Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

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Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#1 Post by jamierm »

Hey Everyone!

I am 23 and getting braces next month.

I am already a little embarrassed about being an adult with braces, and working in the public sector does not make things much better.

When I first saw ceramic braces, I knew that's what I wanted. However, after much research I am hearing mixed reviews on ceramic braces.

To clarify, I would be getting "self-ligating" ceramic braces.

If anyone could speak of their experience with these braces that would be wonderful.

Thank you.

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#2 Post by Prometheus »

Welcome jamierm! Your question is a perennial one, you will find lots of opinions on this board. I had Damon brand self ligating braces for three years, ceramic ones on the top and metal on the bottom, making a comparison easy. If you have bite problems, particularly an overbite, your ortho will likely insist on using metal brackets on your bottom arch, the metal ones are less likely to break. The pros and cons of ceramic brackets as I saw them:


1. They are more discreet. In photos they are not noticeable when you smile at a distance of 10 feet or more.
2. They seem to work just as well as the metal ones in moving teeth.


1. They are twice the size of the metal ones. They are bulky and it took me 2-3 months to get used to them, I could not get my upper lip to close over them for some time. I nearly had them replaced with metal because of that, but eventually I got used to them.
2. They are not invisible, people do notice them and sometimes stare trying to figure out what is on your teeth. This seemed to occur with some regularity in my case. With the metal ones, there is little doubt you have braces.
3. They trap food more than the smaller and smoother metal ones, so it's more work to clean them.

Aside from the functional requirements dictated by your orthodontist, there isn't much difference, it is mostly a personal choice. I work in a profession where I have to speak publicly a lot and was initially concerned how I would be perceived with braces. As most people here will tell you, no one cares, so it makes little difference whether you choose ceramic or metal.

Lower braces on March 11, 2015, upper braces added July 14, 2015.
Damon, metal bottom / clear top.
Braces off March 26, 2018: Total time in braces: 3 years, 2 weeks and 1 day.
Hawley retainers top and bottom.

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#3 Post by djspeece »

I had the same experience and configuration as Prometheus and agree with his/her perspective -- especially with the bulkiness of the ceramic brackets. I lived to tell about it though! I'm not sure if I would elect to have all metal brackets or not if I had to do it all again, but suspect I would. Best of luck to you.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. -- Buddist saying

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#4 Post by SinkFullOfDinner »

Hi - As with many things, it's a personal preference. I've had mostly ceramic (In-ovation C) and a few metal brackets and don't really notice much of a difference between them. Below is a comparison I found, so you have actual measurements if you want. The "depth" (how far they stick out from the tooth) is what I think most people think of when they're talking about "bulky" or not. I'd heard people talk about Damon Clear being bulky, and it does look like it has a deeper profile than the Damon metal or the In-Ovation self-ligating ceramic, but we're talking hundredths of an inch.

Damon Q .081"
Damon 3MX .098"
In-Ovation C .093"

Personally, doing ceramics instead of metal was important to me, but again it's personal preference. I probably would have chosen ceramics as long as they were smaller than sugar cubes!

If you're really on the fence, one option (especially if there's no cost difference) might be to choose the ceramics, and if you decide after a few months that the dimensions are bothering you, switch to metal. I know it feels like a forever-decision, but it's really not. It seems that many orthos are more than willing to switch ceramic to metal, but less so in going the other direction. Ask yours if this would be an option. Also, I think the issue of aesthetics is most important during the initial months, and a lot of people care less about bracket type if they decide to switch to metal later.

Good luck. You'll be fine with whatever you choose.

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#5 Post by Mpkh »

I had self ligating ceramic brackets for the social 6 (top arch, canine to canine), and self ligating metal brackets for the rest. My orthodontist didn’t charge extra for the ceramic brackets, and I figured, why not and went ahead with it. I originally had chosen all metal.

Honestly, I personally don’t think ceramic brackets hide anything. They’re a little less conspicuous when seen from afar, but it’s still quite obvious there’s something on your teeth. People will know you’re wearing braces when you’re talking to them. Ceramic brackets can also break easier than metal ones—I’ve never broken any brackets during my 22 month stint in braces, but one of my ceramic brackets did break immediately after an adjustment due to the force applied by the wire and elastic set up. Ceramic brackets also are more difficult to remove and they do shatter upon removal. All of my metal brackets snapped off easily on debracing, but the tech had trouble with completely removing the ceramic brackets (the one on my top left lateral incisor was stubborn—the orthodontist had to file away the remainder of the bracket!).

All in all though, ceramic brackets are mainly for aesthetics, and I quickly found out that they do not conceal the fact you’re in braces.
Braced: April 07, 2017
Debraced: February 08, 2019
Sentence: 18-24 months
Actual time in braces: 22 months and 1 day
Reason: Straighten teeth, correct crossbite and edge-to-edge bite

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#6 Post by Nozzelnut »

They're less noticeable; not invisible. No one else really cares about your teeth; even though you might feel they do. You're doing something to improve yourself; you might convince others (or give them the confidence) to stop putting that off for themselves. I can't count the number of times when I had braces someone said "I always wanted to get braces but never did..." When I saw them a few months later they'd show me their attachments or their braces...
Round 3 (lifetime) Damon stainless applied 3/16/20 (after 4 weeks attempting invisalign)
Upper ceramics 5/21/14, Lower stainless 5/28/14
Double jaw surgery was 6/18/15. Estimated time Jan 2016; still on at my 2 year anniversary...
Braces removed 7/20/18; upper and lower Hawley and Essix retainers with bonded lower too.
I'm emphatically against extraction orthodontics!

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Re: Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

#7 Post by Steph30 »

I think if I was to do braces again I'd choose all metal - ceramic are slightly less noticeable but make my teeth look more discolored than they actually are! Which makes me very self conscious. - Once I had braces for about a month it did not bother me at all that I actually HAD braces.. but the looking discolored does bother me.

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