What are Clear Braces?
Clear braces are also sometimes called clear aligners, clear orthodontics, cosmetic orthodontics, metal free orthodontics or just aligners, are a modern method for moving teeth without using conventional metal braces.
Several different companies make products for dentists to use treating patients with clear braces, the most widely known of these is Invisalign. Invisalign is the brand name of a type of clear braces manufactured by Align Technologies. There are many other companies that now manufacture similar products such as ClearCorrect, Great Lakes Smart Moves and Dentsply MTM. Some practices, such as ours, actually make some types of clear aligners in the office for more simple cases. This is less expensive than products such as Invisalign although Invisalign is almost always the best option for more complicated or advanced situations.
Devices to move teeth without metal braces, although not all of them “clear,” have been used successfully by dentists for over 60 years. They have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years because advanced computer techniques can now be used to more accurately, efficiently and quickly move teeth. This results in more comfortable and faster treatment.
The biggest advantage of clear braces is that they allow people who are unwilling to have metal braces to still have a great smile with nice, straight teeth. As the name implies, clear braces are almost invisible and from a “speaking distance” other people cannot really tell you are wearing them.
The fact that they are removable is also a big advantage because, unlike metal braces, you can eat whatever you wish. You can also brush and floss easily as you usually do. Teenagers in particular, have an increased risk to get new cavities with metal braces but not with clear aligners.
Are clear braces for everyone? No, there are some situations such as severe jaw problems requiring jaw surgery that are still better treated with conventional braces. But for the majority of teenagers and adults who want a great smile without the disadvantages of metal braces, clear braces such as Invisalign offer an excellent alternative.