Bay Area Orthodontics

Clear Braces

Metal braces are often the common choice when fixing misaligned teeth and other dental issues. However, another popular option for patients today is clear braces. They have several distinct advantages over their metal counterparts. Here’s everything you need to know about them to see if they are the right choice for you.

What are Clear Braces?

Clear braces are a treatment used to align teeth and correct orthodontic issues. These include gaps, crookedness, bite problems, and more. One of its differences over metal braces is it uses a tooth-like material, making them harder to see. These make the aligning tools discreet, which many people like.

Clear braces work similarly to traditional metal braces. Instead of metal brackets, you are instead wearing ceramic brackets. It also has a matching frosted wire that closely resembles your natural teeth color.

Clear braces are not invisible aligners like Invisalign. These are instruments that act similarly to metal braces but are less conspicuous. Invisible aligners work more like plastic trays you fit onto your teeth. Both treat misalignment but have different distinct advantages.

How Can Clear Braces Help Me?

Clear braces have the same effectiveness as metal braces when aligning the teeth. The only difference is the material used. All clear braces can treat different misalignment issues, such as:
  • Spaces and gaps between the teeth
  • Overlapping and crowding
  • Bite issues where the teeth do not touch or the bite is misaligned
One of the biggest concerns many people have with braces is that they’re too noticeable. Kids and teens dislike them because they can be the subject of teasing at school. With clear braces, they’ll have more confidence because others won’t spot the braces right away. It improves their self-esteem, while the braces work towards fixing the teeth. Misaligned teeth increase the risk factors for various oral issues. For example, gaps and overcrowding increase the risk of developing cavities, even in areas between the teeth. It’s because they’re harder to clean when they don’t have the proper alignment. Bacteria can build up leading to gum disease. Apart from that, misalignment can also affect chewing. For some people, it affects their ability to smile and may even change how their face looks. Those who complete alignment through clear braces find that they look better and smile better afterward.

Are Clear Braces Right for Me?

Clear braces provide several advantages that make them stand out from traditional metal braces. One of the biggest complaints among those wearing metal braces is that it can be a painful experience. The brackets and wires can hurt the gums and cheeks, especially when the wire comes loose. Ceramic isn’t as rigid and harsh on the skin, making it easier to wear. Here are some of the other advantages that come with wearing clear braces:
An Affordable Option
Ceramic braces are far more affordable than invisible aligners. Those custom-made plastic trays are pricey because they’re expensive to produce, adjust, and maintain. They also work faster at fixing misalignment compared to aligners. Ceramic braces are a little higher priced than metal ones, but you gain the advantage of being discreet. Hard to Spot Traditional metal braces can be a source of embarrassment for the wearer. They may avoid social situations or feel stressed at school because of potential teasing. Clear braces have a design that matches their natural teeth color, including the wire. It’s hard to notice at a distance, and people will only spot it when they’re up close. With a clear brace, they can smile better and not worry about standing out with metal in their teeth. With proper care, the clarity will remain throughout their use.
While it may seem like metal has more durability than ceramic, rarely will you have any issues with clear brace brackets. Ceramics can withstand extreme temperatures and even the various chemicals that enter the mouth. Some people have the misconception that they won’t last, but nearly all our clients use their braces until the end of treatment. It means they will maximize their money’s value once they opt for it.
Better Self-Esteem and Confidence
Those who’ve worn clear braces can attest that they’re hard to notice. You can interact with anyone with only a few spotting the braces on you. They also sport a better look than smiling with a mouth full of metal brackets and wires. Those wearing it will spend less time explaining why they have braces, and teens won’t be teased as much because of it. While there are many benefits, it also comes with trade-offs. There are some considerations you need to take before continuing with clear braces. These are:
  • Ceramic Cannot Handle Extreme Cases of Misalignment: A dentist cannot recommend clear braces if the patient has extreme misalignment — the weakness of the material is pressure. The pressure of pulling and pushing teeth to align for extended periods may be too much for ceramic to handle. Metal braces may be the only possibility for people with these problems.
  • Larger Size: Brackets for clear braces are bigger compared to metal ones. It might be a cause of concern, but the color will match the teeth, so it will not matter that much. However, it’s still something to consider before deciding on getting clear braces.
  • Prone to Staining: Like traditional braces, there will be diet restrictions because some food can cause the brackets to detach or break. The same goes for its wire attachment that’s connected to the bracket through small rubber bands. The biggest issue with this is that you cannot drink or eat food that will cause teeth staining.
When the teeth stain, they will no longer match the clear braces making the brackets stand out. A dentist can clean and treat discoloration, but they won’t be able to do it while you are still undergoing alignment treatment. As such, avoiding those stain-causing foods is essential.

The Clear Brace Diet

The dentist will prescribe food you can eat and those you need to avoid while wearing braces. As mentioned earlier, you must not eat or drink staining foods like wine, soy sauce, coffee, and tea. Here are some other things that you should avoid.
  • Apples, corn, and other food that you must bite into as they could dislodge the brackets
  • Crunchy food like popcorn and chips
  • Food that tends to stick, like chewing gum, taffy, and caramel
  • Hard food like candy and nuts
While these may seem like a lot of restrictions, there is a lot you can still eat with braces. Some examples are:
  • Pasta
  • Smoothies
  • Soft fruits
  • Meat
  • Soft bread
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Gelatin
  • Rice

The Clear Brace Treatment Process

Before the dentist places clear braces, they’ll have to examine your oral health. They’ll check for any other issues they need to treat beforehand and decide if your teeth alignment issues are eligible for them. Attaching braces to an unhealthy mouth can invite more problems than solutions. Once you are cleared, your orthodontist may take the following steps:
  1. Do further tests to ensure that the ceramic bracket and wire fits your tooth coloration.
  2. Use an adhesive to start attaching the ceramic brackets to the front of your teeth.
  3. The dentist will use a wire to attach the ceramic braces, anchoring them at your back molar.
  4. They will then add a clear rubber band to secure the wire at each bracket.
The entire process usually takes one to two hours. You’ll have to visit your orthodontist every few weeks to adjust the braces as they begin correcting your misalignment. It’s normal to experience slight pain, discomfort, and tenderness as the teeth adjust. The dentist will recommend that youtake pain relievers to combat the symptoms. The clear braces will stay on anywhere from one to three years, depending on the severity of the misalignment. On average, it takes around 20 months (about 1 and a half years) to complete treatment.

Cleaning Your Braces

One of the challenges of wearing braces of any kind, is cleaning. You can ask your dentist for their recommendations for cleaning. You may also need to buy tools like specialized brushes and floss to make it easy to clean around the braces. You’ll also need to apply standard oral hygiene practices such as:
  • Brushing two to three times a day.
  • Flossing once a day.
  • Going for regular dentist check-ups with cleaning and adjustments.

Final Thoughts

It’s vital to stay on track with your dentist appointments because it will accelerate treatment. They may find that the braces will need less time to complete alignment. Don’t hesitate to contact them when you encounter an issue with the braces, as these need to get fixed as early as possible.

Contact Us Today!

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call Bay Area Orthodontics today at (408) 709-7599 and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you.

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