth don’t have enough room to erupt from the gums. For some folks with crowding issues, tooth extractions can be necessary. But, with timely intervention and management, crowding can often be corrected and tooth extraction avoided entirely.
It’s normal to have a slight overbite because your upper teeth are larger than your bottom ones. An excessive overbite, though, can cause the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth, causing tissue damage. Overbites can look similar to a class II bite, though they generally don’t involve underdevelopment of the lower jaw.
Remember how we just said it’s normal to have a slight overbite? Well, some people don’t have an overbite or an underbite and, instead, their teeth do not overlap at all. This is known as an open bite and can result in compromised chewing or speech. Open bites often stem from thumb or finger sucking and can cause issues in the teeth and jaw.
The Advantages of Ceramic Braces
When you choose to go with these braces instead of traditional braces, you’ll be able to enjoy a few key benefits that those who choose other options don’t have.
Benefit #1 They’re More Discreet
The ceramic option is made in the same shape that traditional metal braces are. However, the brackets are small, clear, and nearly invisible, and particularly if you choose to use a colored archwire. The reduced visibility of the brackets offers a more discreet option that’s attractive to many potential patients because they tend to look better both in person and in photos.
Benefit #2 They’re Durable
If there’s anything that potential patients get wrong about ceramic, it’s that their braces won’t be as durable as traditional metal ones. While it’s true that metal is generally tougher than ceramic, the design and application process of ceramic braces has been refined over time to ensure the maximum amount of durability. Unless you’re an athlete engaged in contact sports regularly, you won’t have a problem.
Benefit #3 The Arch Wire Can Be Colored to Match Your Teeth
When a patient has braces applied to their teeth, the wire that runs across the middle is known as the archwire. With traditional braces, the archwire is metal, however, when you choose the ceramic option, the archwire can be colored to match your teeth. Doing so allows for an even further reduction in the visibility of your braces, since the archwire and your teeth will now be the same color.
This makes it possible to enhance your smile without the stress of worrying about how your braces are going to make you look in pictures. There are a variety of shades from which you can choose, so no matter what color your teeth are, you’ll be able to find a matching archwire.
Benefit #4 They Don’t Demineralize Your Teeth
The hard, outer surface layer of your teeth is known as the enamel, and it serves to protect you against tooth decay. It’s considered the hardest mineral substance in your body–even stronger than bone–but acids and other substances found in certain foods and substances can attack and soften the surface, compromising the defenses of your teeth and promoting decay.
Thanks to advances in modern technology, you can rest assured that the bonding material used to attach your braces to your teeth will be as strong as possible while being as gentle as can be to your teeth. In decades past, braces were responsible for color changes and the demineralization of the enamel. Now, though, newer materials and methods have been designed to eliminate the problems that previous generations encountered.
Benefit #5 They’re Easy to Remove When Treatment Is Complete
Another benefit of the technological advances in bonding material is that these braces come off easily once your treatment is completed.
Benefit #6 Less Gum Irritation
Metal braces can cause gum irritation in some patients, often due to the wiring that’s used. The ceramic option doesn’t have as many opportunities to cause inflammation in your gums because they’re made with less irritating materials.
Benefit #7 They Won’t Be Noticeable in Pictures
Let’s face it, one of the biggest concerns many patients have when considering braces is how they’re going to look. With clear brackets, you won’t need to worry about how they’re going to affect the way you look in pictures because they won’t be seen. With the addition of a colored archwire to match your teeth, your braces will be virtually invisible in pictures.
Benefit #8 They Can Work Faster Than Invisalign
Invisalign is another popular option among patients with concerns about the visibility of braces on their teeth. For some patients, Invisalign is the perfect solution because they’re only worn for 20 to 22 hours a day and can be removed if needed. However, what makes it great for some patients makes it less than ideal for others.
These braces stay on your teeth 24/7 and are constantly working to correct your teeth and/or bite. Invisalign trays can be lost, forgotten about, or removed too often, resulting in a slower treatment period.
Benefit #9 They’re Comfortable
When it comes to comfort, ceramic is one of the best options available. They use smaller, rounded brackets made of a lighter, less irritating material than traditional metal braces and are therefore far gentler on your teeth, gums, and lips.
Benefit #10 They Can Be Color Customized
While many people are concerned about the appearance of their braces, others choose to embrace it. With these braces, patients can choose to have colorized bands put in between the brackets, providing for added flair and an increased level of individuality and personal style.
Ceramic Braces: Are They Right for You?
Healthy teeth, healthy gums, improved facial structure, and greatly enhanced self-esteem are some of the many benefits you’ll encounter when correcting your teeth with these braces.
Ultimately, the treatment that works best for you will depend on the results you’re hoping to achieve, the timeframe you’re looking for and what you can and cannot live with. If you’d like to take control of your life and vastly increase your self-esteem and self-confidence, call The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC today and ask about ceramic braces or any of our other options.