Clear braces are quickly overtaking traditional metal braces in popularity. The sleek, almost invisible clear braces work just as effectively, if not better than their bulky metallic counterpart. Without the need for colored ligatures like metal braces, clear braces are comprised of ceramic brackets and a thin wire that is nearly undetectable. All bands are clear as well.
What are clear braces?
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, patients still want to feel confident with their smile. Metal braces tend to stand out when talking or smiling, and clear braces are orthodontics' answer to this common complaint.
Clear braces are a form of the orthodontic appliance that was created to be less noticeable while straightening teeth. The brackets are made from tooth-colored or clear ceramic, and the wire is much thinner than metal braces. A clear braces dentist can even install a wire that is tooth-colored to make the braces even less visible.
This orthodontic treatment has been in use for decades. What started as a teeth straightening method that was initially less effective than the metal version has actually caught up to traditional metal braces in terms of efficacy. Made most commonly from ceramic, clear braces are virtually invisible, especially when compared to traditional metal braces. Clear brackets can also be made from porcelain or plastic, although plastic brackets are not used as often, as they stain more easily.
After the first appointment when braces are placed, adjustments will need to be made every six weeks until teeth are corrected. Treatment length varies by case, but average orthodontic treatment time ranges from 18 months to three years.
Benefits of clear braces
Clear braces have brackets that are much smaller than metal braces. The brackets are rounded at the edges and therefore do not irritate the gums as much. The ceramic brackets take up less space on the tooth surface. These smaller brackets mean less irritation on surrounding gum tissue as the teeth are moving into a straightened position.
If the teeth are a bright shade of white, fully transparent brackets will suit them best and be barely noticeable. However, those with teeth that are a darker shade of white or beige may find that custom tooth-colored solid brackets will be the least noticeable. The wire on clear braces is not only much thinner but can also be customized to be tooth-colored like the brackets.
If one wishes, the bands around the brackets, otherwise known as ligatures, can be chosen as different colors. It is completely up to the patient to make any cosmetic modifications to their braces.
As an added bonus, clear ceramic braces are barely visible in photos. This can give the wearer a boost of confidence knowing that his or her smile will still appear white despite the presence of the orthodontic appliance.
Work just as effectively
Clear braces started as a less noticeable yet less effective form of orthodontics. Fast forward to present day, and ceramic braces offer the same success story in the same amount of time. Older versions of clear braces were not stable enough to move teeth as quickly as metal braces. Advancements in orthodontics today have given us clear ceramic braces that work as quickly and effectively to straighten teeth as metal braces.
There is a common misconception that clear braces are not as tough as metal braces and break more easily. This is not the case. Today's clear brackets are just as strong as metal braces.
Good option for adult clients
Adult clients often search for a teeth straightening solution that fits with their lifestyle. Metal braces are more noticeable and can cause more disruptions in the busy life of an adult patient. Work and life events are more effortless when patients do not feel self-conscious about the way their smile looks.
Less damage to teeth
Ceramic braces do not demineralize tooth enamel like metal braces do. Clear braces will keep teeth stronger during treatment and in turn, keep them looking and feeling healthier. Despite having the same secure hold on teeth as metal braces, materials used for clear braces are not as abrasive and do not harm the teeth. This means less tooth decay, white spots and cavities. Plus, the smaller brackets are easier to clean. When it is finally time to take the braces off, ceramic brackets are more easily removed than metal braces.
Work quicker than invisible aligners
Although invisible aligners are less apparent than any form of braces, clear braces work faster and more effectively than aligners.
Disadvantages of clear braces
The customizable nature and superior materials of clear braces do cost a bit more than metal braces. On average, clear braces dentists can offer ceramic braces at a similar price to metal braces. It is worth noting that some insurance plans do not cover clear braces.
Brackets stand out farther than metal braces
Patients with sensitive mouths might feel irritation on the inside of the lips and cheeks with clear braces. However, this effect should go away within the first week of treatment. The discomfort of the first adjustment should diminish in the first week as well.
Older versions of clear braces were made from plastic, a material that is easily stained. Now, ceramic and porcelain brackets are far less susceptible to discoloration. The ligatures that secure the brackets may become yellow, but these are changed at every adjustment.
Best used on mild to moderate corrections
Clear braces are best used on mild to moderate corrections. Severe cases of misalignment will benefit from metal braces. Traditional metal braces can withstand more pressure than ceramics, and therefore will be able to move extremely crooked teeth.
Clear braces are a great alternative for adults and younger patients who want orthodontic treatment that is nearly invisible and just as effective as metal braces. The ceramic brackets, tooth-colored wires and ligatures of clear braces ensure the patient feels confident in showing his or her smile. Call our office today for more information or to set up a consultation.