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Are Braces Ugly?

Braces have been the solution for crowded teeth for a long time. However, the way they look is a big downside.

Within contemporary times, most people have beauty concerns and want to improve their looks. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to enhance a person’s aesthetics.

When it comes to the smile and teeth, dentists can offer a wide range of cosmetic options. Nonetheless, if the diagnosis is related to malocclusion, also known as tooth malposition, then braces are the best solution.

Sadly, traditional braces are made of metal which makes them highly unpopular. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that orthodontic treatments should always look bad. If you ask your dentist: are braces ugly? The answer would probably be: not necessarily.

In this article, we’ll discuss the aesthetic aspect of traditional orthodontic treatments to find out if braces are ugly. Also, we will talk about other possible treatment alternatives.

Traditional Metal Braces: Are They Ugly?

Orthodontic treatment has been around for a long time. Although it has evolved over the years, it still consists of pulling and pushing the teeth around using special appliances.

Traditional orthodontic treatment is done through metal braces. These metal appliances are bonded to the teeth and then connected to each other through a metal wire. Furthermore, the treatment usually involves using rubber bands.

As a result, patients end up having a lot of metal in the visible portion of their teeth. Due to the color of the braces, their aesthetic purpose might be compromised throughout the treatment.

However, it is essential to know that braces are just a type of orthodontic treatment. They are not permanent. You might have an undesired appearance while wearing metal braces. Nonetheless, you will gain an aesthetically pleasing and perfectly aligned smile once the dentist removes them.

It is essential to understand that the goal of wearing braces is not just to enhance your appearance but also to improve your oral health.

Aesthetic Solutions to Metal Braces

Although metal braces are perfectly capable of aligning teeth to perfection, dentists and researchers have been looking for methods to improve their appearance.

This resulted in contemporary solutions that meet a patient’s needs.

These solutions include:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Clear aligners.

Ceramic Braces

As the name suggests, ceramic braces are made of high-quality ceramic material. They work under the same principle as traditional metal braces. However, instead of being gray, they are white and mimic the natural color of the tooth.

This makes them less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing. Nonetheless, they still have the metal wire connecting them.

Although their color is similar to the color of the teeth, the patient must have adequate oral hygiene to make them work for them. Otherwise, food leftover and plaque can build up around them, causing them to become more noticeable.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are also made of metal. However, the dentist places them on the inner aspect of the teeth. This causes them to remain hidden and unnoticeable.

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for this alternative. Also, lingual braces tend to be more uncomfortable, although they provide great aesthetic and functional results. This happens because their sharp edges can cut or create ulcers on the tongue.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners have become the most popular alternative among patients to solve malocclusions. This contemporary method does not involve using braces. Instead, it uses special trays called aligners to move the teeth into the desired position.

These aligners are made of a transparent thermoplastic material that fits the dental arch tightly. Therefore, they are almost entirely unnoticeable to others.

Clear aligners, for example Invisalign braces, also work under the same principle of pushing and pulling the teeth around until they are perfectly aligned. However, in this case, it is done slightly differently.

Instead of using braces and wires to move the teeth, aligners are designed to apply pressure to the teeth by slightly misfitting them. This pushes or pulls the teeth into a new position.

To complete the treatment with clear aligners, the patient must use a series of trays until the teeth are perfectly aligned.

One of the biggest benefits of clear aligners is that the patient can freely remove them at any time. Therefore, they can take them off while eating, brushing their teeth, or before taking a picture.

Nonetheless, the patient must use the trays for at least 22 hours daily to ensure the treatment’s success.

Also Read: Invisalign Treatment: 10 Things To Know

Which Braces provide Better Aesthetic Results?

Each alternative is capable of delivering the same aesthetic result. All of them can align the teeth to perfection and help obtain a beautiful smile.

However, when it comes to aesthetics throughout the treatment, clear aligners are the best option.

Although clear aligners cover the teeth entirely, they are nearly invisible and unnoticeable. This is thanks to the thin and almost transparent material they are made of.

Nonetheless, it is vital to know that clear aligners are not suitable for every case. The technology behind clear aligners has improved since its initial development. Although they can be used now in a wider variety of scenarios, they still cannot treat severe malocclusions that involve complicated tooth movements.

In these cases, the best aesthetic option is ceramic braces.

Ceramic braces are not as unnoticeable as clear aligners. However, they can be used in any situation regardless of the complexity of the case. Furthermore, they are still more discreet than their regular metal counterparts.

The Takeaway

“Are braces ugly?” is a common question a lot of people ask themselves. Traditional braces can be considered ugly due to their metal color. Fortunately, dentists have developed better-looking alternatives that tend to be more appealing to patients.

Clear aligners and ceramic braces have become the most popular options since they are less noticeable.

Nonetheless, it is essential to know that an orthodontic treatment’s main goal is to improve the patient’s oral health and restore the mouth’s balance. Therefore, the benefits of wearing braces surpass any aesthetic issue the patient might experience while undergoing treatment.


Are you too old for braces? Harvard Medical School.

Braces: Straighter teeth can improve oral health. The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Jue Wang, et al. Comprehensive treatment approach for condylar hyperplasia and mandibular crowding with custom lingual braces and 2-jaw surgery. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial OrthopedicsVol. 156Issue 1p125–136.

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