Ceramic or Metal Braces: Which Should I Choose?

Braces are used to help straighten and align teeth, as well as to prevent more serious long-term oral health problems. There are several different types of braces and as you begin to learn more about them, you may wonder if one type of braces might be more effective in creating the smile you envision. At our orthodontics office in Melbourne, FL, we’ve noticed patients frequently ask about the major differences between these two types: metal and ceramic braces. While one is more noticeable than the other, the difference you see in your smile might make you consider which style would be more suitable for you. 

Orthodontic Difference Between Metal And Ceramic Braces

Metal braces are the most traditional type of braces. Stainless steel brackets are placed on the front or back of the teeth and are held together with wires made of metal alloy. The wires can be adjusted and tightened incrementally to move and straighten the teeth over a certain period of time, depending on the complexity of your individual case. In most instances, the wires are attached to the brackets by small rubber bands, commonly referred to as ligatures. There are, however, some braces with self-ligating clips instead of ligatures.

Clear ceramic braces, sometimes called clear braces, consist of clear or tooth-colored brackets made of ceramic or porcelain. They are much less noticeable than metal braces. Their ligatures are also typically clear, but the wires between each bracket are usually still made of metal. Only metal wires were available up until recently, but clear or white wires are becoming increasingly used.  In most cases the properties of the white or clear “wires” are not as good as the metal wires.  Just like with traditional braces, there are both non-self-ligating and self-ligating styles of ceramic braces.


One of the biggest concerns for people preparing to get braces is how noticeable they will be. Because most are made entirely of metal, traditional braces are noticeable and will typically be seen when you speak, smile, and laugh. If this is something you or your child are worried about, it’s helpful to keep in mind that wearing braces is very common to see in public. In fact, 4 million people in the U.S. have braces, 25% of them being adults. Lots of children, teens, and adults opt for braces for different reasons, and at different times in life. The bright side is that having braces for a short time now can result in a healthy smile for life! Consider looking at before and after photos to calm any uneasiness about how braces will look, this helps many people get over the initial fear of their temporary change in appearance.

Ceramic braces, on the other hand, are a lot less noticeable than traditional metal braces. They blend in quite well with your natural teeth and smile, and they are hard to spot by family and friends. Most patients say that they are difficult to notice in photos as well. 


Ceramic braces are strong, but they do still have the potential to chip or crack, due to their composition and structure.  Metal braces, on the other hand, are extremely durable and stand up to stronger forces or impacts. If you play contact sports, metal braces may be more suitable for you. However, if you play a musical instrument, you may find ceramic braces to be more comfortable for your lifestyle. 

Severity of Correction

While both metal and ceramic braces are highly effective, there are some situations in which one type may be more appropriate than the other for your smile. If you need a substantial number of adjustments or more severe bite correction, metal braces will likely be recommended by your orthodontist. Metal braces can tolerate more pressure during adjustments than ceramic braces can. Certain types of movement are also easier using metal braces.

Insurance Coverage and Cost

Typically, insurance covers a predetermined amount for braces and anything over that must be paid out-of-pocket. Cost is an important consideration for most families, so this should factor into your decision when choosing between traditional and ceramic braces. Many orthodontic offices, such as Melbourne Orthodontics, offer flexible payment options including no-interest financing and pay-in-full discounts.

The great news is that you don’t have to decide which type of braces is right for your child or yourself just yet. When you are ready to discuss the various braces options available, Dr. Reddick at Melbourne Orthodontics will be happy to go over everything in detail and answer all of your questions. Give us a call at (321) 254-5232 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you!