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Do gold braces fade?

Getting braces can be an exciting time. With all the cool colors and accessories to choose from, it’s fun to customize your smile. Gold braces are a popular choice for their glamorous look. However, some wonder if gold braces will fade over the course of treatment.

Do Gold Braces Lose Their Color?

Gold braces can fade somewhat over the course of orthodontic treatment, which averages 1-3 years. However, the amount of color change depends on several factors:

  • Quality of gold coating – Higher karat gold coatings are more fade resistant.
  • Oral hygiene – Poor brushing can accelerate tarnishing and wear.
  • Eating and drinking – Acidic foods and staining drinks can corrode metallic surfaces.
  • Length of treatment – More time in the mouth increases fading.

While some fading is normal, gold braces won’t drastically change color with proper care. The golden tone will remain but may diminish slightly in brightness.

Why Do Gold Braces Lose Color Over Time?

There are a few reasons why gold colored braces tend to fade with wear:

  • Friction – Braces rub against teeth, gums, food particles and oral appliances like retainers. This grinding effect wears down the gold coating.
  • Chemical reactions – Acids in foods and drinks can cause subtle corrosion and oxidation of metal alloys.
  • Oral environment – Saliva, bacteria, and temperature changes create a harsh climate that can degrade materials.
  • Cleaning – Vigorous brushing and use of abrasive toothpastes gradually strip away the gold color.

While manufacturers apply protective lacquers and finishes, it’s impossible to prevent all fading. However, the color change is minimal over 1-3 years of normal orthodontic treatment.

How Much Do Gold Braces Fade?

Most patients can expect a slight dimming of their gold braces over time. However, the amount of fading varies between patients based on these factors:

Low Fading Risk High Fading Risk
  • 18K gold-plated braces
  • Good oral hygiene
  • Mostly clear liquid diet
  • 1 year of braces
  • 10K gold-plated braces
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Frequent coffee, wine, soda
  • 3 years of braces

Those with many high risk factors can expect their gold braces to fade to a more bronze tone by the end of treatment. However, most patients see minimal fade that doesn’t drastically alter the gold appearance.

How to Prevent Gold Braces From Fading

You can help your gold braces keep their luster longer by:

  • Brushing gently with a soft toothbrush and non-whitening toothpaste.
  • Avoiding staining foods and drinks like coffee, tea, wine, soda and curry.
  • Using an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash to prevent decay around braces.
  • Keeping regular orthodontist appointments for wire changes and cleanings.

Ask your orthodontist if they apply any protective finishes or lacquers to gold braces when they are installed. This can help minimize color change.

Can You Get Gold Braces Re-Plated?

In some cases, it may be possible to get gold braces re-plated if fading is a concern. However, this would require an additional appointment and fee. Factors include:

  • Your orthodontist – They must offer gold re-plating services.
  • Braces type – Re-plating works best on metal braces vs ceramic.
  • Point in treatment – Total re-plating is easier at the beginning.
  • Cost – Usually an additional $50-$100 fee per re-plating.

Talk to your orthodontist early in treatment if you want the option to re-plate your gold braces later on. Keep in mind that re-plating may not exactly match the original gold tone.

Other Gold Braces Color Options

If you love the look of gold but are concerned about fading, consider these alternatives:

  • Rose gold – A pinkish gold tone that hides fading better.
  • Bronze – Starts darker and fades to a vintage, antique gold shade.
  • Gold ties – Smaller gold accents on clear braces are less prone to fading.
  • Gold elastics – Gold rubber bands can be easily and affordably replaced.

There are many ways to incorporate the gold aesthetic in a fading-resistant way. Discuss the pros and cons of different gold detailing options with your orthodontist.

Should I Avoid Gold Braces Due to Fading?

A small amount of fading over the course of your orthodontic treatment shouldn’t discourage you from choosing gold braces. The key is having realistic expectations:

  • Some fading will occur, but it will be gradual and subtle.
  • The gold tone will dull slightly but still be present.
  • Proper care and maintenance will minimize color change.
  • Accents like gold ties stay vibrant longer than full gold braces.

Gold braces remain a beautiful, eye-catching choice for those who don’t mind a little imperfection. Focus on the improved smile they’ll bring and don’t stress about some natural wear over time.


It’s normal for gold braces to fade moderately over 1-3 years of wear. However, small changes in the metal’s luster shouldn’t prevent you from choosing this glamorous orthodontic option. With proper care and cleaning, you can help gold braces maintain their brilliant glow for as long as possible. If some slight fading does occur, it will give your smile character and charm. As long as you anticipate some natural color change, gold braces can deliver beautiful, confidence-boosting results.