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Ceramic Braces vs. Metal Braces

Ceramic braces (aka clear braces) are a more aesthetic version of traditional metal braces.

They are more discreet and blend in more with your teeth than metal braces.

In this post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of braces, the costs, and what to expect.

What are ceramic braces?

Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional metal braces but the brackets are made of clear or tooth-colored composite. 

Benefits of ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are great for adults or anyone concerned about aesthetics. 

They are a great option if you’re looking for something more discreet and natural. The brackets used are clear and blend in with your teeth.

How long is ceramic braces treatment?

Ceramic braces have the same treatment time as braces (around 18-24 months)

Cons of ceramic braces

The disadvantages of ceramic braces include:

  • they more expensive than traditional braces
  • they’re not an option for severe malocclusions
  • they’re not as strong as metal braces (can break more easily)
  • they are difficult to remove

Because of their light color, ceramic braces are more difficult to keep clean and free of stains. 

As with any orthodontic treatment, it’s crucial to practice great oral hygiene care with ceramic and metal braces. Not doing so can lead to decalcification (white scars on the teeth), and gum inflammation. 

Cost of ceramic braces

Because ceramic braces re considered a cosmetic upgrade, they are more expensive than traditional braces. And your insurance doesn’t cover this upgrade so this can mean more money out of pocket.

Removal procedure for ceramic braces

The removal procedure for ceramic brace is quite a bit more difficult than for metal braces. 

Whereas metal braces come off with ease, the removal of ceramic braces involves a lot of force and loud popping.

You may find it a little alarming if you’re not expecting it. But rest assured your orthodontist will use great care during the removal process

Should I get metal or ceramic braces?

It’s up to you to decide what kind of braces to get. But Invisalign would be a better option if you’re concerned about aesthetics. Plus, you get the added bonus of easier oral hygiene maintenance with easy removal of your clear aligners when you eat, brush, and floss.

And traditional metal braces are much more cost-effective than ceramic braces and easier to remove once treatment is complete.

Costs & insurance coverage

The cost of ceramic braces ranges from $4,000-$8,000.

Most dental insurance companies cover orthodontic treatment at 50% with a lifetime maximum of $1,500.

Metal braces

These are the quintessential type of braces that everyone knows. Metal braces use metal brackets attached to the front of the teeth. The teeth are guided by an archwire that slowly aligns the bite.

Make sure to discuss any metal allergies, like nickel, with your orthodontist as there are alternative options available.

  • Pros
    • least expensive
    • fast results
    • powerful movement
    • variety of color choices
  • Cons
    • can cause significant discomfort
    • most noticeable type of orthodontic appliances
    • white spots can develop around the brackets with poor oral hygiene care.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are a great option if you’re looking for something more discreet and natural. The brackets are made of a composite material that is clear and blend in with your teeth.

However, they about $1,000 more expensive for total treatment than metal braces. They also are more difficult to prevent staining and break more easily than traditional braces. And they are more difficult to remove when treatment is complete.

  • Pros:
    • less visible
  • Cons:
    • more expensive than traditional braces
    • not an option for severe malocclusions
    • difficult to clean thoroughly to prevent staining
    • less durable than metal braces

Clear aligners

Clear aligners like Invisalign are an excellent aesthetic alternative to traditional braces. They are much more comfortable than traditional braces. And it’s much easier to maintain good oral hygiene as the aligners are removed when you eat, brush, and floss.

Invisalign will cost about $3,000-$8,000 during for total treatment, which is similar to the cost of ceramic braces. At-home or DIY clear aligners are often less expensive, between $1,500-$3,000 (but is not a recommended treatment).


To summarize, whether you are looking for affordable orthodontic treatment or a more esthetic option to straighten your teeth, braces can greatly improve your oral health and confidence. If you want to find out what type of braces is right for you, come in anytime for a FREE orthodontic consultation!

by Dr. Christine Coughlin DDS

Learn More:

Braces: What to Expect, Types, How They Work, & Care

Braces: How Much Do They Cost, Braces Colors and Rubber Bands

Braces: Do all of my baby teeth have to fall out first?

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