Ceramic braces are made from polycrystalline or monocrystalline alumina. This material appears clear or tooth-coloured. However, this material is relatively stain resistant. When wearing ceramic braces, it is the ligatures that make your teeth appear yellowish. Ligatures are the small rubber bands that fit around the individual ceramic brace and keep the arch wire in place. Patients who choose ceramic braces for their invisible appearance also often choose white or clear rubber bands to continue the illusion. Preventing staining or the appearance of stains requires constant care and vigilance.
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Don't miss your appointments. The ligatures around your ceramic braces should be changed every four to six weeks, which should coincide with your regular adjustments.
Choose a different ligature colour. Ligatures come in a variety of colours. For the more sedate patient, choose smoke grey or light blue. These colours are less noticeable and resist staining better than clear or white ligatures. For the adventurous patient, choose bright vibrant colours. Children often choose their favourite colour or a combination of school colours.
Avoid foods that stain. If a food or drink would stain a white T-shirt, then it will stain your teeth and the ligatures. Foods, such as blueberries, blackberries and curries, can cause discolouration of teeth. Also, avoid or limit consumption of drinks, such as coffee, tea, dark sodas and wine.
Brush your teeth regularly with whitening toothpaste. Dentists recommend that people who wear braces brush their teeth after every meal or snack. Not only will this help prevent staining of your ligatures, but it also will prevent tooth decay caused by food trapped between the arch wire and the teeth.
Rinse after every meal or dark drink. When possible, use a fluoride-containing mouth mouthwash. If you don't have time to stop and brush your teeth or use mouthwash, take a drink of water and swish it around your mouth. This will help rinse staining food off the surface of your teeth and ceramic braces. Though not as effective as brushing, it will help slow the process of staining.
Stop smoking. Nicotine causes brown stains in the grooves of your teeth and quickly can yellow ligatures around braces.
Tips and warnings
- Avoiding teeth-staining foods and regularly caring for your teeth also will decrease the colour difference of your teeth after the braces are removed. The ceramic bracket prevents staining of the underlying tooth. People who do not take regular care of the teeth or continue to smoke during the treatment course might have extremely white patches once the dentist removes the ceramic braces.
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