You may have been baffled at pictures of solid gold or silver braces, brackets made of sapphire crystals, and a host of other precious metals being used to make wires and brackets. What to make of all of this? Is there really some kind of benefit to the use of precious metals and bling to make orthodontic appliances? There is, and I intend to go into a bit of detail about why.
How flexible your braces are, how much they can conform to your teeth and to your mouth, depends on what they are made of. Precious metals like gold and silver are very malleable and a such are a good material to use in orthodontic alloys. However, were they made of pure gold or silver they would not be able to hold teeth in place or exert enough force for realignment, therefor alloys are used.
Gold is used most frequently because it is very easy to blend into an alloy, and is extremely malleable. Getting the right angle and hardness is very easy with this metal, and thus it is used. Surprisingly, making gold transparent is very simple, too. A lot of gold braces are actually transparent or tooth colored, and not shiny at all, although golden braces are available, of course.
Braces are also made out of silver alloys, but these will remain metallic colored. Silver is also quite malleable, hence its use in the jewel industry. There is no chance of making this material transparent, but you can opt for having tooth colored brackets and the archwire be made of a silver alloy, though, if you are looking for an aesthetic solution.
Brackets can be made of different kinds of crystals. This is done because crystals, like quartz and sapphire, are transparent and thus almost entirely invisible, providing an aesthetic option.