What Are Metal Braces?

Metal braces are very strong and can withstand most types of treatment. Metal brackets can be silver or golden. Even though there may be some irritation, there are several first aid tricks to deal with the discomfort, such as saltwater rinses and applying wax to the metal brackets.

Most traditional metal braces require an elastic O-shaped rubber band. This is called a ligature and it is used to hold the arch wire onto the bracket. Sometimes metal tie wires (wires that twist around the bracket) are used in place of elastic ligatures.

And now, choices of colorful ligatures are available in a rainbow of colors to emphasize personal style. Some adults may remember that metal braces were not just brackets, but a band that wrapped around each individual tooth. This method is usually reserved for molars or teeth with fillings that overlap to the outside surface of a tooth.

Pros: Metal brackets tend to be less expensive than other types of brackets; brackets don’t stain easily.

Cons: Gums and cheek tissue may become irritated; most noticeable type of braces.



Metal brackets usually are the least expensive of all types of braces.

Treatment time is usually the shortest among all types of braces.

You can choose a darker ligature, which hides curry, smoking or black coffee stains.

Self-ligating braces do not contain rubber ligatures, so staining will never be a problem.

They are strong and rarely break.

Golden brackets are unique, novel and generally look attractive.

Treatment with Ceramic Braces may take a few months longer than metal braces.

Metal brackets are smaller than ceramic counterparts.


The extra cost is in the materials. Stainless steel (used in metal braces) is cheaper than ceramic, so patients must pay more for the difference in material.

You’re paying for invisibility. The reason most people choose to pay a little bit more for ceramic is because they are less visible than metal ones. Kids with braces can sometimes be shy about speaking or smiling and ceramic braces can help them deal with these feelings.

Not all of the cost is up front. The extra cost that comes with ceramic braces doesn’t stop when the braces go on. Ceramic braces typically require more trips to the orthodontist for maintenance and adjustments and that means more money. Ceramic braces are also not as strong as metal ones and repairing chips and cracks can add to the cost.

Just like metal braces, the cost can vary. People who get ceramic braces don’t always pay more than people who get metal ones. The condition and number of teeth that need to be corrected, the age of the patient and the location are just some of the factors that can affect the cost of both ceramic and metal braces.

Ceramic braces aren’t the most expensive. While a little more costly than metal braces, ceramics are still not the most expensive kind of braces. Inside braces, which are placed on the opposite side of the teeth and are hidden from view are significantly more expensive than ceramics. Aligners, which are removable trays custom fit to your teeth, are priced higher than ceramics.


Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as Metal Braces, except that they have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend in to teeth. Some even use tooth-colored wires to be even less noticeable.

Pros: Less noticeable than metal braces; move teeth much faster than clear plastic aligners (Invisalign).

Cons: More expensive than metal braces; Brackets can stain easily if patients don’t care for them well.


Ceramic and clear braces are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces. They offer an aesthetic alternative for patients seeking options other than traditional metal braces.

Cost difference

Ceramic and clear braces may cost more than traditional metal braces. Your orthodontist may offer convenient payment plans to help control the costs of your treatment. Be sure to talk to your orthodontist about all of your financial options.

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