If you’re frustrated with your crooked teeth, you’re far from alone. Research suggests that around nine in ten people have at least some degree of tooth misalignment, thanks in large part to evolution. With our shrinking jaw sizes, our teeth don’t have as much space as they did a few thousand years ago!

Fortunately, modern problems get modern solutions, which is why dentists offer innovations like braces. Even better, the technology behind braces is getting better all the time, which is where newer options like ceramic braces come in.

Choosing between metal vs. ceramic braces can be tricky for that reason: both state-of-the-art options have great advantages! From the efficient and powerful straightening of metal braces to the discreet and even stylish look of ceramic braces, there’s a lot to love. If you’re trying to figure out how to get your crooked teeth back into alignment, here’s what you should know.

Basics of Metal Braces

Of these two orthodontic treatment options, metal braces are more popular. They’re also what most people picture when they hear the word “braces.”

With metal braces, patients have medical-grade stainless steel brackets attached to their teeth. Modern brackets are slimmer and less noticeable than they were in recent decades. Threaded across these brackets are metal wires.

To keep the structure in place and make it easier for the dentist to customize the straightening process, rubber bands sit over the brackets. These rubber bands come in a range of colors, allowing patients to pick the options they prefer.

Pros and Cons of Metal Braces

Though metal braces are more common, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you decide to get them. Here are a few things to consider:


The medical-grade stainless steel you’ll get with metal braces is a strong and durable material. This makes it less likely to break or fracture.

This strength also makes metal braces a bit more effective at straightening your teeth. Because your chosen orthodontist can use metal braces to great effect, this option is ideal for straightening even the most complex oral issues. For severe malocclusion (overcrowding) or complicated bite issues, metal braces may be the best or only way to go.

Sometimes, the effectiveness of these braces means a shorter treatment duration. Depending on your goals, you may need fewer adjustments and get your braces off earlier than you would with ceramic braces.

If you’re worried about the cost of braces, metal braces can sometimes be the better option. Though ceramic and metal braces are often similar in price, metal is more likely to offer savings. Pair that with the fact that they may not be on your teeth for as long, and you could save even more.


Metal braces are much more noticeable than ceramic braces. The steel of the brackets and wires shows up well against the white of your teeth. For patients looking for a discreet orthodontic treatment, this might be a dealbreaker.

Basics of Ceramic Braces

The structure of ceramic braces is almost identical to metal braces. Only the materials are different.

With ceramic braces, patients receive ceramic brackets on their teeth. Made from clear or tooth-colored polycrystalline alumina, these brackets are far less noticeable against the teeth.

The archwire connecting the brackets is often less noticeable as well. Though it can be made of traditional stainless steel, most dentists use white or silver archwires. This makes them much more discreet: at a glance, people might not realize you have anything in your mouth!

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Braces

As with metal braces, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of ceramic braces. Talk to your orthodontist about your goals as you make your decision.


As mentioned above, ceramic braces are discreet. For anyone hoping to avoid the “metal mouth” look of traditional braces, this option is a must!

Some patients report that ceramic brackets feel a bit more comfortable to wear. However, all patients will adjust to the feeling of their brackets, whether metal or ceramic, within a short period after receiving braces. If needed, you can always use dental wax to reduce any irritation.


Ceramic braces are not as durable as metal braces. Unlike medical-grade stainless steel, polycrystalline alumina is more likely to fracture or snap.

This is why it’s crucial to follow your orthodontist’s care instructions, including what you can and can’t eat with braces. Don’t take the risk of snacking on hard nuts, tough meats, or candies!

The lower durability of ceramic braces also makes them slightly less effective during treatment. For patients with mild to moderate crowding or bite issues, this won’t often be a problem. However, if you have severe crowding or bite issues, your orthodontist will most likely recommend traditional braces for maximum straightening power.

Because they are not as strong, some patients will have a longer treatment time. Again, this will depend on your teeth and your goals.

Due to their light color, ceramic braces are more prone to staining than metal braces. Discoloring foods like tea, coffee, berries, and curry may cause them to stain. However, this is easy to avoid as long as you brush your teeth after meals, as your dentist will recommend.

Last, ceramic braces will often cost more than metal braces. The clear materials are more expensive, and the longer treatment time can sometimes add up.

Deciding on Metal vs Ceramic Braces

At the end of the day, both metal and ceramic braces have their own unique advantages. As you weigh your options, it’s crucial to think about your treatment goals, the current state of your teeth, and your overall oral health.

If you’re struggling to decide which option is right for your needs, let our team help you decide between metal vs. ceramic braces! Here at Owl Orthodontics, we’re proud to be Buffalo’s main source of superior orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages. To get your custom treatment plan and learn why we’re the community favorite, schedule an appointment at one of our locations today.