Everyone knows what traditional metal braces look like, and no one is particularly fond of the look—or the way they feel, for that matter.
While they are no longer the only option, in some more severe cases of malocclusions, they are the best, if not only, solution.
They are tougher, stronger and can tolerate more pressure than some of the other materials currently in use. This is important, because braces are, literally, loosening your teeth and forcing them into a new position, after which new bone grows in to support the teeth in their new position. Your teeth are generally not happy about this; they want to stay exactly where they are.
What are clear braces?
When someone uses the term “clear braces” they are usually referring to one of two types of braces:
- Ceramic braces
- Teeth aligners
While called “ceramic” braces, they can be made of ceramic material, porcelain or plastic.
In certain ways, ceramic braces are similar to traditional, metal braces. Both are comprised of the:
- Brackets – These are the rectangular pieces that are secured to the enamel of the tooth with an adhesive. Brackets usually have four “wings” and a slot in the middle. There are different types of brackets, and each orthodontist has a preferred type.
- Hooks – These are the part of the brackets that rubber bands or other devices can be attached to.
- Arch wire – Arch wire goes through the slots of the brackets and is the part that is changed to force the teeth into position.
- Elastic ties – These are the rubber ties that hold the arch wires in place.
The Difference between Ceramic Braces and Metal Braces
While the basic structure of ceramic and metal braces is the same, ceramic braces can clear or be made in a variety of colors to blend in better with the color of the teeth they will be adhered to. So, while they are not necessarily “clear,” this similarity in color to the teeth makes them far less visible than metal braces.
Some Factors to Consider and Discuss with your Orthodontist
- Are you active in sports? If so, you should be aware that ceramic braces can chip or crack, whereas metal braces do not. So if hockey pucks, soccer balls, or ornery horses are part of your lifestyle, let your orthodontist know during the treatment planning stage.
- Is your mouth especially sensitive? Both ceramic and metal braces will be felt on the inner side of the lips, ceramic braces are usually a bit larger than metal braces and may be more irritating.
- Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces. If your insurance does not cover braces, this needs to be factored in.
The Difference between Teeth Aligners and Braces
Braces are adhered to your teeth and adjusted, over time. Aligners are a series of clear, removable appliances, each one custom fit to move the teeth to a new position. Because they are not adhered to the teeth, you can remove them for eating, drinking and cleaning.
If you are interested in Clear Correct aligners (otherwise known as Invisalign in Modesto), contact Hillock Family Dental for a consultation.
Each portion of the series comes in a set, and each aligner in a set is pre-made to gradually move the teeth. Once a set is completed, the next set in the series is prepared. While aligners may be the most expensive option, they are nearly invisible and certainly the least invasive.