Not to be confused with clear aligners, clear braces are traditional orthodontic braces that use the latest advances in dental materials to be nearly invisible.
When considering orthodontic treatment, a person’s appearance during treatment can be just as important as their appearance once treatment is complete.
Clear aligners, like Invisalign®, give many patients the option of straightening their teeth or fixing their bite without having to get braces. However, some patients have tooth alignment problems that need a more efficient approach to tooth movement, which traditional braces can provide.
There are several dental conditions that are hard to fix using just clear aligners, such as teeth that need to be moved vertically (such as canines that erupted too high). Braces may be able to move those teeth more quickly. Clear braces offer the strength & versatility of traditional braces, but without the metal-mouth.
What Are Clear Braces?
Clear braces are also referred to as ceramic braces. That’s because the brackets that hold the arch wire in place are ceramic instead of metal. This special kind of dental ceramic can either be tooth-colored or clear. They can easily blend in with a patient’s smile, meaning that from even a few feet away or in photos, the braces will barely be noticeable. Some versions of clear braces also include a tooth-colored wire that can used to make them even more subtle.
The Advantage of Clear Braces
One advantage that braces have over clear aligners is ease of compliance with treatment. With clear aligners, the speed & success of your treatment depends in part on whether you keep the aligners in place the full 22 hours per day that is recommended. Because braces are permanently attached to teeth until a dentist removes them, they don’t require compliance. Clear ceramic braces offer an option that minimally affects how your smile looks & can keep your treatment on track.
While clear braces are sometimes a little more costly that metal braces, they can be more affordable than clear aligners. The treatment time with clear braces is the same as metal braces, averaging 24 months. Some patients may be able to do a mix of clear braces & clear aligners to achieve the desired result. As will all orthodontic treatments, the total treatment time & the cost depend on the severity of the misalignment that needs to be fixed. Any dentist or orthodontist will tell you that no two cases are the same.
If you opt for clear ceramic braces instead of traditional metal braces or clear aligners, you’ll need to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine to keep them looking good. Clear or tooth-colored brackets are more prone to staining & discoloration from foods & beverages, which can ultimately draw more unwanted attention than metal braces! Brushing & flossing after meals will ensure you get the maximum cosmetic benefit from your clear braces. If you don’t maintain a rigorous oral hygiene routine, you’ll probably be better off with a set of traditional braces. On the other hand, if clear braces pressure you into adopting a better dental care regimen, then we strongly encourage you to give them a try!