How Nickel, Copper, and Cobalt and Changing Braces

Orthodontic braces have constantly been evolving to correct alignments since the 18th century. Traditionally, stainless steel and titanium have become the standard for working with bites affected by a malocclusion. Correcting tooth alignment becomes an art form. With the development of using new metals such as cobalt, copper, and nickel, these metals have provided people with improved results and make braces more bio-compatible with the patient’s teeth.


How These Metals Improve Bio-compatibility

Stainless steel and titanium have been a long-standing tradition for orthodontists working with metal braces due to their inexpensiveness and reproduction value. However, as new designs come into the open, different metal options have become more highly presentable for people to use, thanks to 3D imaging and treatment planning software development. Dental braces that use combinations of materials have varying costs, benefits, and disadvantages, and before we look into what the research states, here’s what we know about these newly founded metals:


    • Nickel: Nickel is combined with titanium, creating a nickel-titanium alloy that exerts a huge amount of spring-back and flexibility for a patient’s braces. This alloy used in wires creates low constant force, allowing the orthodontists to exert this force and maintain better control over tooth movement. 
    • Copper: When combined with the nickel-titanium alloy, copper creates a high amount of flexibility for the wires and has a continuous force that doesn’t deform to pressure over time.
    • Cobalt: Also known as cobalt-chromium, cobalt has similar properties to stainless steel wires. However, cobalt is more malleable than stainless steel and has less fracture risk, making it an excellent option for orthodontists to use. 


According to research developed from the International Journal of Oral Science and Dental Medicine, researchers found that the concentrations of certain metal ions, such as chromium, nickel, copper, and zinc, were lower in metallic orthodontic brackets for braces when compared to titanium brackets, one of the most commonly used metals for braces. Higher levels of salivary electrolytes can cause hypersensitivity for a patient’s teeth, even while most patients don’t have visible reactions to the presence of oral mucosa caused by orthodontic appliances. They reported no differences in the salivary contents of electrolytes between metal and non-metallic braces. 


How To Choose The Best Metal Braces For Your Teeth 

The different metals often used for orthodontic braces all have their benefits and disadvantages. Still, to best learn which options may work best for you, it’s best to contact your orthodontist to learn more about their treatment options. Orthodontic appliances have a great ability to correct your teeth, but being aware of the upcoming developments in the orthodontics industry can allow you to make better choices about how you can correct your malocclusion and gain straighter, healthier teeth by extension. For more information about braces and the options we have, contact The Orthodontic Clinic PC to schedule an appointment and get the braces that can change your smile forever.

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The Orthodontic Clinic, P.C.


Bartlett Location:


6637 Summer Knoll Circle, Suite 102

Bartlett, TN 38134


East Memphis Location:


1713 Kirby Parkway

Memphis, TN 38120


Fax:  901 507 4772






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