While braces are almost always associated with younger patients, this treatment is growing in popularity with another group: adults. If you fall into this category, we commend you for taking steps to improve your smile. And you now have more options to discreetly receive the treatment you want. For instance, ceramic braces from Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, Inlet Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, correct teeth in a nearly invisible way.
What Are the Advantages of Ceramic Braces?
Let’s start with the most obvious, and that is their much more understated appearance when compared to traditional braces. It’s true they have the same shape as braces made of metal, but their brackets are small and translucent. They are, in fact, designed to take on the color of your teeth so they don’t draw the focus when you talk, smile, and laugh.
Research tells us that people are likely to feel more self-conscious about their teeth than any other physical trait (except weight). This explains why many patients forego orthodontic care; they’re at a crossroads in which they want to improve their oral health but do not want the attention braces often bring. Adults feel especially strongly about this. But ceramic blends function and discretion in a way that’s appropriate for almost all ages.
Shaded Arch Wire
In this same vein, it’s important to know the archwire can also be shaded to match your teeth. This is the piece that connects each bracket along the outside of your teeth. Normally, this metal wire shows prominently each time a patient moves his or her mouth. But with a variety of colors to choose from, including white and frost, the wire blends nicely with your teeth to maintain the ceramic’s subtle appearance.
Colored Bands Allow Personality
While adults commonly want to disguise the fact that they’re wearing braces, younger patients are usually keener to embrace these “accessories.” Colored bands can be incorporated into ceramic braces in a way that creates a truly unique appearance. They can make their mouths pop with bands that color coordinate with outfits, holiday celebrations, seasons, and other special occasions.
They’re Nearly Invisible in Pictures
With the exception of colored bands, ceramic is clear, meaning it won’t show in photos. In today’s age of social media, when everyone is taking selfies, family photos, group photos, and vacation photos, we’re all much more cognizant of our appearances. Ceramic lets you enjoy these occasions without feeling embarrassed or smiling awkwardly to hide your teeth.
Ceramic Is Durable
It’s time to dispel a popular myth that suggests ceramic is weak and fragile. Just the opposite, these high-quality materials are very durable. Years of design refinements have yielded a product that will last the duration of your treatment. You can therefore count on these braces to move your teeth in the way they were designed to do.
Some patients prefer ceramics because they’ve reportedly grown stronger than their metal counterparts. They are now made from composite material and sealed with a strong adhesive and plasma light. This means they won’t chip or break as they did decades ago, and they can be used to address a number of concerns.
Protect Teeth from Demineralization
Although far from common, demineralization has previously been linked to traditional braces. This condition involves a loss of mineral content in tooth enamel often characterized by white spots and an increase in cavities. The primary cause was early bonding agents used to affix braces to the tooth surface; these materials were once weak, messy, and odiferous.
Today’s bonding agents are strong and sturdy without the mess. Ceramic braces employ an especially powerful bonding agent that keeps brackets strictly adhered to teeth. Despite its strength, this material causes minimal changes to enamel so teeth retain their integrity throughout treatment. This means braces stay in place without fear of demineralization.
Easily Removed at the End of Treatment
We know what you’re thinking: if the bonding agent we use is that powerful, it must make the braces removal process pretty difficult. But, again, we rely on technological advances that make ceramic bracket removal much easier than its counterparts. Today’s brackets allow for easy, predictable removal in one piece (or two pieces, if the bracket is so designed) without irritating patients or requiring extensive work from our staff.
Gentle on Soft Tissues
Ceramic braces have long been heralded for their gentle feel in the mouth. Because they contain only a few metal components, they cause far less irritation to cheeks and gums. Most patients reportedly prefer the feel of ceramic, which they describe as soothing when compared to metal. But we must caution that an adjustment period will be required, just as with traditional braces; once you get used to them, you’ll all but forget they’re in place.
Easier to Clean
Metal braces are larger and chunkier in size than ceramic, which requires more diligence when brushing and flossing your teeth. While we’re not saying that ceramic doesn’t require care, we are saying this option generally allows for easier cleaning. Keep in mind ceramic brackets are smaller, so they occupy less of each tooth’s surface.
Work More Quickly Than Plastic Trays
Plastic trays like Invisalign have also grown in popularity because they’re almost as discreet as ceramic braces. The difference is that ceramic works more quickly so you can get out of braces sooner. Trays are removable, with most patients wearing them between 20 and 22 hours a day. Some forget to put them back in after meals, cleaning, or social events. This is convenient but can significantly delay treatment.
Braces, on the other hand, must be worn all day every day, so you never forget to replace them. Patients who fear they may take advantage of the flexibility provided by trays are better off choosing braces.
Little Chance of Staining
When they first hit the treatment scene in the 1980s, ceramic brackets consisted of plastic that easily stained. Today’s options are less susceptible to discoloration, meaning they’ll continue to match the color of your teeth for as long as you wear them. You have to do your part, however, to keep them clean just as you do with metal braces and plastic trays. Brush, floss, and take care of your braces so they continue to look their best.
Care for Your Teeth
Caring for your teeth with braces will be a little different than without, and a few extra adjustments are necessary with ceramic. For example, we recommend you brush your teeth two or three times daily, preferably after every meal to prevent staining. This sound habit washes all the plaque, bacteria, and high-pigmented foods out of your mouth, leaving your braces and teeth fresh and clean.
Flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash is equally important. You should do both after every meal and snack, whenever possible. In addition, using mouthwash in the mornings and evenings will reach the deep recesses and crevices that your toothbrush often misses. A Waterpik that sprays water between the teeth can further improve your routine.
Give up Smoking
You’ve already heard it plenty of times, but smoking is bad for your health. On top of that, it stains your teeth and can also stain ceramic braces and elastic bands. The cumulative effect is a yellow film on the teeth that can penetrate fairly deep and prove difficult to remove. The best thing you can do for your health and appearance is to stop smoking immediately.
Avoid Whitening Toothpaste
Remember that potent bonding agent we spoke of earlier? It once more comes into play where toothpaste is concerned. Specifically, whitening toothpaste that ordinarily seems like a good idea cannot reach behind the brackets on your teeth. This means that once we remove your braces, your teeth may be two different shades. It’s best to stick with non-whitening toothpaste while your braces are on and opt for whitening after treatment is complete.
Honor Your Dental and Orthodontic Appointments
Patients often think they can skip routine dental appointments while wearing braces, but the opposite is true. The best way to maintain your oral health is with regular cleanings. Remember your orthodontic appointments, too, as we’ll use these visits to monitor your progress and periodically adjust your braces.
Know What To Eat and What To Avoid
All braces require some changes to your eating habits. For example, you should avoid crunchy, hard-to-chew, and sticky foods like pretzels, bagels, and taffy. Ceramic braces pose a few additional restrictions, including avoiding sweets. Most of them are colored and can therefore stain your braces. Fizzy and sugary drinks like soda also discolor teeth with continued consumption. It’s best to avoid them altogether or enjoy them in limited amounts with a straw.
Additional restrictions include the following:
- Foods with curry
- Spices like turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper
- Red-colored foods with tomatoes and tomato paste
- Tea and coffee (enjoy both only in moderation)
- Certain fruits like oranges and blackberries that are rich in pigmentation
A Few More Tips
It’s no secret that braces cause some discomfort due to the wires and repeated adjustments. Applying wax to your gums and soft tissues can protect them from pokes, jabs, and chaffing to make treatment more agreeable. Topical pain relievers can also be used. It’s important to know any discomfort associated with adjustments is temporary and will resolve within a day or two as your mouth grows accustomed to its new teeth positions.
If you have a hectic schedule that requires you to spend lengthy periods away from home – such as for work, family-related events, school, and other activities – you still need to make time to care for your mouth. Be prepared to brush and floss by carrying a homemade kit that contains everything you need to use in the restroom. Include floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Also, carry your wax so you can address any concern at any time.
Handle Damage To Your Braces
If something happens to your braces, such as a broken wire or loose bracket, don’t panic. Nor should you try to bend a wire back into place or pull it out. This will only cause more extensive damage. Instead, coat sharp edges in wax and call our office as soon as possible. We’ll get you in for a maintenance appointment and correct the problem at that time.
The Clear Choice
Ceramic braces are more sophisticated for adult patients, less obtrusive for younger patients, and just as strong as their metal counterparts. But they keep attention away from your mouth and instead on you, where it belongs. They can also ease any sense of discomfiture you may feel in having braces. Schedule your consultation today by calling Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, Inlet Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach, FL.