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What are braces?

Braces are artificial dental crowns made of materials such as metal or ceramics to be placed on treated crowns.

When do teeth need braces?  

Braces are used to protect teeth and avoid fractures.
Teeth that have undergone root canal therapy or experienced severe tooth decay, cracking or chipping will become relatively fragile. Dentists generally recommend wearing braces to protect fragile teeth from chipping.

To improve the colour, shape and size of teeth

Types of braces:

1. Metal crowns

Metal crowns are strong, durable and resistant to wear and tear. They are suitable for teeth at the back for their lower aesthetic requirements and higher demand for biting force. Metal braces are also suitable for patients with Bruxism or stronger bite force. Metal braces can maintain its strength with minimal thickness, so they require the least teeth grinding than other braces, meaning that most real teeth can be preserved. However, the metallic colour looks unsightly, making them unsuitable for front teeth.

2. Half-ceramic (Metal-ceramic) Crowns 

Half-ceramic crowns have ceramic outer layers, of which the colour is close to real teeth. The inner layers are made of metal suitable for front and back teeth, while the bottoms are made of alloy, which is stronger and more durable. The disadvantage of such crowns is that more teeth need to be ground to allow for appropriate thicknesses for the inner and outer layers of the materials. In addition, due to the poor transmittance of the metal inner layer, the braces may look gray and the edges of the braces may also appear dark.

3. All-ceramic Crowns

All-ceramic crowns are made of ceramic inside and out. Looking the most pleasing and natural among all crowns with colour and transmittance close to real teeth, they are often used for front teeth. All-ceramic braces are relatively fragile than metal braces and are more likely to break under strong biting force. All-ceramic braces need a certain thickness to achieve sufficient hardness, so more real teeth need to be ground. Glass-ceramic and other materials with higher transmittance can be used for front teeth with high aesthetic requirements, while the stronger Zirconium dioxide can be used for rear teeth that need to withstand stronger biting force.

The general procedure of making braces

~ Grind the teeth
~ Take dental impressions or scans and record the biting positions of the teeth with 3D technology
~ Put temporary crowns on ground teeth
~ Cast artificial crowns in a dental factory
~ After the braces are casted, let patients try on to make sure the occlusion and appearance are fine. Then fix the artificial crowns on the teeth with adhesive

What is ceramic dental veneer?

Ceramic dental veneer is a thin layer made of ceramic, of which the colour is natural and beautiful with light transmittance similar to real teeth.

When do teeth need ceramic dental veneers? 

~ To change the colour of the teeth
~ To change the shape of the teeth
~ To improve the problem of excessive gaps between teeth with non-orthodontic methods
~ For teeth discoloured by root necrosis or tetracycline or those naturally yellow, which cannot be completely solved by bleaching alone 

Simple comparison of the three common materials:


Half- ceramic

All- ceramic


Rear teeth

Front teeth and rear teeth

Front teeth and rear teeth


  • Strong and durable, can withstand strong biting force
  • Less teeth need to be ground
  • Pleasing appearance
  • strong and sturdy
  • Pleasing and natural appearance closest to real teeth


  • Unsightly
  • More teeth need to be ground
  • Less strong and more likely to break
  • More teeth need to be ground

All in all, dentists will choose the most suitable brace material for patients based on the positions of the teeth, biting force to be endured and the impact on aesthetics.