Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces: Cost, Pros & Cons, Pictures, FAQs

What are Ceramic Braces?

what are ceramic braces

Ceramic braces, also called clear braces, use clear or tooth-colored brackets made of polycrystalline alumina. This makes them subtler and less noticeable than metal braces. The connecting wire can also be tooth-colored to decrease the visibility of ceramic braces further.

They tend to stain more easily, due to the lighter color of the brackets. It’s best to avoid dark beverages like coffee and red wine during your treatment. In addition, they generally cost more than traditional metal, usually between $4,000 and $7,000.

All in all, ceramic braces are a great option for treating all sorts of orthodontic issues.

How Much Do Ceramic Braces Cost?

When all costs are calculated, such as pre-treatment x-rays, office visits, and retainers, ceramic braces generally cost between $4,000 and $7,000. This is a higher cost than traditional metal, which run between $1,700 to $6,000.

They are generally less than the cost of Invisalign clear removable aligners, another discreet orthodontic treatment. The experience is comparable to wearing a retainer.

Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get these fully covered, at least partially. The out-of-pocket expenses will likely also be higher when compared to metal braces.

Finally, seek an orthodontic provider that offers a flexible monthly payment plan. This makes paying for ceramic or clear much more manageable by breaking payments into low monthly portions. In sum: these tend to cost a bit more than traditional metal braces, but less than Invisalign clear aligners.

Ceramic vs Metal Braces

ceramic braces vs metal braces

Metal and ceramic braces use a similar design to achieve straight teeth and a healthy smile. The major difference is the material the brackets are made from.

Metal braces use brackets made of medical-grade stainless steel. While ceramic braces use polycrystalline alumina that can either be clear or the same color as your tooth.

The stainless steel is extremely noticeable against the white of your teeth, so ceramic brackets are appealing for their discreet appearance. The brackets can also be transparent. Both use rubber bands to move the teeth in a particular direction.

If you’re having a hard time deciding which one is better for you consult with your orthodontist. They can help put together the right treatment plans with different options. No matter what option you pick you can count on straightening your teeth by the end of treatment.

Other Differences Between Ceramic and Metal Braces


The flexible metal archwire that connects the brackets can also be made of a lighter color for ceramic braces. Colors include white, silver, or a frosted tone that matches the brackets.

The combination of tooth-colored brackets and wire means that your ceramic braces may be nearly invisible to others. Which makes this option popular for working adults or college students who want straight teeth without the “metal mouth” look.


Ceramic braces are less durable than metal ones, as the bracket material isn’t as strong as stainless steel.

Studies have found clear/ceramic is more than twice as likely to break off or fracture as metal brackets. This makes care and compliance extremely important. To avoid breaking them, avoid eating any crunchy foods or hard candies.


Due to their lighter color, ceramic brackets are also more likely to stain. Ceramic material users should limit their intake of dark foods and drinks. Food and beverages include; coffee, tea, red wine, ketchup, curries, etc. All of these can stain or discolor the clear or tooth-colored brackets.

As a solution, you can drink through a straw or brush your teeth immediately afterward to reduce the risk of staining. These will require you to really be on top of your oral hygiene.

Enamel Wear

If you have ceramic braces on both the upper and lower arches enamel wear could be a problem. It’s possible that the braces on the bottom arch can wear down the enamel on the back of the top teeth.

This can happen when biting or chewing food, due to the abrasive nature of the material from which they are constructed. Without proper care, this can leave your teeth more susceptible to tooth decay.

For certain patients, especially those with an excessive overbite, it may be more effective to get metal braces on the bottom teeth. As this can affect their oral health.


The higher cost is due to the more delicate, expensive material the brackets are made from.

Ceramic braces cost between $3,000 and $7,000, whereas metal braces cost between $1,700 to $6,000. This price includes the appliance, the cost of in-office visits to the orthodontist, and follow-up care like retainers.

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What Are The Differences Between Ceramic and Metal Braces?

Pros & Cons of Ceramic Braces


  • Discreet clear or tooth-colored brackets are nearly invisible to others
  • Same effective, reliable technology as metal
  • Increased confidence from improved smile without the “metal mouth” look
  • Lower cost than Invisalign clear aligners for a similarly discreet look
  • It may be more comfortable than metal, smoother feel of brackets


  • More delicate and more likely to break than metal brackets
  • Higher cost than other treatment options
  • More likely to stain due to lighter colored brackets
  • It may cause damage to the top teeth when worn on the bottom teeth
  • Unable to pursue teeth whitening due to brackets

What Conditions Do Ceramic Braces Treat?

The clear or tooth-colored brackets are affixed to the teeth, connected by a flexible archwire. Your orthodontist will carefully re-align the teeth into their proper positions by tightening, adjusting, and holding the wire.

There are many different kinds of orthodontic conditions that can be corrected with ceramic braces: these are called malocclusions. Each one requires careful planning and expertise to treat. Be sure to seek out an expert orthodontist with a demonstrated record of success in achieving healthy smiles.

Common malocclusions treatable with ceramic braces include excessive overjet, overbite, gaps between teeth, crossbite, or crowded teeth. Remember that your length of treatment may be longer with ceramic or clear ones, due to the delicate material used in the brackets.

Who should get ceramic braces?

They are preferable to metal braces for many older teens and adults, who want a discreet orthodontic option.

For working professionals or college students, ceramic or clear braces provide all of the same effectiveness as other treatment options do. Just without the “metal mouth” appearance that we often attribute to younger teens wearing braces.

Since they stain more easily, they are best for those responsible enough to avoid certain foods and beverages. Due to their higher price point, those interested in ceramic ones should consider whether it is worth the cost. A different type of braces is lingual braces. Which are also in the same higher price range but are on the inside of the teeth.