Clear braces are a subtle alternative to traditional metal braces. They can fix similar orthodontic problems like crooked and gapped teeth.
The main difference between the two is that clear braces are less noticeable. When wearing traditional metal braces, anyone who sees you smiling or talking notices the braces.
In many cases, clear braces are only placed on the top teeth. Traditional metal braces are placed on the bottom teeth, where they are less noticeable.
Clear braces can treat even the most challenging orthodontic cases, including:
Clear braces are typically more expensive than traditional braces. However, some orthodontists offer similar pricing.
Clear braces are created from a variety of different materials, depending on the producer. Because of this, the quality of clear braces can vary significantly.
High-quality clear braces are made with ceramic. This is a hard, tooth-colored material.
Here are some of the materials used to make clear braces:
Clear braces straighten teeth the same way metal braces do. The primary difference is that they are clear and much less noticeable.
A bracket is applied to each tooth. An elastic ligature, which is a tiny rubber band, is placed around each bracket. A metal wire connects the brackets.6
The elastic holds the archwire in place on each bracket. Each time you visit the orthodontist, the cross wire is tightened or adjusted. The archwire can be white to make the braces blend in with the natural teeth.
This places light pressure on the brackets. The teeth slowly move into the intended position.
The clear brackets are usually made out of ceramic.They are tinted to match your tooth color. The elastics are clear so that they are not noticeable.
It is essential to know that the porcelain brackets can stain slightly from foods and beverages with colored dye. However, they are made to be as non-porous as possible.
Most patients eligible for clear braces are also candidates for clear aligners like Invisalign.
Which treatment plan you opt for is up to you. However, there are some factors to keep in mind when weighing your options.
Clear braces fix to the teeth, while Invisalign aligners can be removed for:
Invisalign treatment requires a higher level of responsibility than braces. The aligner trays can quickly become lost or damaged. Their ability to be removed means you must actively stick to wearing them the required 22 hours a day.
Additionally, clear braces require adjustments and elastic changes approximately every four weeks. With Invisalign, you will receive several trays at once. This requires you to visit the orthodontist less frequently.
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With clear braces, brackets and wires can become loose. Patients may require repeat visits to the orthodontist to adjust their braces. This would never occur with Invisalign treatment.
Invisalign and clear braces have similar treatment times and costs. However, clear braces may be slightly more affordable. Orthodontic insurance may cover both treatments.
Clear braces are slightly more affordable than invisible aligners.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of Invisalign. However, if you opt for braces, you will likely receive more coverage.
If cost is a concern, clear braces may be the better option.
Both clear braces and Invisalign have their pros and cons. What works for one person may not be suitable for another.
A consultation with your orthodontist will give you a more detailed view. They can go through the treatment options and decide what works best for you.
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d'Apuzzo, Fabrizia et al. “Clear aligner treatment: different perspectives between orthodontists and general dentists.” Progress in orthodontics vol. 20,1 10. 11 Mar. 2019
Tamer, İpek et al. “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review.” Turkish journal of orthodontics vol. 32,4 241-246. 1 Dec. 2019
Azaripour, A et al. “Braces versus Invisalign®: gingival parameters and patients' satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study.” BMC oral health vol. 15 69. 24 Jun. 2015
Imani, Mohammad Moslem et al. “A decision-making process to undergo orthodontic treatment: a qualitative study.” Patient preference and adherence vol. 12 2243-2251. 29 Oct. 2018
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Misaligned teeth and jaws: Treatment with fixed braces. 2020 Jan 16