Cosmetic or tooth coloured braces are made of composite materials. They are very strong and generally do not stain. Cosmetic braces are often used for adult braces because they match the colour of the teeth and are less noticeable than the metal brackets. These are the type of braces that actor Tom Cruise wore.

The tiny rubber bands (ligating elastics) that hold the arch wire on to the cosmetic brackets are often white or clear. This looks great at first, but they are prone to staining. Unless you eat a lot of curry, smoke, or drink a lot of black coffee, this generally is not a problem. Note that the rubber bands are exchanged each time you get an adjustment — usually, every 4 weeks. It’s only the rubber bands and not the brackets themselves that stain!

Cosmetic braces blend in with most teeth, particularly if they are not perfectly white. They are not very noticeable at a distance or in photos.

Some people feel that cosmetic braces are more comfortable than metal braces and irritate your gums less. Contrary to what you may have heard, cosmetic brackets do not usually break or come off your teeth. They are as strong as metal brackets.

Cons of Cosmetic Braces:

  • The clear or white ligatures (little elastics that hold the arch wire to the brackets) can stain, which defeats esthetics of the ceramic braces. But those are changed at your monthly adjustment.
  • Ceramic braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces.
  • Treatment can take a few months longer with cosmetic braces.
  • From a purely esthetic point of view, they are a bit larger than metal brackets.

If you have severe problems, your orthodontist will not use ceramic braces in many cases, because they may not be strong enough to withstand the forces of some types of treatment.

Invisalign Braces
Invisalign braces are great for patients that do not have a too severe problem. This treatment system consists of strong plastic trays that are fabricated especially for you. They are indeed invisible. If your bite is not too severe and your teeth are not severely crooked, then Invisalign braces would be a good choice.

You would be able to get your teeth straightened without anyone seeing that you are wearing orthodontic braces! This appeals to many adults, especially people who wore traditional braces as children and then require more treatment later in life.

However, if your bite is very bad, if you need extractions or require headgear or other orthodontic appliances, then Invisalign braces will not work for you, you will have to wear traditional braces. The treatment trays are computer-fabricated by Align Technologies, the company that makes Invisalign. The success rate for Invisalign is only about 50%. No doubt, the unsuccessful 50% had problems that were beyond the capabilities of the Invisalign appliance.

Pros of Invisalign Braces:

  • Invisalign is virtually invisible, and nobody knows you’re wearing them but you.
  • They are easier to clean than traditional braces.
  • They don’t irritate your gums as much as traditional braces, so there is no need for dental wax.
  • They do not stain at all.
  • The aligners are numbered and worn for two weeks each, so your time in treatment is well established.
  • You’ll get a computer simulation showing how your teeth will move during treatment, and see the projected final outcome.

Cons of Invisalign Braces:

  • They cost more than traditional braces.
  • Treatment can take as long as traditional braces.
  • In some cases, you may still need traditional braces for a few months after your Invisalign treatment, to correct certain problems.
  • You will still have tooth pain, because your teeth will be moved by the Invisalign trays.
  • Invisalign is not a pain-free treatment.
  • The plastic trays are computer-fabricated by Align Technologies, who are located overseas.
  • It takes 6 weeks for the aligners to arrive from the factory — a long time to wait.
  • If you have severe problems, you will not be a candidate for Invisalign.

If you require orthodontic treatment or braces simply contact Dr Derek Coetzee by completing the contact us form.