Not so many years ago, patients in search of a straighter smile didn’t have many options. For the most part, traditional metal braces were the only available treatment, and older models were far less sleek and comfortable than they are today. Modern orthodontics has come along in leaps and bounds, however, and there are now a variety of ways to achieve a beautifully aligned smile and improved oral health!
At Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates, we’re proud to offer several of these options, including clear braces. For patients who need the strength and reliability of metal braces, but want a more subtle appearance, this can be an excellent treatment method. Let’s take a closer look at what clear braces are, how they work, and what benefits they have over metal braces. Keep reading below learn more!
What are clear braces?
Clear braces are also referred to as ceramic braces, tooth-colored braces, or esthetic braces. When it comes to straightening teeth, they function the same way that metal braces do. Brackets are affixed to the front of the teeth, and a wire is inserted. Using specific bends in this wire, we can provide different types of pressure on different teeth. This pressure moves them into more desirable positions over time.
The difference between metal braces and clear braces lies in the components. As the names suggest, metal braces are composed of metal brackets, while clear braces are made of either translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. Both of these brackets will blend in well with your natural smile! Although they’re not completely invisible, clear braces are much less noticeable than metal braces, even though the brackets are about the same size and shape.
When we pair clear brackets with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, it gives you an incredibly subtle way to straighten your smile. This is one reason they are so popular with our teen and adult patients! For patients who aren’t suited to removable appliances like Invisalign aligners, clear braces can be the next best thing.
What are some of the other differences between clear and metal braces?
Metal braces have a proven track record of durability and strength. While clear braces are also reliable and long-lasting, they are made from a different material that is more fragile and easier to chip or crack. Metal braces are also able to tolerate more pressure than clear braces. If you have more complex or severe orthodontic issues, metal braces might be a better option. The adjustments we have to make to move your teeth need to be slightly smaller with clear braces, so it can sometimes take a little longer to align them successfully. That said, metal and clear braces work on the same principles, and both tend to be equally as effective for most cases!
Some patients worry that clear brackets will stain. In their earliest days, this was sometimes a problem, but hasn’t been an issue for many years. However, the adhesive we use to attach the brackets to the teeth can stain, as well as the clear elastic ties that hold the wires on. Over time, this can give the impression of discoloration. Once upon a time, we advised patients wearing clear braces to avoid things like coffee and tea, red wine, tomatoes, mustard, etc. to reduce the risk of any staining. This is now believed to be unnecessary, since we place new elastics at every adjustment appointment, anyway. As long as you have a good oral hygiene routine, you shouldn’t have to give up your morning coffee or weekend wine.
Clear brackets tend to be a bit more costly than their metal counterparts, and there tends to be more work involved in putting them on, adjusting them, and taking them off. Their placement and removal is also more sensitive to technique and may require more time. Adjustments will sometimes be more complex. All of these factors taken together mean that clear braces are often slightly more of an investment than metal braces. For this reason, we generally only recommend them for older teen and adult patients.
Our office is dedicated to providing every patient with expert care that is both effective and affordable. We accept all major credit cards, and also offer in-office, interest-free financing with convenient monthly payments. While treatment fees will vary depending on the complexity of your particular treatment plan, we’ll do everything we can to accommodate you and your budget!
Are clear braces the right choice for you?
When you schedule your first appointment with us, you’ll receive a thorough orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Livanos or Dr. Giarrusso. This will help them determine what type of treatment you need, and which treatment option would be best for you and your smile. Most patients with common orthodontic issues will be a good fit for clear braces.
Give your smile a boost with clear braces from Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates
For older teens or adults who want all the benefits of metal braces without standing out, clear braces can be a perfect alternative! If you’re interested in learning more about how clear braces can give you a healthier, straighter smile, we’d love to meet you. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards the smile you’ve always wanted!