Clear braces are a more discreet way to straighten teeth than metal braces. The two main types of clear braces are ceramic braces and clear aligners. Both are significantly harder to notice than metal braces. Ceramic braces are made with tooth-colored brackets and transparent wires, while clear aligners are made from transparent plastic trays. Both…
Why You Should Consider Clear Braces
Are you or your child getting ready to start orthodontic treatment? If so, you may be wondering about different types of braces. Clear braces are an alternative to traditional metal braces.
Metal braces and clear braces
Metal braces are attached to the front or back of teeth. They are made of stainless steel brackets connected with wires. Rubber bands, also known as ligatures, hold the wires in place. Metal braces can also have clips instead of ligatures. This style is known as self-ligating braces.
Ceramic braces, also known as clear braces, have a similar structure to metal braces. The brackets are clear or tooth-colored and connected with wires. Sometimes the wires are frosted or tooth-colored to blend in with the ceramic brackets. Like their metal counterparts, clear braces come in traditional and self-ligating styles.
Ceramic braces have an interesting history. The material they were initially made from was developed by NASA and a company that produced advanced ceramic materials for electronics, defense, and aerospace. They first hit the market in 1987 and were immediately popular.
Clear braces do have some disadvantages. They are generally more expensive than metal braces. The brackets may become stained over time, causing them to no longer match the teeth. The ligatures can also become stained, and they stand out more noticeably against the tooth-colored brackets.
Your treatment period may last longer with ceramic braces. Ceramic brackets are more fragile and require more attention from a dental professional. The wires and ceramic brackets can have friction between them.
The advantages of clear braces
Although they have some drawbacks, clear braces can offer you advantages.
Perhaps the main reason people choose ceramic braces is that they are less noticeable than metal braces. It can be hard to see that you are wearing braces at all from a distance.
If you or your child are resisting orthodontic treatment because you do not want to wear noticeable metal braces, clear braces offer you a more discreet choice.
A healthier mouth
Straightening your teeth does more than improve your smile. Straighter teeth can lead to a healthier mouth. Misaligned teeth are hard to clean between, especially when they are too crowded. You may not be able to brush or floss properly between crooked teeth.
Clear braces offer someone who does not want to wear metal braces the opportunity to have straight teeth. After all, if it is a choice between ceramic braces and no braces at all, clear braces have the advantage.
Effective on severe problems like metal braces
While clear aligners work well for some orthodontic issues, more serious problems need to be treated with traditional braces. Ceramic braces work the same way that metal braces do. Therefore, they can treat issues on par with metal braces, such as:
- Severe overbite
- Large tooth gaps
- Rotated teeth
- Intrusion and extrusion (raised or lowered tooth position)
- Prior dental work such as bridges
Some patients may have issues that clear aligners cannot correct, but they still want a discreet option. Clear braces allow them to have an inconspicuous treatment alternative.
Maintaining ceramic braces is almost the same as metal braces. You should avoid certain foods, especially sticky or hard substances such as popcorn and gum. Whole apples and corn on the cob can also damage braces. You should brush twice a day and use water flossers or floss threaders to clean between teeth and around brackets.
Clear braces need a little extra care. It is a good idea to avoid foods and drinks with high pigmentation. Tomato sauce, berries, curry, and red wine fall into this category. These foods can stain the ceramic material. Unlike stainless steel, ceramic is porous and can absorb pigmentation from dark-colored foods and drinks. Smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause ceramic brackets to become stained.
You do not have to worry if your ligatures become stained. Your dental professional can probably replace them.
You should avoid using whitening toothpaste while you are wearing clear braces. The toothpaste whitens your teeth but does not whiten the ceramic. Therefore, your teeth may be brighter than the brackets. The added contrast between your teeth and the ceramic material can make your braces more noticeable.
If you or your child are getting ready to begin orthodontic work, you have much to consider. Clear braces are one of the many choices available. Talk to your dentist about your individual treatment plan. Your dental professional can help you navigate the options and guide you on a path to a healthier smile.
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