Having dental braces used to mean a mouth full of metal. These days options abound — from porcelain dental braces to tooth-colored dental braces to clear and behind-the-teeth choices. But traditional metal braces shouldn’t be counted out — especially since they can be overlaid in gold. Yes, you read right, gold!
Dental braces are designed to help an orthodontist align your teeth and correct problems with your bite (a malocclusion), such as crooked teeth or an overbite. The average treatment time is about 24 months. Gold braces can help you look great not only after orthodontic treatment but during as well. Gold braces are the ultimate fashion statement for the person who really wants to stand out from the crowd.
The earliest dental braces were actually made of a variety of substances, including both gold and silver. These dental braces literally created a “metal mouth” because the bands wrapped around the entire tooth. Gold was a popular choice for early dental braces because it is soft and easy to shape. The only problem is that because gold is so soft, the dental braces required frequent adjustments by the orthodontist to keep things on track. It was also very expensive!
The Golden Age of Dental Braces
Dental braces have come a long way since the 1900s; today, gold braces are actually made of stainless steel, just like standard braces. They just happen to be overlaid in gold! That means you reap all the benefits of standard metal braces without the expense of a solid gold grin.
Except for the color, today’s gold braces look just like a traditional set of stainless steel dental braces. Gold braces are part of a complete system of gold-plated orthodontic brackets (those things glued to the front of each tooth) and archwires (the wires attached to the brackets that move the teeth).
Why Go Gold?
The stainless steel construction of traditional metal braces — and gold braces, too — consists of brackets that are very strong and rarely break. That may mean fewer visits to the orthodontist. And although orthodontic treatment times vary, treatment tends to be shortest for those who choose metal braces. The biggest complaint about metal braces is that they can irritate your gums when they are first put on. The good news is that the inside of your cheeks do toughen up within a few weeks of dental treatment. Metal braces tend to be less expensive than other types of brackets, although gold braces will be more expensive than the standard metal.
Gold braces don’t have any specific advantages over traditional stainless models except as an option for people with an allergy to nickel, a component of stainless steel. But some people simply prefer the way gold braces look. Gold braces tend to be most popular with female patients — probably because they look like jewelry for your teeth!
Only a dentist or orthdontist can determine which type of dental braces is right for you. Speak with your dentist to find out how much gold braces cost and whether they are an option.