Metal or Ceramic?

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Metal or Ceramic?

#1 Post by lildropofsunshine »

I'm getting braces in about a month and a half, and I'm trying to decide whether I should get metal or clear.

I've heard conflicting things about clear -- some people say that it's just as good as metal with the only real difference being the color, and others say that they're not because they don't move teeth as well, they're expensive, stain and not as strong/chip easily and more.

Which is true?

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#2 Post by desertd »

Just got full metal braces, with colored bands, 5 days ago and seriously, nobody notices. Cheaper and from what I read faster too. :tingrin:
Metal Damon braces on 3/27/2019 - Sentence 24-30 months - Class II overbite, crossbite. My story: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=54263

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#3 Post by r1r1r12000 »

I have full metal. DesertD is right; nobody notices. I would choose metal if I were starting treatment again.

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#4 Post by assertives »

I have full metal. No regrets. No one cares or even noticed I had them. Also, the ceramic ones are a little bulkier in profile, so that's something to take into consideration as well. I had a coworker who had ceramics for the top and metal for the bottom. She told me if she had to do it again, she would choose all metal because they work faster.

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#5 Post by lildropofsunshine »

Does anyone have a source with empirical evidence? Because what you guys are saying is exactly where the conflicting views come from since people on both sides will usually argue for their side.

I'm sure no one cares (except me of course), but I also know that people would notice - at least I would notice right away if someone I knew got braces. Maybe because I judge peoples teeth/mouths all the time...but it's not something that's exactly inconspicuous anyway. Plus, I have absolutely no desire to look any younger than I already do. I'm 28 and I get as young as 18 all the time, and I hate it! Also, while clear braces are still definitely noticeable, I feel like they don't really give the teenager look that metal ones often do.

And, in my case, clear braces wouldn't cost me any extra. Where I live, braces are braces when it comes to cost. Even Invisalign isn't any more expensive. I can't tell you why, but it's the case.

What I know for sure is that I want top and bottom to if I can't have the clear ones on bottom, I'll most likely get full metal.

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#6 Post by SinkFullOfDinner »

Hi -
Thread bomb alert! I hope it's helpful. You can find studies for almost any aspect if you’re willing to look hard enough. I researched some of the differences beforehand and got information from my ortho as well. I’ll summarize what I remember and what I experienced below. I’ve had both (mostly ceramic, but metal on the lowers ones other than front four). People who’ve had full ceramic top and full metal bottom would be good data points if you get a reply. Importantly, when you mention that everyone seems to advocate for whichever they have, it just means that most people wind up happy with whatever they chose, so you’ll be fine with whichever type you choose.

Size: Ceramic brackets are slightly larger. You can find measurements online for your ortho's lineup, but here's an AW link with some comparisons of bracket depth size viewtopic.php?f=13&t=54211&p=506861#p506861. The differences are in hundredths of an inch. Some people can feel the difference, but I couldn’t. Either way, when they first go on, they feel absolutely, freaking ginormous! So don’t panic.

Staining: Many, many years ago, the ceramic materials they used could stain. That hasn’t been a thing for a while. However, elastic ligatures and powerchains stain (degree depends on color). If you have self-ligating ceramics, you won’t have to deal with ligatures. However, both ceramic and metal wearers deal with the same powerchain staining issues, although a yellow powerchain is more obvious with ceramics. Ask if your ortho allows patients to stop in between appointments for a quick change if you need to remove evidence of last night’s awesome curry before that big presentation or hot date.

Strength: Metal is stronger, but how flippin’ strong is strong enough? If a ceramic bracket chips (mine never did) or pops off (I had one of each pop off), it just gets replaced. I imagine if you’re a professional boxer or play full-contact trumpet, you might need the extra durability of metal, but I’ve never seen a post from someone who switched to metal because their ceramics weren’t strong enough. One thing to note, however, is ceramic material is harder than your tooth enamel and will chip your teeth if you’re biting on them. Your ortho will use molar buildups or bite turbos to prevent your anterior teeth from contacting brackets regardless of bracket type. Mine also occasionally used an elastic “bumper” ligature if the issue was only one tooth.

Debonding: Metal brackets debond easier. Ceramic will often break into pieces when removed and then require a little more time to buff off. To me, the difference is a couple extra minutes out of a couple years, but there is a difference. Maybe more of an issue if you have super sensitive teeth.

Speed: My ortho said there’s an almost negligible difference in friction between the metal archwire and the ceramic slot for certain movements (“sliding mechanics”), although some ceramic brackets have metal-lined slots. Estimated treatment time doesn't change if you choose one bracket material or the other. He said it doesn't matter.

Cost: Some orthos charge more for ceramic. Your doesn't. Same with mine. But for some, there's a difference.

When it’s all said and done, it’s mostly about appearance and personal preference. If you like (or don’t care about) the look of the metal brackets, then that’s probably your best call. If you prefer the look of ceramic, then go with that. I preferred the aesthetics of ceramic, but that was just for me. Up close and conversational distance, all braces are noticeable. But from a little further away and often in photos, there’s more of a difference….if you care. To repeat the earlier comment, it seems that most people advocate for what they have, so you’ll be fine with whatever you choose…once you get past the inevitable “what have I done!” Good luck!

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#7 Post by lildropofsunshine »

^Thank you for the very well thought out and detailed reply! I wish I knew what type (brand) my ortho uses, but I don't...

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Re: Metal or Ceramic?

#8 Post by Nozzelnut »

I had several ceramic brackets crack and chip during my treatment. I never had a stainless bracket fail. The little tabs ligatures go around seem to be the weak point. The ortho can put more pressure on the bracket (tooth) without the risk of failure of the bracket itself when using metal.

If I had to do it again; I'd save some time with all metal.
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: Metal or Ceramic?

#9 Post by clh5086 »

I have ceramic but sometimes I wish I had gotten metal. Metal seems smaller and I like the look better. I get colored powerchains and ligatures so I don't care to try to make them "invisible"

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