Dr. Baruch Tetri

Metal or Ceramic Braces?

Board-certified periodontist
April 18, 2023

Metal braces are a tried-and-true classic, while ceramic braces are a newer option. We’ll explain their differences, and help you answer the question: “Which is the best choice for me?”

What are dental braces?

Braces are an orthodontic structure made up of several parts:


Plates – attached to the teeth


Arch – applies pressure to dentition


Ligature – holds the arch in the brace slot

Ignoring the symptoms of an incorrect bite can cause frequent headaches, facial asymmetry, postural problems, or even gastrointestinal issues. Quality braces can help you avoid all of these.

Metal braces

Metal braces are an efficient way to correct most complex anomalies. They provide the needed control over tooth movement and offer predictable results.

They are usually made from alloys of medical steel, titanium, chromium, or gold.

Metal braces have gone from large and uncomfortable to more compact, almost discrete structures. They not only get the job done, but also look good.


Metal braces are visible on the teeth. This can cause psychological discomfort during smiling or talking. Ceramic braces are inconspicuous.

Metal braces are small and take up little space; one can quickly get used to them. Ceramic braces are slightly larger.

They do not chip or crack. Ceramic braces have this drawback.

Celebrities who have worn metal braces:

Faye Dunaway

(actress, known for movies like "Bonnie and Clyde", "Arizona Dream", "Chinatown"). Decided to correct her bite at the age of 61.

Gwen Stefani

(singer) – wore braces at the age of 30.

Emma Watson

(actress, known for movies like "Little Women", "The Circle", all movies in the "Harry Potter" franchise).

Nicolas Cage

(actor, known for movies like "The Rock", "City of Angels", "Face/Off").

Corrected his lower teeth alignment in adulthood. These actors are proof that orthodontic correction with metal braces is effective and nothing to be shy about. Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age.

Dr. Svitlana Koval
15 years of experience in Orthodontics

“Are metal braces suitable for me?”

We will choose the orthodontic treatment plan for you after thorough diagnostics. Taking into account your lifestyle and hobbies, we aim to make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces, but consist of a different material. 

Ceramic braces often incorporate metal parts like locks or slots. However, all-ceramic braces (with a low adhesion ratio and lower strength) are also an option, providing a longer treatment period but more comfortable in the long run.

We have two types of ceramic braces: traditional and sapphire.

Traditional braces are made of polycrystalline aluminum oxide (a white, opaque material similar in color to tooth enamel), making them less noticeable.

Sapphire braces are made of monocrystalline alumina (an artificial sapphire) and are almost crystal-clear. An arch with a lighter coating is usually used for less visibility.


Ceramic braces are virtually invisible, with only the metal archwire being noticeable. If you choose an archwire with ceramic coating, over time, its color may dull. Additionally, due to the coating, there may be increased friction, which can prolong the treatment duration.

Ceramic braces are generally hypoallergenic, making them suitable for those with nickel sensitivity, which can cause allergic reactions to metal braces.

Ceramic braces are susceptible to natural breakages and ceramic chipping. Replacement of brackets may be necessary. To increase their durability, brackets can be made thicker.

​​Celebrities who have worn ceramic braces:

Tom Cruise

(actor, known for movies like the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, "The Last Samurai", "Rain Man").

Dakota Fanning

(actress, known for movies like "Now is Good", "Dreamer", "War of the Worlds"). Bite correction at an early age.

Prince Harry of Wales

Wore braces at the age of 16.

Which braces should I choose?

You can obtain an answer to this question after consulting with a doctor and undergoing thorough diagnostics.

We often recommend ceramic braces only for the upper jaw, as ceramic braces on the lower jaw can lead to enamel wear on the upper teeth. Ceramic plates are thicker and harder, so when they come into contact with enamel, the enamel may suffer).

Metal vs ceramic braces

Is there a difference in care between metal and ceramic braces?

Metal and ceramic braces are not much different in terms of care. However, ceramic braces are particularly sensitive to hard, viscous, or staining foods.

With ceramic braces, you must be extra thorough when it comes to dental hygiene, even after eating a small  snack. You can use a variety of tools such as:

  • A toothbrush
  • A V-brush
  • Floss 
  • Proxy brush
  • Water flosser

In addition, you should have a routine inspection every 2 months and a professional cleaning every 4 months.

Are metal and ceramic braces bonded differently?

Metal and ceramic braces are bonded differently. The process consists of three stages:


The doctor performs a complete checkup. After all the data is obtained, a treatment plan is prescribed or  braces are installed.


The doctor can only install braces on healthy teeth. Hence, a pre-placement treatment may be required.


The doctor spends 1 to 2 hours for each  row of teeth. After everything is in place, they fix the arch.

What do metal and ceramic braces have in common?

Both are identical in the way the arch is attached. They either have ligatures or are self-ligating. 

  • Ligature braces use external parts to secure the arch (bands or wire ties).
  • Self-ligating braces use special locks that secure the arch, not ligatures.