What Are the Differences Between Metal and Clear Braces?

Differences between metal and clear braces

If you’re learning about braces for the first time, you may have some questions about the differences between each type. Ceramic or clear braces can be an attractive choice for you or your teen. Here is how they differ from regular metal braces.


Metal braces are usually made of high-grade stainless steel. Occasionally, metals like nickel will be used in dental appliances. You’ll need to work with your orthodontist if you have any sensitivities to metal. Most people don’t have reactions to stainless steel, which makes it a safe option for medical appliances like braces.

Clear braces are made with a different kind of bracket created from aluminum oxide. In its natural form, aluminum oxide is called corundum. Corundum is a very hard material, almost as hard as diamonds. This makes it an ideal material for dental brackets because it can withstand the force the archwires will apply to adjust your teeth.


Ceramic braces can be a more attractive cosmetic choice for adults and teens needing braces. The brackets glued to your teeth are clear or tooth-colored instead of metal. Clear brackets are less visible from a distance. While clear braces are more visible than aligner trays, they are able to move your teeth more quickly than expensive plastic trays.

You will still need metal archwires attached to the clear brackets. Some companies make archwires that have color-coating. White-colored wires are less visible than traditional metal wires. Braces with clear brackets are less visible no matter what kind of archwire that you decide on.


The reason many people choose ceramic braces is that they have cosmetic concerns. But there has been a recent shift in attitudes about dental appliances. People getting braces for the first time are between 10 and 13 years old. More teens are looking at braces as another chance to express themselves. Colorful rubber bands and unique shaped brackets are just two of the ways kids can express themselves with their braces. These options are only available with metal braces, but you can talk to your orthodontist to find out what options you might have.


With ceramic braces, the brackets are larger than metal braces. This means that some people will be less comfortable than if they had metal braces. If the contact with your cheeks and lips is uncomfortable, tell your orthodontist. They may be able to make a plan to reduce your pain. You can always change the type of dental appliance that you use if one type does not work.

Dental Hygiene

You’ll also need to pay special attention to your dental hygiene. People with braces already take extra time and attention to make sure their teeth are clean. Clear or light-color brackets are more likely to stain. Work with your orthodontist to make a plan to prevent your brackets from becoming discolored.

For many people, this means limiting foods that stain teeth. Coffee, red wine, and dark sodas are common foods that stain teeth. They may also ask you to add treatments to your oral hygiene routine that can help keep your teeth bright and white. Some over-the-counter or at-home treatments may work, but you should always talk to your dentist or orthodontist about what whitening treatments to use while wearing braces.


One of the downfalls of ceramic braces is that they are not as strong as metal braces. Though they are very strong, they can also be brittle. Clear braces can break, and you should avoid swallowing or inhaling these tiny pieces. Ceramic brackets are also less flexible than metal brackets, which can lead to them breaking during removal. Your orthodontist will need to remove these pieces from your teeth separately.

Other Medical Treatments

If you need certain medical treatments, metal braces can be dangerous or prevent you from getting the treatment you need. For example, MRIs use powerful magnets to create images of your body. Usually, metal braces don’t impact your ability to get an MRI. Your orthodontist will work with your doctors to make sure that you can safely get an MRI. If metal brackets could impact your ability to get other medical tests, then ceramic braces could be a better choice.

Are Clear Braces Right for Me?

There are several reasons why clear braces are the right choice for you. Ceramic braces are more appealing than metal braces for many people. If you are prepared to take on the extra care for your hygiene and keep them safe, then ceramic braces may be a great fit.

No matter what, an experienced orthodontist can help guide your choice. Dr. Angela at Palm Beach Orthodontics is a board-certified orthodontist and has perfected over 10,000 smiles. She believes in working with each of her patients to create an individual plan for their smiles. Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn about your options for orthodontics.

Palm Beach Gardens
(561) 422-3360
3385 Burns Rd
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Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Royal Palm Beach
(561) 422-3360
1420 Royal Palm Beach Blvd
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Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411