How long are clear braces effective?

Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
There are thee basic parts to orthodontic "braces;" brackets, wires, and ligatures. The wires and other auxiliaries like rubber bands and springs are the parts of the braces that actually provide the tooth moving forces. Elastic components remain effective for up to a month. The wires can remain effective for up to 10 weeks or more depending upon how far the teeth need to move.
How long clear braces remain effective depends on how well you maintain your treatment. Your treatment with an orthodontist begins with the ceramic or plastic brackets bonded to your teeth, but its success depends on how closely you follow care instructions. You will see your orthodontist regularly to tighten and adjust your braces. Once your clear braces are removed, you will need to wear a retainer, a removable appliance that holds your teeth in place. If you follow directions, including wearing your retainer regularly, your teeth should remain straight and aligned for the rest of your life.

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