What is the difference between removing metal braces and ceramic braces?

Doctor's Answers (1)

Thank you for your question. Metal braces are typically made using stainless steel while ceramic braces are composed of aluminium oxide. Ceramic braces can be either polycrystalline (sintered or fused aluminium oxide)  or monocrystalline (single crystal of aluminium oxide). As metal can deform considerably without fracturing, the material is more malleable. During the removal of metal braces, your dentist will squeeze the sides of the metal braces, this usually breaks the mechanical bond between the metal braces and the glue (resin adhesive). 

As ceramic braces are more brittle, the bracket does not flex with the application of the same force. This can sometimes cause the braces to fracture when your dentist is trying to remove the braces. Hence a lot of ceramic braces manufacturers now fabricate ceramic braces with features that allow easier removal. These features include a ball reduction band (e.g., Inspire Ice bracket, Ormco Corp., Orange, Calif.) and the vertical debonding slot (e.g., Clarity bracket, 3M Unitek) This means that the bracket can be removed more easily with less chance of fracturing. However this does not completely eliminate the chance of the bracket fracturing and its not uncommon for bits of the bracket to break during the removal process. Your dentist is able to manage this easily with careful removal of the remaining ceramic brackets left on your teeth. 

Hope this helps and all the very best,

Dr Priscilla Lu

Orthodontist at the Orthodontic Clinic 

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