What are clear braces?

Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Once upon a time "clear braces" only meant conventional braces that were made out of porcelain or plastic. Nowadays with all of the innovation that has occurred to make braces less noticeable, clear braces is used by many to refer to any technique for moving the teeth that is clear, hidden, or less noticeable. These would include aligners (Invisalign or ClearCorrect), lingual braces (braces on the backs of the teeth), and standard braces that are made from clear or tooth colored materials.

Clear braces are appliances that are used to correct crooked or crowded teeth. You can get either ceramic or plastic brackets that are bonded to the front of your teeth for long-term, continuous wear. Unlike metal braces, clear braces blend with the color of your teeth and are less noticeable. However, they break more easily than metal braces.

If your have mild spacing problems in your teeth, you can get clear plastic aligners, which are like invisible trays that are worn daily and can be removed for a few hours each day.
Todd A. Welch, DMD
The metal braces have been used for many years to give us those amazing smiles. And still more and more patients are looking to wearing some more discreet braces, far from those bulky ones with ligatures. Many don’t want or cannot afford Invisalign or Incognito (or Ibraces) so they need something that doesn’t look that “metal” and still works.

So .. the orthodontists came up with something: clear orthodontic braces.

These are not made from metal, so they don’t show like those. They are created from a ceramic material with a color close to our natural teeth color. The only thing easier to spot is the archwire, but it’s a small line and not an entire bracing system to be seen. Thus the more discreet look.

As you can see in the image, the teeth look more “natural” and the braces do work nicely to straighten the teeth.
The advantage over the metal braces:
  • They don’t show that much and are thus more discreet
The disadvantages:
  • they cost a bit more than the metal braces
  • the ligatures can get stained and this would make the braces more visible
  • the brackets a bit more “bulky” than Damon system braces for instance. But still with their “camouflage” color way harder to spot.
Ceramic braces are let’s say a “compromise” made for beauty. Even if the braces are close to the metallic ones as function, they don’t show that much and are perfect for people who want to have a nice smile while still being able to straighten their teeth. Other systems (Invisalign or Incognito Braces) are more discreet, but they cost way more and these ceramic braces can still do a great job with the looks too.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.