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Does your treatment plan require traditional braces, but you don’t like the look of metal?

Does your treatment plan require traditional braces, but you don’t like the look of metal? Ceramic brackets may work for you!

Ceramic braces offer a less noticeable option than metal brackets while still delivering the tried-and-true reliable results that traditional orthodontics provides.

However, ceramic brackets present a small challenge when compared to their stainless steel counterparts. They are more prone to chipping and breakage, and they can stain easily if not cared for properly.

Some patients also opt for clear wires to make their braces even less noticeable. But these, like ceramic brackets, can stain and break down faster than traditional metal wires.

Here are a few tips to help care for your ceramic braces:

• Be diligent about post-meal brushing. Sometimes it’s tempting to skip a quick post-snack brush. But ceramic braces are more easily stained, and a dingy smile just a few months into treatment can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Brush your teeth after each meal, and not only keep those brackets white, but reduce your risk of tooth decay sneaking into those hard to reach spots.

• Floss, rinse, and floss some more! With all the shifting during treatment, it’s easy for food particles to get stuck in between tight teeth and in the nooks and crannies of brackets, wires, and the little O-rings that hold the wire to the bracket. Being diligent about flossing AND using a fluoridated mouth rinse will help keep decay at bay and reduce staining.
• Quit smoking! This is important for anyone who still smokes. Decades of research shows the danger of smoking not only to smokers themselves, but to family friends, and even pets who live with them. Quitting is hard, but it’s worth every try.
• If you notice some staining, you may be tempted to use a whitening toothpaste. Don’t. The ceramics won’t lighten, and the whitening agents in the toothpaste may microscopically scratch the ceramic material making it more prone to stains. After your braces come off, you may end up with dark spots where the brackets were cemented to your teeth.
• Avoid foods that stain easily. A quick way to remember this is to ask yourself, “Would this stain a white shirt?” If the answer is yes, then it may be wise to skip that food or limit how much you eat. Wine, ketchup, coffee, and other acidic foods can stain your brackets and wires.
• Keep your professional cleaning schedule. Some patients think they can skip visits to their regular dentist when they are in orthodontic treatment, but this isn’t true! Regular professional cleanings can help reduce staining and detect problems before they happen. Some orthodontic patients even benefit from a shorter recall schedule of every 3-4 months.

• It’s also important to remember that while the ceramic material is strong enough to withstand most forces, it is not as strong as metal braces. Should a bracket or wire chip or break, don’t panic. If the tooth itself is intact, simply put orthodontic wax over the broken bracket or wire to make yourself comfortable and call our office.
Ceramics can be an alternative to metal brackets while still delivering the strength and reliability of traditional braces. A consultation with your dentist can help determine if ceramic braces are a smart choice for your treatment plan. Together, you can create a plan that invisibly meets your dental needs while creating the smile of your dreams.

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